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Reviews of 'Riverwind, The Plainsman'

Riverwind, The Plainsman

by Tonya C. Cook & Paul B. Thompson
Preludes, Volume 4


Reviews of 'Riverwind, The Plainsman'

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Reviewer: Darlaten

Rating: Stars

Riverwind the Plainsman was written by Paul B. Thompson & Tonya R. Carter. It is part of the Preludes Series. This series looks at the activities of the companions during the five-year period that occurs before the events in the Chronicles Trilogy.

Synopsis of the Story:

Riverwind the Plainsman is the story of the Courting Quest given to Riverwind by the ruling council of the Que-Shu tribe. His quest: to go forth and find proof that the old gods do in fact exist. If he finds this proof, he can return to his people and marry Goldmoon.

Upon starting the quest, Riverwind is joined by a soothsayer named Catchflea (real name Catchstar). Catchflea has an uncanny ability for being able to read acorns he throws on the ground. In this way, he helps Riverwind decide many issues throughout the story.

The book is written in two parts. In 'Part One: Slow Fall', Riverwind and Catchflea begin their quest. During one of their overnight stops, a thief breaks into their camp and steals their goods. Through the commotion of trying to catch the thief, Riverwind and Catchflea fall down a hole into the ground. This hole leads them to the underground city of Vartoom. Vartoom is the home of the underground elves. It is here that we meet up with the third main character of the book - Di An, an elf who is unable to grow old.

While in the city of Vartoom, Riverwind finds that the people are not happy. There is great inequality amongst the " diggers" of Vartoom and the soldiers/ruling class. What follows is an uprising by the people against Li EI, the elven priestess and leader of the kingdom. The rest of Part One deals with how Riverwind and Catchflea aid the elves against Li EI and her forces. There are many intriguing plot twists in this section! Also, there are surprises in store for the reader when you discover which elf is related to which elf. Will Riverwind and Catchflea be able to help Di An and the rest of the resistance? You will have to read the book to find out! Part One ends with a foreboding prophecy: one will go mad, one will die, and one will find glory.

'Part Two: Ascent' follows the trio as they make their way from the city of Vartroom to the city of Xak Tsaroth. The city is filled with goblins, gully dwarves, draconians, ophidians, and the black dragon Khisanth. Upon entering Xak Tsaroth, the trio is captured. Their captor is an ophidian by the name of Thouriss.

While working under the guidance of Khisanth and the Dark Queen, Krago, a black mage, created Thouriss from the egg of a land serpent. His goal was to create a new race of beings that could breed and be used to destroy the face of Krynn. This new race has the potential to be stronger and more cunning than even the draconians. Will Riverwind, Catchflea, and Di An be able to stop him and his monstrous creations? Will they be able to escape from Xak Tsaroth? Which of them will go mad or die? You will have to read the book to find out!

Part Two is very fast paced and exciting. Riverwind must not only stop Krago, but also discover the Blue Crystal Staff. In turn, he must return to the Que-Shu people with proof of the old gods existence. I do not want to give away how the story unfolds or ends - suffice to say that you will be shocked by what happens. I would end this synopsis this way - the story is very prophetic whereby you have Paladine telling Mishakal that she has chosen wisely in the person of Riverwind.

What I liked about this book:

1) The description of the underground city of the elves is informative. The authors excel at their descriptions on not only the design of the city but also how these elves came to be underground. There are references to King Sithas and Kith-Kanan. In many sections of Part One, the reader is treated to historical anecdotes that help fill in the gaps in the history of the elves.

2) Li EI is a very believable, evil character. She is malevolent and manipulative. The portrayal of her as the villain in Part One is extremely well done. The way in which she can control the thoughts of others - including Riverwind is very creepy.

3) Riverwind's character portrayal is presented very well. Based on what I read in the " Chronicles Trilogy" , Riverwind had never been a favorite character of mine. However, with this book, I have grown to like him. How this book presents his attitudes towards life, his belief in himself, the old gods, and his quest, shows how compelling and complicated he really is. If you are interested in learning more about Riverwind - read this book!

4) Khisanth, the Black Dragon! While not a main character in this book, she does provide for many suspenseful events in the book. Another positive item regarding Khisanth is that her characterization meshes in nicely with how she is described in " The Black Wing" (written by Mary Kirchoff). I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about Khisanth, the Black Dragon.

What I didn't like about this book:

1) Catchflea. Although well developed, he never really meant anything to me. The way he speaks in the novel got on my nerves. Aside from helping Riverwind decide where to go initially, Catchflea doesn't really help the story. In fact, I would argue that he gets in the way of the story at times.

2) Di An. She didn't do anything in the book. All she seemed concerned with was capturing Riverwind's heart. Having said that, there were some interesting points about her: her past before meeting up with Riverwind and her future as indicated at the end of the book. I think there was potential for the development of an interesting character in Di An; unfortunately, it never happened.

3) Although the description of how the ophidians were created was excellent, more could have been spent on how the draconians were created. If readers are looking for detailed information into the early stages of draconian life, this book does not provide it. There are some intriguing parts - just nothing substantial regarding the draconians.

Conclusion

Riverwind the Plainsmen is a must read for fans of the original companions. Even if you do not like Riverwind as a character—you should read this book. You will see a different side to him. In fact, you may even change your mind about him. I know I did.


Reviewer: Jeremy Cohen

Rating: Stars

Years before the War of the Lance, Riverwind has departed on his courting quest to win the hand of his love Goldmoon. He and his companion Catchflea fall into a world of slavery, which they must over turn before leading the people back to the surface of Krynn.

An excellent read, well worth the time and expense of the novel. It also fills in a lot of the missing loose ends about the courting quest that Riverwind talks about in the Chronicles and that he embarks on after the story in Tales. There are some problems in the details of the novel, but it's still a great tale.


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