- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Wizards of the Coast; New edition edition (1 May 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 088038722X
- ISBN-13: 978-0880387224
- Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 10.8 x 17.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,352,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Dragonlance Preludes: Darkness and Light v. 1 (Dragonlance: Preludes Trilogy) Mass Market Paperback – 1 May 1999
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Sturm Brightblade and Kitiara journey to the moon Lunitari, where they discover the secrets of the moon and learn much about themselves, their attraction for each other, and their insurmountable dissimilarities.
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The Dragonlance series is the literary equivalent of a special effects movie. Like many Dragonlance stories, this book does not exactly excel in characterisation, subtlety and plot. Usually this is compensated by the epic quality of the story, but in a prelude such as this, the world-shattering import of other novels is also missing. As is typical of the series, the book reads like a series of RPG encounters and mini-quests, linked by the passage of time and the narratives of the characters. The story's main interest is in filling in the past of characters from the original saga. To this are added a smattering of usual and unusual monsters, tricky situations, ethical dilemmas and an often humorous supporting cast of gnomes and other secondary characters.
The book is divided into a series of short adventures. Firstly, Sturm and Kitiara head for Solamnia, encountering elves, draconians, bandits and finally the gnomes with whom they spend most of the book. Second, the book chronicles their life aboard a gnome flying ship, facing technical problems such as survival at sub-zero temperatures. Third, stranded on Lunatari, they encounter a mad king and an army of tree-men. Fourth, they face the dilemma of whether and how to free a brass dragon imprisoned in an obelisk. Fifth, returning to Krynn, there is a storyline aboard a haunted ship. Finally, Sturm reaches Solamnia and the story culminates in his attempt to recover his heritage.
The story's leitmotifs - embedded in character development and the recurrence of mystical talismans - focus on the dilemmas surrounding Sturm's tense negotiation of honour and friendship and Kitiara's descent into darkness. The latter is handled as well as the book's "PG certificate" tone allows, though it remains unclear where ruthless pragmatism and pursuit of glory slip over into out-and-out evil. The suggestion of an ambivalence built on a denied love between the protagonists - unknown to them, but visible to the gnomes and dragons - adds some depth to their relationship. While the gnomes lack depth as characters, they function effectively as light relief and as a foil for the main characters; the typecasting of gnomes as AD&D characters is developed in individual cases to good effect. The monsters - glass-wielding tree-men, giant ants and an oversized, regenerating ghoul for instance - are not as original as could be expected from the otherworldly setting of much of the novel. The story also builds up mysteries (over the origins of the dragon and Lunatari's magic for instance) which it leaves frustratingly unresolved.
I've read around 30 or so Dragonlance books but this has been one of the hardest to get into. The authors seem to have a hard time finding the flow of characters and story. However, it does pick up about 40% into the book.
I don't want to go into the story as it will spoil it for those who haven't read it. I will tell you that it does include dragons but unfortunately the alien setting just doesn't sit well with me at all. Other readers may enjoy it though.
Recommended to hardcore fans only or those who like fantasy crossed with a tinge of Sci-fi.
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