Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman

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Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman is perfection in a novel.  Not just perfection for it’s particular genre, but perfection overall.  This is a fantasy novel set in the Dungeons and Dragons universe and is storytelling and world building at its finest.  The catch-all for these books is the Dragonlance series of books, much like Forgotten Realms encompasses the novels taking place on Fearun.

I came to Dungeons and Dragons late in life, my late forties to be honest.  Growing up, my parents were not fans (that whole misperception that DnD was somehow satanical was rife).  They never would have prevented me or my brother from reading anything but the world is full of books and I found other things to read.  Thanks to my wonderful husband, I have finally been able to read a fantasy novel in the last ten years and it has been wonderful.  I was introduced to the world of DnD courtesy of Neverwinter games and fell in love.  I adore DnD set in Neverwinter and so was more than slightly leery of another series of books set in the same universe but different.  (Pathfinder novels do not count since the ruleset is different and there are difference in basic lore although there is a lot shared between Pathfinder and DnD.)

Dragons of Autumn Twilight introduces the reader to a whole new world of Kyrnn.  Unique characters and stories not found in the Forgotten Realm novels set on Faerun (aka Neverwinter centric).  Races, gods, lore, and all that goes with it are new and fresh.  (Yes I understand the novels themselves are not new!)  By the second page of the novel, I’m hooked.  Not just hooked, but I can’t put down the novel and do anything else for any length of time hooked.

In a recent review I pointed out how bad the world building actually was, despite the glowing reviews the novel has received.  Here there is true world building as befits epic fantasy.  Characters have depth and backstories, lore isn’t just assumed but presented and fleshed out for the reader, gods have personality and are presented to the reader with more than just a line of two of basic knowledge.  Relationships are complex and deep, characters are so well constructed that they are more than just words on a page.  The reader is immersed in the story completely.

The bare bones of the story may be predictable, a group of heroes bands together to go on an epic quest to rid the world of evil.  If that had been all there was to the story than it would have fallen flat.  Instead, our group of heroes bands together and wins a battle against evil but most certainly not the war.  There is foreshadowing of things to come throughout the book but the foreshadowing makes the reader hungry for more not fuming over the “holes” in the plotline.  There is no damsel in distress scenario, instead the women protagonists are just as strong and competent as their male counterparts.

In short, I loved every single word of this book.  I immediately ordered more in the series as soon as I completed this one.  Those novels arrive this week and I couldn’t be more blessed.  I may be new to fantasy fiction but Dragonlance is rivaled for my attention only by Witcher novels which are few and far between.  It is very safe to say I am completely obessed with Dragonlance novels at the moment.

Five out of five stars for truly brilliant writing, world building, epic fantasy, and memorable characters.

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