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Reviews of 'The Dying Kingdom'

The Dying Kingdom

by Stephen D. Sullivan
The New Adventures, Volume 2


Reviews of 'The Dying Kingdom'

Here are the visitor reviews we have of The Dying Kingdom. For more information about this title, please visit the item detail page.


Reviewer: Darlaten

Rating: Stars

Synopsis of Story (Minor Spoilers)

In the valleys of the Vingaard Mountains, Nearra, Catriona, Davyn, Elidor and Sindri attempt to find a path to the city of Arngrim in order to locate the Scarlet Brethren who, reportedly, may be able to assist Nearra in restoring her memories. On the way to the city, the companions meet up with Alric who, later it turns out, is the Prince of Arngrim. After battling with the renegade Kokar and his forces that are threatening to destroy the city, the companions arrive at Arngrim for some much-needed rest. Unfortunately, rest is not all that the companions get.

While Catriona and Alric spend time getting to know one another, Nearra begins to have disturbing nightmares. What powers are hidden in her and will they end up destroying her should she use them? To make matters worse, after Elidor and Sindri explore the city, it becomes clear that the city is not all it is made out to be - the stench of lies, deceit, and betrayal are in the air. Will the companions be able to solve the mystery of the city in time? As if that is not enough, Maddoc continues to plot against the companions by sending Oddvar against them - not to mention hatching a plan that should it succeed, forever will change the life of Nearra, the companions and the city itself.

This novel is an adventure that will have young readers guessing until the end as to what will happen. Although the story moves at a slower pace then Temple of the Dragonslayer, the first book of the Spellbinder Quartet, it certainly is gripping and entertaining.

What I liked about this book?

1) Stephen D. Sullivan has continued the quality of writing that was presented in Temple of the Dragonslayer. The Dying Kingdom, in addition to propelling the storyline forward, serves to expand the background of each of the characters - in particular Catriona. In addition, we get to see more insight into Nearra's character who, arguably, has grown stronger then how she was portrayed in Temple of the Dragonslayer. The storyline of the Dying Kingdom is quite compelling with many twists in the plot that will keep readers guessing from cover to cover. Just who are the villains in this story?

2) This book has three particular items that add to the world of Dragonlance: an in-depth historical account of the city of Arngrim; the inclusion of a Manticore; and un-dead 'creatures'. Arngrim description in terms of it's historical political power before the cataclysm was very interesting. Readers who are interested in the early days of Krynn will surely like this section of the story. Manticores, traditionally, have not played major roles within many Dragonlance novels. The use of a different creature is always a plus in my books. I can't comment too much regarding the last item in my list as it would spoil the book for you. Let's just say that un-dead 'creatures' are too cool!

3) Prince Alric is a very mesmerizing and intriguing character. I thought the way in which he was presented was well executed. Readers will easily be able to relate to his hopes, trials, and desires - not to mention his interactions with his parents' wishes. His relationship with Catriona was also handled very well - their relationship does not seem forced on the reader. In fact, for those of us who have ever had the fortune of falling in love, we will be able to empathize with the blossoming of their relationship. Prince Alric was one of the key highlights for me in this book.

4) While this is the second book in the series, readers could read this novel without reading the first novel. There are enough references to Temple of the Dragonslayer provided in The Dying Kingdom to allow readers to understand what has happened in the companions in the past. What's also nice is that even though the references to the first book are provided - they wouldn't spoil the first book for you. In other words, if you read The Dying Kingdom first, you can still read Temple of the Dragonslayer and enjoy it.

What I did not like about this book

1) While I did enjoy this story, it does move at a slower pace then Temple of the Dragonslayer. Is this is a criticism? Not really as the storyline is compelling enough to maintain the readers level of interest. In fairness, the storyline does significantly pick up towards the last quarter of the book. But as I read both the first and second books back-to-back, you can see a difference in speed.

2) I would have liked to see a reference to Jax the Minotaur. In Temple of the Dragonslayer, Jax plays a vital role in the outcome of the story. Even though, as mentioned in the section above, there are references to Temple of the Dragonslayer - Jax is not one of these. This is an unfortunate oversight given his role in the first book.

3) I really hoped that Raedon the copper dragon would have made an appearance in this book. He's only mentioned once at the very beginning of the novel and thereafter is never mentioned again. Hopefully he's in book three.

Conclusion

This book is a successful follow up to the first book in Spellbinder Quartet (The New Adventures). It is also the second time that Stephen D. Sullivan has written a Dragonlance novel - the first being The Dragon Isles. His writings greatly enhance the world of Dragonlance through the use of fascinating and contemplative story lines. I hope to see Wizards of the Coast offering him another opportunity to write for Dragonlance.

The Dying Kingdom, which covers topics such as friendship, loyalty, betrayal, trust, forgiveness, deceit, and parental interactions, will make an excellent purchase choice for any parent looking to buy their child a fantasy book. Adults, not to be left out, will also find the book to be of interest. So far, the New Adventures have delivered on their promise - to provide entertaining fantasy stories.


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