Apr 6, 2008

What Do I Read Next? (Part Two)

A Short Guide to the "Core" Dragonlance Novels

In part one, I looked at the some of the earliest "core" Dragonlance novels, up to the Chaos War. Now, I'll look at some more recent books that many consider core books, set after that world altering event.

Chaos War

The Last Thane, Tears of the Night Sky, The Puppet King, Reavers of the Blood Sea, The Siege of Mt. Nevermind
In addition to Dragons of Summer Flame, these other books are set during that same time, and in some cases feature scenes from Summer Flame told from a different point of view.
Like many of the books related to major Dragonlance events, I pick and choose only the ones that really interest me. In this series I only read Tears of the Night Sky (because I intrigued by Crysania's tiger companion) and Reavers of the Blood Sea (I'm a big fan of Richard Knaak's minotaur-themed books).
Final Recommendation: Once again, read what you want to fill in some of the gaps hinted at in Summer Flame, and beware, story quality can vary depending on the author.

Dragons of a New Age

The Dawning of a New Age, The Day of the Tempest, The Eve of the Maelstrom
These books written by Jean Rabe (thought I was going to say someone else, didn't you?) were the first books to detail the world of Krynn a few decades after the events of the Chaos War, in particular, the ending of Dragons of Summer Flame.

Some people consider these essential books for understanding the state of the world during this "fifth age"; others feel the plot and/or writing isn't on par with the Weis and Hickman books.
I never read these books, since I wasn't a fan of this version of the setting. I knew enough of the changes so I wasn't completely confused when I started reading the War of Souls books.
Final Recommendation: Read them if you like the setting, as well as some of Jean Rabe's other Dragonlance books that follow the further adventures of these Heroes of the Heart.

The War of Souls

Dragons of a Fallen Sun, Dragons of a Lost Star, Dragons of a Vanished Moon
These books, written by (who else) Weis and Hickman, detail the world approximately 40 years after the events of the Chaos War. This story tells of the rise of the One God and the fall of several of the dragon lords (gargantuan dragons, larger and more powerful than had ever been seen or heard of).
In part this series was Weis and Hickman's attempt to clean up some of the aspects of the setting that they didn't like, with a new trilogy that undid some of the defining characteristics of the "Fifth Age".
Final Recommendation: Good books. I didn't like most of the Fifth Age, so I was glad to see it gone, and I appreciated that it wasn't retconned with the "it was all a dream" solution.

Additional Reading Suggestions:

While none of these books are considered core, many people find these stories worthy additions to the Dragonlance saga that fill in details on a number of topics and eras.
  • Elven Nations and Dwarven Nations: These books tell the earliest histories of the Elven and Dwarven races from he Kinslayer Wars and the founding of Qualinesti (elves) to the founding of Thorbardin (dwarves).
  • The Legend of Huma and "Minotaur Books": The first book (written by Richard Knaak) tells of the story of Huma, the dragon, and the first time Dragonlances were used to stop Takhisis. It also introduces the minotaur character of Kaziganthi "Kaz", who would be the focus of several other Knaak books and establish Knaak as the unofficial "expert" on Krynn's race of bull men.
  • The Kingpriest Trilogy: This series tells of the time just before the Cataclysm and ads a wealth of details to the setting. There are few negative opinions of these books. I highly recommend reading them after Chronicles and Legends.
  • Raistlin Chronicles: Two books from Margaret Weis that fill in further details of Raistlin's time before, during, and after his Test at the Tower of High Sorcery.
  • The Dark Disciple: The latest trilogy from Margaret Weis (this time writing solo), this follows up on events from the end of the War of Souls trilogy.
  • Various Anthologies: There are about 12 different short story collections in the Dragonlance saga ranging from the earliest history of the world, to stories set during and after the recent War of Souls. The quality varies from collection to collection, but each book usually has enough stories to make reading it worth while.