on May 2, 2003
I think what made the Legends trilogy so popular among fantasy fans were the human traits in Raistlin, Caramon, Crysania, and Tas, and the mutidimensional nature of those characters. Yes, even Tas, the ever cheerful kender, was horrified, sad, afraid, even terrified along the course of events.
What made the trilogy, though, was Raistlin. He displayed very human traits and superhero traits at the same time, a winning combination. Among his human traits, his love for Crysania was evident, even though he denied it to himself and continued to use her. His love for his brother and his longing for the companionship of their youth was also very human, another thing he lied to himself about. Even at the end, he wanted to be the one Tanis touched and warmed. Raistlin lied to himself about being human, he so much wanted to be a god.
Raistlin was also the superhero. With grim determination, he overcame fantastic obstacles. The bargain with Fistandantilus that he turned to his advantage by sucking Fistandantilus dry despite the pain, the terror, the doubt, was a big coup in the story. When he met with demons, ghouls, and all manners of foes produced by the Dark Queen or fellow magicians, it was evident he was afraid, tortured, even helpless at some points. What made him great was that he fought on and on, sometimes with the last hair of the last bit of strenght he had. We can't help but love such a character. Wouldn't we all crave to be so determined and focused?
The dark side of Raistlin made him complete. His efforts and all his power were for selfish purposes. None was more self-serving than Raistlin. A villain we loved to love and hate. So villain was he that when he displayed caring, weakness, or passion, we fell in love with him all over again, just like Caramon and Crysania.
If this book were to be rewritten for the new millenium, I would remove the old-fashioned behavior of Raistin and Crysania when they interact. Crysania is supposed to be strong, not always flushed and unsettled. And what is it with this "loss of control" if Raistlin were to make love to Crysania? And the way he rips her robes during the scene at the stream? I must say the various scenes smelled of the Dark Ages of Romantic Relationships. A love interest between those two had a lot of potential that was not well developed.
All in all, I could not put the Legends trilogy down. I lacked sleep for a long time while reading these books. I have read them some years ago, and the same feelings appeared on the second reading.
A must-read for the genre. The human heart has its place even in such fantastic places as Krynn.
on May 4, 2002
I was introduced the the Dragonlance books by accident about a year ago, when I was given the Chronicles Trilogy as a present by someone who, knowing I love dragons, saw the titles and took a chance. I practically got down on my knees and thanked her. I loved the Chronicles and wanted to read more. I have to confess that even then Raistlin was my favorite character(or, at least, as Tas might say, the most interesting), though I was firmly attached to the others as well, especially Sturm and Tanis and Tas.
I made the mistake, after seeing the list printed inside the book, of reading Dragons of Summer Flame next (DO NOT do this if you are thinking of taking up the series, it spoils a lot of surprises and is very confusing!), so steered in the right direction by a horrified friend, I proceeded to read the Legends series.
It takes place a few years after the end of the War of the Lance and the most prominent characters are Raistlin, Caramon (the Twins!), Tas the kender, and Lady Crysania, the cleric of Paladine, lost in her own goodness.
The Test of the Twins has some very wonderful scenes, the best in the series, with the possible exceptions of the Raistlin/Fistandantilus flashback, Raistlin and Crysania alone by that stream, and Raistlin and Caramon with the rabbit scenes in the War of the Twins. But the last, say 50-100 pages of The Test of the Twins have me jumping up and down every single time I read them! And I have read them, perhaps four or five times now. I have that habit though, rereading books I really love until I can recite them. In The Test of the Twins, we get the culmination of the trilogy (and no threat of those terrible cliffhanger endings that plagued the other two). We get Raistlin and Crysania in the Abyss. We get a fabulous Raistlin versus the Dark Queen scene. A great Lord Soth monologue. Dalamar and Kitiara get warm and cuddly... Caramon and Tas travelling through time. A wonderful resurgence of Tanis Half-Elven(how happy!!) And, what we've all been waiting for, a final showdown between the Twins! I get chillbumps, it's so good!
Anyone who is fan of fantasy and is interested in Dragonlance should get to reading them. It's really worth it. At the risk of sounding a little annoying, though, I have to say that, as far as my taste for writing style and quality goes, The Test of the Twins, The War of the Twins and The Time of the Twins are, by far, the best of the lot. And wouldn't they make the most incredible movies?(wistful sigh...)
on February 26, 2002
The Legends Trilogy is a beloved one by most Dragonlance readers. This book is probably the strongest argument for this. The first one was sloppy and sappy, with Weis' trademark Everlasting Love At First Sight. The second one kicked the set in the butt and got it in motion. The third continues this pace, even mixing in some horror as the characters find themselves in a post-apocalyptic Krynn.
We saw Caramon versus himself in volume 1, Raistlin versus time in volume 2, and now we see the world against Raistlin, with Caramon at the lead. Weis has proven adept at endings, and this book is no exception.... We find ourselves thinking "well, I guess that's how it had to end", but the way it is handled is excellent.
I noticed something else that wasn't there when this book first came out, and that is the sense of freedom I got as a reader. While the sense of completion was there the first time, I now have the luxury of exploring almost every character in the first 6 books (Chronicles and Legends). I haven't yet decided where I want to go next, but its an interesting feeling I haven't experienced with other series.
Also, if you want a good laugh that doesn't involve Tas or a Gully Dwarf, read the afterword where Weis states how the saga has come to an end and they "might" return to Krynn. 100 books later...
on November 5, 2001
as sone as i read the first book in this series i was hooked, and throughout the book i was wondering; is Rastlin realy bad or is he good down deep. i still can't find an answer. At one point in the book i lost hope for him thinking that he was truly evil, only to have be snached away from me several chapters later. but Rastlin isnt the only intresting charicter in this story.
Caramon finaly realizes the exstent of what his brother is trying to do when he and Tas are plunged two years into the future. determand not to let this vision of what might be, become reality, he gose back to the proper time with one goal; to stop Rastlin.
there is also Crysana. through out this story i thought that she was slightly, well, nieve. unaware of what Rastlin could do and playing along nicely into his trap, she looked like little more than a child who was simply doing what she was told and being content with that. but then, in this book she is given a shocking blow when she can truly see for the first time.
we also get to see an old friend come back who hasn't been in the past books, Tanis.
and admist all of this there still is Dalamar, dont forget him, or for that mater Kitiara.
all and all i consider this book to be one of, if not the, best books i have ever read. enjoy.
on May 9, 2001
This wasn's a book, or a trilogy, it was a reality, a life. Weis and Hickman drag you into the world of Krynn during your worsts times here on this Earth. Krynn is Utopia. Which of you doesn't want to go out and adventure, and end up in the end as a hero, someone no one will ever forget?
Describing what the book was about would ruin it for you, I could tell you all that happens, but you would miss the meaning, and not feel the emotions that this book give you. Legends is just, sad and invigorating. Tas is always there to keep you on your toes, and give you a smile.
I know they are not real, but they will always be there in my time of need. When I think something is bad, I'll just think of these great books, and they will keep me up
Much like another book, the Bible, it picks me up out of the darkness I have created. This is the greatest book ever written, and Chronicles and Legends are not far behind :]
I do not know what to expect from Second Generation and Dragons of a Summer Flame, only the best, despite what I have read. It will be even better I think, as these books always get better.
Kudos to Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, thank you, very much.
on March 25, 2001
When I started this book I had already read all the past books, so I knew the history of the characters. However, I did not think that it really mattered; Weis and Hickman fill you in very well. I think you should read the other books simply because they are extremely good as well. Introducing Tanis was a very good idea; I don't know about others, but he was one of my favorite characters. Dalamar was an odd mix of fleeting glimpses of caring through the somewhat cracked mask of evil he wears. Caramon had changed a bit- he wasn't the slobbering fat fool I thought he was in previous books- instead he was a quiet, thoughtful, determined man. All in all, the characters were quite well developed. *applause* By the end of the book, in the last desperate meeting between Caramon and his beloved twin, I was almost crying. I found Raistlins soul not to be gone, forever turned from the world, but instead to be hiding within him, reaching out his hand for help. I shall not give away the ending, but the dramatic conclusion to my favorite series of books made my eyes feel all misty. Amazing book Ms. Weis and Ms. Hickman!
on December 19, 2000
Now, although there is more action in this book than the first two in the series, that doesn't mean the intensive character development is gone. The action serves to emphasize this development. When forced to make choices in battle, we see what motivates the characters into the decisions they make. All three of the major players in this book (Caramon, Tanis, and Tasslehoff) all have to make life altering decisions in the midst of battle.
We also get a glimpse into the heart of Raistlin during his quest. Flashbacks to previous periods in his life give us insight into what made him into the person he is today. We begin to question what we've been led to believe in the previous two books: Is Raistlin truly evil or is there a spark of goodness within him? The ambiguity of this answer makes for a fascinating read...I could never decide whether to root for him or despise him.
Weis and Hickman have used this series to flesh out some of the most interesting characters from the DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLES trilogy. They were especially effective in making Tasslehoff into a more three dimensional character. We see that he isn't the lighthearted, devil-may-care person we all thought he was in the first trilogy. I think they need to write another series like this one and give us a view of the other characters as well: Laurana, Goldmoon, Flint (in the past, of course). The reason this and CHRONICLES are so compelling is that the authors make you care for the characters, especially the tragic ones.
on April 26, 2000
I started with the Chronicles when I was 15. Until now it has been a monthly affair to pick the books up and read parts of it again & again. I managed to buy the collector's editions for both the Chronicles & Legends so I can read any part of it anytime.
Test Of The Twins moved me to tears especially the end when Raistlin finally found a shred of goodness & sacrificed himself to save the world. At the very end when the Queen Of Darkness takes Raistlin, seeking his soul, but instead Raistlin was protected from her by his brother's arms and rabbits made by Caramon's hands. That really made me cry to see the love, despite Raistlin evil nature, that bond the two brothers together.
And Caramon too finally realised that he has a path to walk. Yet he knows no matter what he and Raistlin will be linked forever.
There are so many lessons taught in the Legends trilogy. From the kender to Lady Crysania to Caramon, all learnt something at the end of the adventure or quest. Raistlin too learnt that he is not invincible.
This book ends the Legends, though there are lots of unexplained stuff. On the whole this makes you want to read it again & again.
on September 16, 1999
By far the best of the three novels, yet still falls considerably short of the Chronicles trilogy. A part of what made the original saga is evident here; particularly with depth of characterisation. The weight of the world and emotional turmoil falls upon Caramon not Tanis; although, the authors do introduce the prodigal half-elf to good effect in this novel. We observe Crysania's inner-pain and suffering; though that pales in comparison to what Laurana had to endure during the war of the Lance. We examine Dalamar who to me appeared too pure of heart to wear the black robes. He is by all accounts a powerful wizard destined to become head of the Conclave, yet paled miserably when compared to his archmage mentor.
The authors lift the pace (and the ante) in this book and the series needed it. The plot development at last became suspenseful in the risk taking and impending sense of doom. In turn, this made the reading more gripping and compelling. One of several twists in the tale is with the temptress Kitiara. The authors use this opportunity to tie up some loose ends from the previous series. Even as Kit is about to die, we witness yet again that her one and only weakness has always been Tanis. What a lucky guy he is; imagine being sought after by an elven goddess and an alluring femme fatale.
The key element which prevented the previous two books from stagnating was missing here, but perhaps it was not needed what with everything else that's going on. I am of course referring to the comic relief provided by the irrepressible kender. Tasslehoff, in whatever shape or form, will always be the authors' trump card; the sole figure who cannot be replaced for love nor money.
In summary, Test provides a good ending to a not so good series. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but the universal standards set by the authors with the Chronicles are simply not adhered to in the two previous novels and there is minimal evidence of it here. However as fantasy adventures go, you will not find many that are superior.
on March 10, 1999
The stories of the Dragonlance Legends which started in the Inn of the Last Home under the vallenwoods end in this wonderful book. Raistlin (Caramon Majere's frail twin) opens the mystical Portal to the Abyss to challenge the Queen of Darkness, Takhisis. At the exact same, his twin Caramon activates the magical time-traveling device. The fields of magic shift and collide sending Caramon and his kender friend, Tasslehof Burrfoot, into an unexpected time and place while Raistlin enters the Abyss.
Meanwhile, the full continent of Ansolon on the planet of Krynn is undergoing one of the most destructive wars ever recorded by Astinus, Ansolon's Chronicler.
Tanis Halfelven and Caramon takeovere a giant flying catedal and had Tasslehof and a gully dwarf fly it over to the Tower of High Sorcery while Tanis and Caramon fought off a powerful Bozzark mage. Once there, Caramon and Tanis went past Dalamar's magical guardians (Dalamar- one of the most powerful sorcerers in the entire planet of Krynn. He is the protector of the Tower of High Sorcery and the Portal) only to find him laying on the stone floor after being stabbed by the Dragon Highlord Kitiara (Kitiara- she is the friend and foe of many people throughout the Dragonlance Legends).
Caramon enters the Abyss and finds Lady Crysania, a powerful mage, laying at the foot of a burnt stake. Caramon picks her up and walks into Raistlin. Raistlin with all of his magic power almost kills Caramon but is too injured to do so. Caramon takes that time to explain what will happen if he is victorious in defeating the Queen of Darkness. So he sends caramon out of the Portal with Lady Crysania and stands up to the Queen. The Queen of Darkness turns into a dragon-like creature and easily kills the injured Raistlin. Lord Soth, the death knight of Solamnia and his forces who are destroying the capitol of Ansolon, Palanthas, is defeated by Tanis and Caramon.
Tanis later returns home to Solamnia while Caramon returns home to a far off part of the vallenwoods.
When Caramon's wife Tika and Caramon himself get imbraced in a hug that is so long that it almost seems that they're in suspended animation, Tasslehof sneeks off into another part of the house. He vows that his adventuring days were over and pulls out some maps he had gotten as presents. He looked over the maps remembering the fun times he had there until he came to a place he hadn't been beforeand wandered what it was like. Then he remembered his vow. But as the book puts it "It wasn't Tasslehof that pulled the device out of the bag. Itwasn't Tasslehof that said the magical words to transport him. It was the hand."
This is a wonderful book and is definitely worth your time and money to read. Although it's a good idea to read the other Legends first so you can know the storyline ahead of time.
There is a small amount of swearing and it completely describes the killing so I would not recommend this book for children 8 or under.