Reviews of 'Draconian Measures'
Reviews of 'Draconian Measures'
Here are the visitor reviews we have of Draconian Measures. For more information about this title, please visit the item detail page.
This is the sequel to The Doom Brigade although there's at least one short story in between that should be read. Anyone that likes a) draconians, b) action, c) Kang or d) Perrin and Weis will love this book.
These characters were amazing and very well done. Kang, as usual, doesn't let the reader down, along with his partner draconians Granak and Slith. I really liked how the female draconians seem to have no trace of evil within them, even though they're from the first batch of corrupted eggs.
The characters are well written and I really liked the dialog between them... nothing seemed forced or over-worked. The relationship between Kang and Fonrar came across as very realistic... her mixed feelings of him as a male and also a leader, and his feelings of protection over all the females.
I'd really like to see how the relationship between the twin sivaks and Slith turns out. Will he take both as mates, or will only one win? And what about Thesik? From what I read, only the general in the fort was an aurak. Will she be doomed to never have an aurak mate?
I really enjoyed the relationship between Thesik and Fonrar, which seemed to parallel the relationship between Slith and Kang. I found the bozak leadership skills very fascinating and well done.
I wasn't surprised the Knights of Takhisis were the ones behind the goblin raids. It was surprising they found the females and the thoughts of the draconians choosing for themselves what to do with their lives as a threat though. A very good and unique plot device.
Review made July 30th, 2001.
Draconian Measures is the latest in a series about the continuing adventures of the First Dragonarmy Engineers. To start, let me just say that the blurb on the back of the book was so badly-written, it isn't funny. The cover art is pretty good, though, despite the fact that the scene depicted never does happen. Once we get inside, the book is alright. And it remains that way the whole way through.
This book never really takes off to become the page-turner The Doom
Brigade was. The characters are well-written, of course, and the plot is intriguing, but the build is too slow and the action too sparse to hold interest for more than a few chapters at a time. As an aside, I must offer my congrats to everyone who was made "famous" by the book, especially our own Weldon "Granak Red-Silver" Chen, whose character in the book was thoroughly amusing.
The story is a follow-up from The Doom Brigade and "To Convince the
Righteous of the Right," the short story from Heroes and Fools (I believe). In the beginning, Kang and the boys (and girls now) are still on the run from the mysterious goblin hunters (a bit of a contradiction here; I'll get into this later), and seem about to meet their bitter end when they are rescued by some OTHER draconians. From here, we travel to the fort of one General Maranta, the only draconian to ever hold such a rank. Maranta is the de facto villain in the book, and is portrayed as such admirably. When Kang eventually beats the hell out of him, you want to stand up and cheer.
In the end, as the goblins mass for a huge strike on the fort, we learn that the Dark Knights have put them up to it (a contradiction HERE as well, as I'll get into) in an effort to wipe the draconian females off the face of Krynn forever so that the draconian race may never propagate. I won't reveal the side stories or the end, since I'm only reviewing this, not giving the Cliffs Notes version of it. Suffice it to say the last battle with the villain and against the goblin hordes is well-written and the end chapter is very good. The end saves the book from being the piece of fluff Brothers in Arms was.
Now, the little problems. Both of the ones I picked up on were centered around the goblin/Knights of Takhisis relationship. For starters, the goblins were chasing the draconians for a LONG time, far longer than the Knights of Takhisis could have known about the existence of the draconian females. The explanation of HOW they came to know doesn't really make much sense either since there weren't really any Dark Knights around the place The Doom Brigade took place. If I recall correctly, the Knights began a battle with the forces of Chaos shortly after Kang and his crew deserted. How Selquist could have met up with them THAT fast is beyond my ken. The other is the fact that the Dark Knights even cared. The Knights of Takhisis were formed LONG after the War of the Lance was over. No one from the war (save, maybe, a few draconians) were ever a part of the Knights of Takhisis. The draconians were used as fodder by the Dark Knights simply because they were still loyal to the Dark Queen then. Ariakan had no care about them and neither SHOULD the rest of the Knighthood. Matter of fact, being able to continue the race is probably in the Knighthood's best interest, as it would ensure potential allies and cannon fodder down the road. Also, as we learned in Legacy of Steel, all of the surviving Dark Knights were called to Neraka by Governor-General Abrena to begin planning for a new invasion of Ansalon. That there were even Dark Knights that close to the Estwilde is out of the question, since they would then be considered mercenaries or whatever independent standing militias are called. The fortress they inhabited would have not been large enough to house goblins for training and such an act would have looked suspicious to the "loyalists" the late Huzzad mentioned to Kang
To sum up, the goblin threat and its ties to the Knighthood was a very shaky concept and the book would have done better without it. As far as Huzzad goes, her presence was welcome in the story, but she could have come back and died at a later date or have been written in better.
There was also one other MAJOR issue I had with this book. And that would be, of course, the abominable editing crew at Wizards of the Coast, who went out of their way this time to make sure there were too many grammatical and spelling errors to count. Here's just a few I remember, though: Malystryx is mentioned by name once or twice and is spelled Malystrx; Granak is referred to a few times as a standard barrier; the word "distance" appears like this (distance distance) in a sentence during a dialogue. Those were all VERY simple errors that anyone with experience with a Spelling/Grammar checker could have fixed.
In the end, I recommend reading the book simply for the number of familiar names Weis and Perrin threw in and for the reference to the wicker dragon from DoAT. Other than that, the book does not have much going for it and gets a split decision from me.
First off, let me say that I enjoyed Draconian Measures very much. It is very refreshing to read about someone that is not in any way related to any of the Heroes of the Lance (the one reference is forgivable), and the book itself is more exciting and interesting than most Dragonlance novels. It is also special in that nearly all major and minor characters are draconians, humans are given very little screen time. It started off exciting, I could sense that Kang is fighting desperately for his life, and even though I knew (with this book being set in the past) that he will eventually found a draconian nation in Teyr, there is a tension that made me hold my interest from page 1. Not only because the goblins were dangerous, but also because of the mystery of who was behind the goblin attacks. Also, I liked to see goblins as the bad guys, they are numerous on Krynn but have barely been present in novels. I am glad to see that corrected somewhat with this novel.
Although the pace slowed somewhat after Kang met the colony of general Maranta, the book was still exciting. I kept reading from I started until I finished. The book was also amusing throughout. Kang has a lot to deal with, and the sarcastic comments the authors kept coming with fit the book and its characters well. A nice touch for us on alt.fan.dragonlance was the fact that names of some of the draconians were taken from people on the newsgroup, Granak in particular was given a well-deserved major role in the book.
Of course, the book had some problems. Continuity, of course, was not perfect. Malystryx was, just like Dragons of a Fallen Sun spelled "Malystrx" for some unexplained reason. The magic that the bozaks and auraks cast in the book does not resemble the magic of the Fifth Age, but with incantations and spell components it doesn't seem any different than the old magic. Some points should have been made out of this change. Also, I have to mention one thing that bothered me. In many sitcoms, both good and bad, whenever a person is lying he or she is very nervous and says "uuuhhhhh" and "aaaahmmmmm" while trying to figure out what to say. And they always get away with it! That irritates me, because it is clearly overacting and no one would have believed them. I have the same criticism against this book when Hanra and Shanra are evidently nervous and undecided when they get the swords from the quartermaster, yet he doesn't seem too suspicious. It would have been less annoying if the sivak twins had pretended they knew what they were doing.
Earlier I have complained about the story To Teach the Righteous of the Right that the draconians, in all their goodness, didn't seem like evil draconians of old. I had feared that this book would continue this trend, but it only does so to a limited extent. There is camaraderie among the draconians, of course, and they seem to learn a thing or two about life along the way. For the most part, this novel managed to tell a story from the draconians' point of view without ever rewriting them and their nature. They still eat kender. This sets it apart from and makes it better than the aforementioned short story. It is not perfect though. I don't think that draconians, being evil souls from the Abyss brought into the bodies of draconians but still remembering their pre-draconian existence, would feel a pang of regret any time they saw a good dragon overhead, knowing they exist instead of its children.
The plot is good and keeps you guessing, to some extent. I was curios as to what Maranta was really up to, for example, just like I was about the goblins. However, both solutions were a bit unsatisfactory. Something more could have been done about these to make the book even better. The Dark Knights trained the goblins. Why didn't they get directly involved after the goblins were defeated? Why didn't they get involved themselves to target the females themselves? Why didn't they get more involved with general Maranta to try and trap Kang and his draconians? Likewise, why wasn't Maranta more interested in the females, trying to usurp them instead of using his (a bit
cheesy and revisionist) Heart of Dracart? Why didn't he have a deal with the nearby Knights of Takhisis, perhaps trying to double-cross both them and Kang's regiment? These are all plot twists that there would have been opportunities for developing, and they would, in my opinion, have made a more interesting and a more believable intrigue later in the book. As it is, the current solutions feel slightly dumped down compared to what could have been.
Also, I think that the situation with the females could have been handled in a little more realistic manner. Kang is treating and viewing the females like children, and so he forbids them to know anything, learn anything and get near combat. Of course, they are clever and get things done anyway (and this is part of the amusement of this book). Later in the book, he lets go of the past, and accepts them for the adult draconian warriors they are. I think it happened too fast. While I have not yet been experienced as a father his children growing through puberty to adulthood, I have seen it from the other side. And I must say that I don't think it happens as sudden and completely as it did for Kang. It is a gradual process, I think, where you deal with some things, but not with others. Second, after Kang accepted that the females had to be let on a few things, they were allowed to take part in fighting. If I were Kang, I would not have done that, not ever. Not because they were children, but because they were the only 20 females in existence that could make the race procreate. Even though this is Kang's dream, it seems that he didn't make the females subject to danger mainly because they were, in his eyes, children. As soon as he got over that, it was OK for them to fight. They could very well have died in combat with experienced soldiers, but that was seemingly OK as long as long as they were adults. Somehow, I don't think that Kang would have been so stupid to not even try to argue to the females that they shouldn't fight not because they were children, but because they were the only females and the future of the race.
All in all, even though lost plot opportunities keeps this novel from becoming much more than a yarn, it is so well written and through excitement and wit keeps one interest to such an extent that I would heartily recommend it to any Dragonlance fan looking for light entertainment.
I also have a comment on the appendix with the stats for 3e draconians. This game appendix works great (just like the treatment on Knights of Takhisis in Second Generation did), with well researched stats for draconians; despite the new rules all the special powers and death throes from earlier editions are kept intact. The small, subtle differences between female and male draconians of the same type are good as well, except in the case of the sivak, where the differences are so large and so fundamental and that they don't really make that much in-world sense, and I wondered if the reason for this was an attempt to straighten out the inconsistencies that occurred with the altered sivak powers in the Fifth Age products. Still, this appendix was very welcome.
Review made Thursday April 5th, 2001 on the alt.fan.dragonlance newsgroup.
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