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Reviews of 'Dragons in the Archives: The Best of Weis & Hickman'

Dragons in the Archives: The Best of Weis & Hickman

by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Anthologies, Volume 2

Reviews of 'Dragons in the Archives: The Best of Weis & Hickman'

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Reviewer: Cassandra Jacobs

Rating: Stars

Consisting of a variety of short stories from several anthology books along with memoirs of working with Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman in the creation of the world of Krynn, this book is an interesting read, as well as a stroll down memory lane into previously read material.

The majority of the stories are centered around dragons as the main character or protagonist, thus supporting the title on the cover. I was a little disappointed though that towards the end the stories fell away from this theme. As such, these non-dragon stories tended to stick out rather poorly.

I also found there were many editing and spelling errors throughout the book. I'm unsure if these were carried over from the original printings or if they appeared in the new ones, but it tended to be a bit disconcerting. An editor would have caught the majority of these.

The memoires written by the authors and designers who worked with Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman in the beginning were an interesting read and provided insight into the past creativity process. The interview at the back with Margaret and Tracy wasn't that great, but the rest are definitely worth reading.

Overall, I don't think I'd suggest this book only because all the stories were published in other prior novels. I don't feel that the excerpts, however well written, were worth the full cover price of the book. Of course, if you're a collector, you'll be picking this up anyway.

Review made January 18th, 2006.

Reviewer: Trampas Whiteman

Rating: Stars

Dragons in the archives is a collection of short stories by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, as well as some where Weis writes with other collaborators or alone.

The stories are all top-notch, and include such greats as The Silken Threads and True Knight, the stories of the sister of a Knight of Solamnia who must take up her brother's mantle and the cleric of Mishakal who loves her. These two tales are set during the time of the Cataclysm. These two are some of the best in this collection.

What makes this collection really stand out, though, are the reflections back to the early days of Dragonlance by people such as Jeff Grubb, Douglas Niles, Michael Williams, Larry Elmore, Jean Blashfield Black, and even a fan perspective from Jamie Chambers.

The Best is a story of a group of dragonslayers, and perhaps it is best to not say any further than that so as to not spoil the story. While it is a good story, it isn't necessarily a Dragonlance story. In particular, the wizard in the group wears none of the robes and is the member of a coven. She is reported to transform men into wolves.

Another gem is Honor and Guile, a Margaret Weis story of Raistlin and Sturm in their youth, from Dragon #243. This truly is representative of the two companions and shows how they learn to respect one another, even if they do not like one another.

The one story I didn't care for as much in this book is The Story That Tasslehoff Promised He Would Never, Ever, Ever Tell. While it brings up the point of the power of faith, I feel that this story takes away from some of the magic of the dragonlances.

Two stories in this book are from Margaret Weis and Don Perrin, namely Master Tall and Master Small and Demons of the Mind. Both are good stories. While I liked the story of Master Tall and Master Small, I'm wondering why they were playing chess instead of the Krynnish game khas. Also, I found the end to not be as good as the body of the story.

The Raid on the Academy of Sorcery is a good tale, and sets up the world of Krynn for the War of Souls trilogy. While Ulin is great in the context of this story, it seems that his connection with the dragon Sunrise and his status as a dragon mage have been nearly-forgotten.

Finally, we have The Traveling Players of Gilean, written by Margaret Weis and Aron Eisenberg (Star Trek: Deep Space 9's Nog). This story was an excellent read, and I found myself wanting more. Luckily, we have that in the form of the anthology revolving around the Traveling Players.

There are also a few interviews in the back taken from sources such as Legends of the Lance and the Wizards of the Coast website. This would have been better, I felt, had they done a full-blown interview with the pair, rather than taking old materials like they did. However, this is Dragons in the Archives, and by that standard, they did exactly what they should have – drawn from the archives.

Overall, the book was an excellent read. If you want the very best of Weis and Hickman short stories, this is the book to buy.

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