Amber and Blood: The Dark Disciple, Volume Three Mass Market Paperback – Nov 4 2008
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About the Author
Margaret Weis is the author of numerous Dragonlance novels, many of them co-written with Tracy Hickman, including the New York Times bestselling War of Souls trilogy. She is also the author of the Star of the Guardian novels and the designer of many Dragonlance roleplaying products.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The plot of this book picks up right where book two left off. That being Mina's quest of self discovery, just who she is and what her role in the world is. Rhys and the kender Nightshade are given a task that will certainly test their resolve and abilities. In terms of subplots, aside from the appearance of many gods from the Krynn pantheon, there just really isn't much `meat' to the overall story. This book, much like the second book in this trilogy, is clearly character driven. This, in and of itself, isn't necessarily a bad thing, but as a big fan of Dragonlance novels and fantasy novels in general, this novel just seems to be lacking the enjoyment that I have come to expect and enjoy from a book. As I said in my review of the second novel, I was a fan of how the gods of Krynn used to interact with the people i.e. dreams, visions etc versus how they are in this trilogy appearing and interacting the way they do. To me, this comes across as contrived and against what twenty years of reading has established.
The characters in this book are for the most part, characters that we have seen in previous books. Rhys the monk, Nightshade, Mina, and Galdar. I was rather surprised at the lack of new characters. There seemed to be ample room to introduce a new character or two to add a subplot, yet that simply wasn't done. While I understand this book, and trilogy, is about Mina and her personal journey the absolute focus solely on her actually causes me to become apathetic to her and her plight. By fleshing out the characters around her and maybe adding a subplot or two, I may have cared more about her. As it is, I felt as though she was being shoved down the reader's throat with no other options. It feels odd for me to even say that, as I am a big fan of character driven novels, but this one for some reason just doesn't work for me.
A few criticisms I have about this novel are:
1 - I am deeply disappointed in Wizards of the Coast's editing department. From the middle of the book on there are numerous errors. Typos, missing words, repeated words, etc. Maybe, due to the situation regarding another novel they simply gave the second half of the book a glance. Who knows, but for a publisher to allow that many mistakes is uncalled for.
2 - I was a fan of Mina's in the first two books, yet the unbridled focus of her in this novel squashed any interest for her as a character I had. The adage too much of a good thing can ruin it, applies here. I think a better mix of characters and plot would have greatly benefited my overall enjoyment of this novel.
3 - How the gods were handled. When I finished this novel and reflected on it, I was left with the feeling that the gods were spoiled brats and not some supreme being responsible for everything in the world. I fully understand that each god has their own motivations and such, yet I just never felt that the gods acted as `gods' should act. The framework of the past twenty years of reading Dragonlance novels seemed to be tossed out the window.
Some things I particularly liked about this novel:
1 - I enjoyed the ending to Mina's story. Some things made sense, some things seemed to be a bit of a stretch, but overall it was an acceptable ending. She certainly had a great deal of character development.
2 - Ms. Weis' prose is, as always, solid and enjoyable to read. She has a certain flow that I have grown accustomed to over the years. I liked it to putting on your favorite pair of sneakers. You know exactly what you are going to get each and every time.
I really wanted to like this novel. After all, I have invested six novels worth of time reading about Mina and her adventures. Yet, in the end I am left with a sense of disappointment. Not for the final product, but what I think could have been better. I simply did not enjoy this novel anywhere near as much as I enjoyed the first two. Fans of the Dragonlance world, should definitely read this book and cap off the trilogy because the end `event' Is vitally important to the story and Krynn overall. For people looking at getting into the Dragonlance world, I would highly suggest starting with the Dragonlance Chronicles Trilogy Gift Set and reading out from there. This novel, and trilogy, is simply not a good place to start reading in this world. I, much like many other Dragonlance fans, sincerely hope this is not the last Dragonlance novel penned by Ms. Weis. I hope Wizards of the Coast allow her and Mr. Hickman to publish one more, if nothing else, for the fans who have invested countless years in the world.
This one, however, left a sour taste in my mouth upon completion. Putting the numerous grammar errors aside (and just how did Paladine become unconscious again...?), reading this book was like watching Star Wars - the scene seemed to change every few pages. Whenever I read about the gods and the actions they were taking, it felt like I was watching a very poorly-written (aren't they all though) reality TV show, where the kids were allowed to run loose and not care about their actions. The enchantment they had in previous books was completely obliterated, a thought that I fear will always be in mind when reading future Books in the DL series. The ending was poorly-written, and seemed very rushed, as if MW didn't know how to end it and used the equivalent of the 'it was all a dream' (not the actual ending, so don't worry!) approach to piece something together.
Overall, I'm not so sure I'm glad I enjoyed reading this final chapter to the DD Trilogy. The first book was full of plot from the first chapter and the second one continued this, with an excellent cliff-hanger at it's conclusion. After the build-up and hype, Book 3 just seems out of place. I was eagerly anticipating it's release, but would have gladly waited another 8 months for something that felt more refined.
Yes, this book is a means to an end... it's the third book in a trilogy. I enjoyed reading it, but once I got to the end and thought back on what had happened, there wasn't a lot of action. The majority of it is travel from one city to the next, with Rhys and Nightshade trying to help Mina as she struggles with memories that she's blotted out. I would've liked to see more of Mina's different aspects as they tried to grapple with her past, but this book was about resolution, and that's what happens. I wasn't expecting the ending, but I found it all very fitting. Mina reminds me very much of Neil Gaiman's character Delirium... it's hard to not feel sad when you read about it, though I think that Mina exercises a greater sort of control over herself. I also liked learning more about Valthonis.
In the War of Souls trilogy, and again in this series, I liked the interaction between mortals and immortals. The gods are not as all-knowing as they'd like their followers to think. They're petty and emotional and go beyond their stereotypes. I never thought I'd like Zeboim, but if this series did anything, it made me love her... she's such a bitch! I also enjoyed seeing Gerard and Galdar (*sigh*) again, particularly with their continued disdain for all things holy. It's an interesting time on Krynn, and I'm looking forward to more.
Oh, my one gripe is the ridiculous amount of typos. It made me weep... there were spelling errors and missing words galore. To make matters worse, paragraphs were repeated, lines of action were missing (Valthonis goes from standing and staring at Mina to suddenly knocked unconcious without any mention of her hitting him?), and fights scenes with random weapon changes. I know it sounds nit-picky... but it's been a long time since I've read a book where the typos ruined the mood so much. Since this was coming from an author I enjoy and she's not new to writing/publishing, I was a bit surprised. Now here's hoping I don't have awful typos in my review. :)
I did love the first book in this series. And I liked the second book in this series. But I did not love this book.
This book was a very quick read - I started it yesterday and finished today and do not consider myself to be a fast reader. This is neither good nor bad, just an observation.
I agree with other reviewers who criticized the all the editing mistakes. The copy editor of this book should be placed on probation. I borrowed a first edition hardcover book from the library with a retail price of $25.95 and I would expect more care to go into a book that is not inexpensive. There were multiple times I had to stop and reread a sentence multiple times to figure out what it was supposed to say. (I had purchased the first two books and am glad I didn't pay for this one and was able to check it out for free. I don't plan to add it to my collection of Dragonlance books.)
As for the actual story, it was a bit disappointing as well. It's true that there isn't a lot of action or character/plot development, mostly travel and review. I guess that's okay. I disagree with the reviewers who didn't like the kender - he was my favorite character and I think it's great to see a kender who can't pick locks and doesn't fit in. We don't all live within our stereotypes and that's a good thing; I think he's a great kender... and he's a Nightstalker so he should be different. Anyway, I got so mad at the book because of what happens in chapter 6 of Book 3 that I barely paid attention to the last 4 chapters. I didn't feel good at the end of this read. And overall I was quite disappointed.
Oh well, plenty more Dragonlance books to read in the sea of Dragonlance books.