Top positive review
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Great ending, but a bit of a fragmented story.
on 1 August 2002
I don't think anyone would disagree that the previous volume in this trilogy, Dragons of a Lost Star, left more than a few dangling threads after its gut-wrenching conclusion. And I probably wasn't alone in wondering how Weis and Hickman could tie them all together in the final installment.
The book opens moments *before* the last left off, seen this time through the eyes of Palin in the Tower of High Sorcery, but doesn't linger there long before moving off to other territories, exploring what happens with Mirror and Skie, how the Qualinesti cope with their losses, and Mina's inexorable march on Sanction. Successes and failures carry the feeling of being influenced by the unopposed will of the One God, and the heroes of the story always seem to be fighting a losing battle against hopeless odds. Which is, of course, the stuff of heroic fantasy.
Unfortunately, the scope of the tale requires more than a trilogy. The story simply seems to lack focus, and jumps about between Palin, the Qualinesti, the Silvanesti, Mina, Silvanoshei, the Great Dragons, Sir Gerard, and so on without lingering on any one of them long enough for the reader to really _care_ about any of them. Crises of faith that could be explored in depth are solved almost immediately after having arisen, monumental battles dissolve in a single chapter, and the feelings of the characters involved seem like a distant concern. Instead of feeling their emotion at their triumphs and failures, the reader is left feeling like nothing more than an observer passively wondering how the heroes will get out of this one rather than fearing for them.
This aside, there's no escaping the grandeur of the tale being being told. Weis' and Hickmans' style remains fluid and graceful, and they've certainly lost none of their flair for bringing on the shocks. The final chapters of the book are absolutely amazing, bringing the story to a neat, complete end but leaving much to be explored later.
All in all, this is an excellent, well written piece of work, but with a breadth of material that should have covered a trilogy of its own.