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Reviews of 'Night of Blood'

Night of Blood

by Richard A. Knaak
The Minotaur Wars, Volume 1

Reviews of 'Night of Blood'

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Reviewer: Matt

Rating: Stars

Since the dawn of their civilization, the minotaur race has dwelt on the eastern shores of Ansalon, dreaming of the day when their legions would roll across the continent and subjugate the other, lesser, races. Stymied by the corrupt rule of the aging emperor, Chot Es-Kalin, Hotak de-Droka and those loyal to him plot against the emperor and overthrow his rule on the swift and terrible Night of Blood that marks the beginning of the Minotaur Wars.

Night of Blood is the first of three novels in the The Minotaur Wars, a new Dragonlance trilogy by Richard Knaak. Already famous in the Dragonlance community for his work on other novels dealing with the minotaur race, most notably The Legend of Huma and Kaz, the Minotaur, Richard Knaak is a perfect fit for the Minotaur War series, and his work on Night of Blood confirms that choice. Night of Blood is an excellent novel, and a worthy beginning to the story. From the novel's foreword by Margaret Weis to the final page of the book, the only thing that could have been improved on would be the lack of a definite ending to the story—though, to be fair, it's no secret that there will be a sequel. Regardless, the reader is kept on edge throughout the novel, always wondering what twist the story will take next.

In the interest of not spoiling the plot for those that want no further indication as to what happens in the novel, be warned: stop reading after you finish this line, but make sure to add Night of Blood to your bookshelf when it is released next month!

Night of Blood opens with a brief history of the minotaur race to 418 AC (35 SC), excerpted from the Archives of Palanthas. The brief history chronicles everything from the split with the ogres to the minotaur subjugation under the Kingpriest of Istar, to the events of the Summer of Chaos. The action begins thereafter, commencing immediately with what would come to be called the Night of Blood. Orchestrated by veteran general Hotak de-Droka, and his consort, the High Priestess Nephera, Hotak's followers simultaneously assassinate anyone connected with the Emperor's clan in numerous locations across Mithas and Kothas. The final blow is dealt by Hotak himself, when he disposes of the besotted Chot in the bedchamber of the imperial palace.

The minotaurs awake the following morning to the installation of Hotak's regime. In the hours and days that follow, Hotak swiftly consolidates imperial power, replacing the governors and administrators of his predecessor's corrupt regime with those loyal to him, and striking the names of any who oppose him from the rolls and confiscating their holdings. The success of Hotak's coup is due almost entirely to the advice and assistance of his consort, Nephera, high priestess of a new religion that rose in the years following the Summer of Chaos. Nephera's powers (to say more would be to spoil the surprise) have drawn a number of followers to her, including a legion of fanatically loyal troops called the Protectors led by the emperor's eldest son, Ardnor—arguably his mother's most devoted servant.

Even with intelligence provided by Nephera and the might of Hotak's army, two minotaurs of note escaped Hotak's sword, and will likely serve as the emperor's antagonists. One of these two is an already accomplished warrior, while the other has the potential to be the proverbial thorn in Hotak's side—though only hints of greatness can be seen in this installment of the trilogy. Night of Blood also introduces and expands upon some of the conflicts within the new emperor's lands and family, a conflict that simmers just beneath the surface, and approaches a boil as the first novel in the trilogy winds down, helped along by the influence of enemies from without and within.

The action in the book is fast-paced, jumping from one story thread to another and back again in a single chapter, but this technique makes the novel more cohesive—the actions of the characters in one story arc serve to accentuate the actions of those in another by playing the two stories off each other, building up to the frenzied action of the novel's climax.

If Night of Blood contains any one major flaw, it is that the novel is written as the first part of a trilogy: the book ends in such a way that it's clear the story is not finished, which leaves the reader with a conclusion best described as anticlimactic when compared with the opening chapter and the action-packed climax of the novel. Fortunately for the reader, the story will continue with Tides of Blood and the final book in the series, Empire of Blood. All things considered, Night of Blood is well written and should be part of every fan's Dragonlance collection, on the shelf not far from the novels by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. You won't be disappointed.

Reviewer: Shaun Nguyen

Rating: Stars

Night of Blood, by Richard A. Knaak, tells of the Minotaur Empire, prior to the War of the Souls. The book is very informative in the respect that it details information like tradition, culture, and the form of government that was not often addressed by another authors. The characters are well developed and the story line is well thought out. Knaak allows the readers to see the world in the perspective of both the villains and heros by equally telling their side of the story. However, even though this anticipated DragonLance book is good it terms of characters, the abundance of characters and new terms depicted in this book makes the story more difficult to keep up with. Fortunately there is a glossary, but constantly referring to the glossary is very annoying. Instead of a satisfying and concluding ending, Knaak leaves the reader hanging and makes them wait for the Tides of Blood. The style of writing in the Night of Blood is unlike that of most DragonLance and Knaak's other books. If your looking to learn more about minotaur, then you should read this book, but since the cons that I have stated drastically brings the book down, I am not too eager to read it's sequel. Over all, Night of Blood is a decent book, but don't waste $25 on the hard cover; wait until the paperback comes out. Trust me. It's worth it.

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