Reviews of 'Divine Hammer'
Reviews of 'Divine Hammer'
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It's twenty years following the events in Chosen of the Gods. Istar has risen even higher in power and is waging war against all evil. The Kingpriest is finding it difficult to fully eradicate the minions of darkness, but by gosh darn, he's gonna try! With Cathan leading the knights of the Divine Hammer, good is the driving force in all of Istar.
But Cathan is having second thoughts. Not only is he ordered to destroy evil, but neutral as well. It seems that the Kingpriest believes if the people do not worship good, then they are that much closer to evil and therefore destined to be eradicated.
Toss in the wizards and you're looking at holy war.
The Conclave knows the Kingpriest is walking a dangerous line, and they try to keep the peace as well as keep an emissary within the church, but this is doomed to failure. Leciane, a red robed mage, is given the task of finding being that emissary and keeping an eye on what is going on. She shares some moments with Cathan, which also contributes to his continuing confusion and doubt about the church, as well as creating doubts about magic.
The culmination of the story is the declaration of the holy war against the wizards, of all robe colors. The mages won't go down without a fight though. They do everything they can to prevent the people from taking the towers, bringing the battles to the point where two towers are destroyed. In Daltigoth, a part of the city is ruined by the explosion. But the Kingpriest didn't realize the sheer power of the mages... the second tower to fall, in Losarcum, destroys the entire city, casting it into ruins and killing all the inhabitants.
The slow spiral into the downfall of Istar is picking up speed.
I think my only complaint so far about these two books is that it seems Fistandantilus is orchestrating the entire series of events. In the first book, he was the one who ensured Beldyn's place on the throne, and the downfall of the Kurnos the Usurper Kingpriest. In the second book, it is Fistandantilus who pushes the buttons to create the war between the church and the Conclave, with the goal being the destruction of the Divine Hammer, chaos within Paladine's church, and the Conclave being driven underground... all so he can plot in peace. It really makes me question how much power Fistandantilus has within these events. While it is very obvious that he is not creating the chaos, as it would happen in some form regardless of his help, it's obvious that he's the one prodding certain key figures in the back. I always pictured the downfall of Istar to be of its own machinations and not due to outside influences.
Either way, I'm rabidly anticipating the final chapter of this trilogy.
The Kingpriest Trilogy is amazing, that's the simplest way for me to put it. If you love Dragonlance and haven't read it then do so at once. It is well written and provides backstory for the famous Legends Trilogy. Explaining why exactly the people of Istar were mad with religious fever, why did they despise magic, and why did the gods smite them. "Divine Hammer" focuses specifically on the events surrounding the war between the Kingpriest and the Hall of Mages.
There is plenty in this novel to please any kind of Dragonlance fan: sword fights, pitched battles of magic, a working church language, questions of morality, a bit of love, and a good chuck of evil. Perhaps one of the key factors is that it has such a strong villain in the archmage Fistandantilus.
Really this trilogy has everything, it's the best dragonlance I've read in a long time and truly earns the five stars I'm giving it. I haven't seen DL done this well since "Soulforge" came out, it even eclipses the War of Souls Trilogy.
The only problem I have is that it is kept to the common 300 pages of all second tier Dragonlance novels. I'm aware some DL authors have trouble with it, but Chris Pierson (no relation) does not. It's too late to do so in this trilogy but if he is given the rights to another let him write it as he can, EPIC. I don't just give out five stars for no reason, this one truly earned it.
Final Thought: Sifat Pilofiro
"Divine Hammer". The title has a nice ring to it, undoubtedly. The book itself, is much more interesting.
"Divine Hammer", the second book of the "Kingpriest Trilogy" manages not only to equal the first, but also surpass it. By far. "Chosen of the Gods" chronicled the transformation of Brother Beldyn, a young monk, into the last Kingpriest of Istar, Beldinas Pilofiro, the Lightbringer. It also showed the very important part that none other than Fistandantilus played in those events. Now, Chris Pierson moves us twenty years forward in time.
Beldinas' power has long been cemented, aided by the Knighthood he created, the Divine Hammer, which, under his orders, has unleashed a pogrom against evil of any kind. The Empire of Istar is the mightiest nation on Ansalon. But Fistandantilus is still here, stronger and more devious than ever, ready to turn everything to his favour.
The book is beautifully written, the scenes almost cinematic in conception and narration. As someone who always tries to visualize every scene in a book, I couldn't help wondering if Pierson has been influenced by "The Lord of the Rings" first movie. Many scenes in "Divine Hammer" offer a rich epic undertone, along with a fast-paced narrative, in the right dosage. The new characters we meet are adequately explored, and the characters brought on from "Chosen of the Gods" are expanded and made to fit into a changed world. Some clichés in the plot can't be avoided, and the slow transformation of Pierson's Kingpriest to the one we know from the Chronicles is perfectly justified, but vaguely abrupt. But these are just minute details in the great tapestry of this book. Moreover, we're even treated to a complete narration of the events that led to the destruction of the Towers of Magic in Daltigoth and Losarcum (The Ruins), as well as the cursing of the Tower in Palanthas! Now, don't tell me this didn't get you interested.
All in all, "Divine Hammer" is a very good book that blends information about the last years of the Third Age with an addictive storyline. I can't wait till the final volume of the trilogy comes out and see how well Pierson's storyline mixes with the events we all became familiar with in the Legends trilogy. Until then, "Divine Hammer" is an excellent read.
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