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Reviews of 'More Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home'

More Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home

by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, Editors
Leaves From the Inn of the Last Home, Volume 3

Reviews of 'More Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home'

Here are the visitor reviews we have of More Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home. For more information about this title, please visit the item detail page.

Reviewer: Morten Brattbakk

Rating: Stars

I was excited to see if More Leaves From the Inn of the Last Home would turn out to be like Leaves From the Inn of the Last Home and History of the Dragonlance Saga. As it turned out, there are some articles that really are central (such as the treatise on the dragon overlords, the Fifth Age timeline, and the article about currencies during the War of the Lance), but also many that aren't. Nothing wrong with that, though.

As an overall impression, I feel that this book is a bit too fragmentary. Including short pieces from many Dragonlance authors, and even lots of fan submissions, few articles go to real depth into subjects, and often there are no related articles in the book. For example, there is a brief piece of Palanthian fashions in More Leaves From the Inn of the Last Home, but nothing more connected to it in any way. This in contrast to the original Leaves From the Inn of the Last Home, where a lengthy article about the kender is part of a series of articles about various Krynnish races. The fashion piece should have been part of a larger article or series of articles about Palanthian nobles, the puppetry of Kagonesti part of a broader view on Kagonesti culture. Tighter editing would have helped this book. Some longer pieces work well as stand-alones though, such as the Que-Shu divination article.

Now, for the articles: Michael Williams's new poem "Star of the Time and Turning" is unmistakably Michael Williams, lots of difficult words and symbolism like the ones in Chronicles and Legends. It is astyle I don't like. I far more prefer the poems later in More Leaves From the Inn of the Last Home to this one, and the poem in Dragons of a Fallen Sun to the ones in Chronicles and Legends. It does have a good rhythm though, and is far better than the most pretentious poems of Michael Williams.

Miranda Horner's The people of Khur is a direct outtake from Heroes of Hope, and features a legend with a terrific, original ending, but there should have been other articles in the same vein as well to complement it.

Richard Knaak writes about the Kazelati, a hidden minotaur clan that made its debut in a laughable deux ex machina plot twist in Reavers of the Blood Sea. Why Richard Knaak thought that Kaz's descendants were a good idea to flesh out more I don't know. The presentation of the Kazelati is very good, with history, appearance, their realm, their rulers, religious beliefs and trade and commerce, and an example for other writers presenting a culture to follow. The content, due its very premise, is not.

John Grubber is the writer who has contributed the most to More Leaves, and I will review all his articles together. He wrote The Ancient Bakali, The Technology of the High Ogres, Dragons of Krynn and Their Bone Formations, The Great Library of Palanthas, a Visitor's Guide and detailing a couple of artifacts. There were two articles that I absolutely didn't like due to their content. The Ancient Bakali describes, from the point of view of a Krynnish archeologist, a culture of lizard men in a world of large reptiles at a time before the making of the ogres, elves and humans. This is a major change of Krynn's history, making a very obscure and even controversial race a major player in Krynn's history. Major changes to Krynn like that is something that makes me like Krynn a little less. Tales of the Lance did that to me, and now this article. The Great Library of Palanthas, a Visitor's Guide shows that the research done on the library prior to writing this article could have been better. According to sources like Chronicles, The Atlas of the Dragonlance World, DL9 and the sourcebook Palanthas, most of the library is closed to all but the Aesthetics. There is one wing that is the public section, open for all citizens. Also, according to Palanthas, Astinus is convinced that the truth is sometimes dangerous and should not be open to the general public. This goes against the credo "Knowledge is the right of all, not a priviliege of few." Also, the article shows the organization of the library to be in departments and sub-departments, and dealing with all kinds of sciences. First of all, there is a University in Palanthas dealing with many sciences (according to Palanthas), and second, the organization of the library feels very anachronistic. The only place on Krynn such an organization would exist is on Mt. Nevermind, in my opinion. The article gives the feel of a modern library, not a medieval one.

That problem, anachronism, is also apparent in John's other articles. They have good content that I like to read about, but I don't like their presentation. They are so modern in style. They are exactly like modern university papers, in style, in wording and phrasing, in the use of footnotes and references, even in the titles books. And they are supposed to be written in-world. I don't buy that. The author has applied a modern way of thinking, writing and organizing to a time and place where it just doesn't fit. In-world scholarship should be more Chronicling and less exact "scientific". It is not only totally unbelievable, but also less enjoyable to read. My advice to the author is to look at works like The Journal of Feldspar Oldstone from History of the Dragonlance Saga and The Bestiary for better to write in-world texts. A Compleat History of the Martial Throwing Engine, Armoring the Knights of Neraka, and The Science of War are all good articles. I especially like the armor article, as it details the armors of the Knights of Solamnia and Neraka very well. It's those kinds of details that I love, that makes Krynn a little more vivid. The Science of War could have included some examples on how the various battlefield roles have fared in famous battles. Other than that, it was a great article. I've never actually considered the exact meanings of the terms it describes before.

Rare, Wondrous, and Magical Artifacts of the Fourth Age contains, along with a couple of artifacts of John Grubber, fan submissions. Some of them are very creative and even rival some of the professional submissions. Kundor's Book of Many Things is a favorite.

Last Will and Testament of Gunthar Uth Wistan was, well, a testament with a very judicial language. Don't know what else to say.

Divination of the Que-Shu was very good, but has one big mistake: It is set before the War of the Lance, but still features Chislev and Zivilyn at a time when the gods didn't interact with the world and the Que-Shu worshiped their ancestors. It would be better if the diviners had perceived their powers to come from their ancestors.

Stan's Slugs, Fungi, Molds, and OtherThings I Hope to Never See Again is outtakes from The Bestiary, describing giant slugs and various deadly plants in the same style as The Bestiary. It was OK.

A Gift to the Tower of Wayreth is a piece where a servant sent by his Master to the Tower of High Sorery is given a tour by an invisible spirit, thereby presenting to him and the readers the Tower. I found that premise somewhat contrived, and the tower has been detailed in several other products. I would have preferred an article detailing the towers of Daltigoth, Istar, and Balifor. This is so typically Dragonlance: What has been detailed dozens of times before is detailed again, what has never been detailed is ignored again, even with a chance like this one.

The Weather of Ansalon: OK if you're a gamer, but this "article" consist only of boring tables with entries of typical weather and chance of precipitation for various climate regions. While it is admirable that such central setting info as the weather of Ansalon is presented, more meat to the bones is definitely needed. Where can one find the climate regions, for example? Is northern Solamnia temperate or tropical or what? What about Northern Ergoth?

Currencies of Ansalon During the Time of the War of the Lance is one of my favorite articles. It is consistent with the info we have on currencies from the early modules, and expands it and adds to it to cover the entire continent. This is the kind of info that should have been included from the beginning of Dragonlance and finally we have it. Terrific!

Dress of the Noble Lady of Palanthas, Late Fourth Age is OK but very brief. It does give us a feeling of the lifestyles and looks of noble-women in the city, but like I said, the article should definitely be part of a larger treatise on Palanthian nobles.

Khas or Battlefield The Krynnish Game of Chess. Khas, the Krynnish version of Chess, was first mentioned and described in Tracy and Laura Hickman's module Dragons of War. Now Harold Johnston provides the full rules for it. With minor modifications, it is almost exactly like chess on a hexagonal board. It is very cool that we actually get the rules for an in-world game, but the text look like a rough first draft, where the author explains the decisions he has made in encountering the problems when converting chess to the Khass board. A re-write with those omitted should have been done before it was published, in my opinion.

The section of gnome inventions is quite funny as well. "The Pancake Wars" by Sue Cook is not as funny as some of the other inventions; The Portable Door Knocker was awesome. Kudos to whoever wrote that one.

Poems and Verses. Good poems. Gotta love the kender verse on The Old Barkeep, and the Death of Sturm was very good, especially the last piece that evoked the famous Elmore painting.

The Puppets of the Dallenesh a Tribe of the Kagonesti was OK, but should have been part of a larger Kagonesti article.

Kender Musicology: Good article on kender music. Just a couple of complaints: Somehow I don't see kender meticulously keeping records of their music (I believe their music would be ever-changing), and the author forgot one instrument: The kender weapon chapak used by Kronn Thistleknott (described in modules Dl12-14, Tales of the Lance and Spirit of the Wind) can also be used as a flute.

Songs and music: My aptitude in music isn't good enough to look at notes and realize how a song sounds, but there are some themes of songs that I like well and fit into Dragonlance, Lament for Lost Gods in particular.

Timeline for the Age of Mortals: Good, and it is updated until right before Dragons of a Fallen Sun. Sometimes it went into too much detail of ridiculous events (such as the ones in Rose and the Skull and The Eve of the Maelstrom); but it's a good way to read this (and the Dragon Overlords article) before reading Dragons of a Fallen Sun if you are unfamiliar with the Fifth Age. This book should have had a article explaining the new types of magic as well, and this book would have been a great introduction to the Fifth Age.

Review made Tuesday August 1st, 2000 on the newsgroup.

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