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Reviews of 'Alliances'

Alliances

by Tonya C. Cook & Paul B. Thompson
Elven Exiles, Volume 2


Reviews of 'Alliances'

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Reviewer: BeezerMN

Rating: Stars

Alliances by Paul Thompson and Tonya Cook is the second book in the Elven Exiles trilogy. The first book is Sanctuary. This trilogy is set in the Dragonlance world, and for fans of Dragonlance, this book fits perfectly into the world and continues to flesh out already established characters.

I will give the same disclaimer that I had for the first book in this trilogy: If you are considering reading this book there are two books that I think you need to read before you read this one. The first is The Puppet King by Doug Niles and the second is The Lioness by Nancy Berberick. These two books set the stage for this new trilogy.

The plot of this book follows closely with that of the first book, but broadens the scope of the story more to encompass more characters and a larger, deeper, plot. There was a tremendous amount of set up in the first book, so that being done, the authors were allowed to spend more time really delving into the situation that the elves are facing and how they can get out of it. As with most middle books in a trilogy, this one answers some questions raised in the first book, but raises many more questions and leaves the reader yearning for the next installment. This plot is well laid out, it's concise with not a lot of fluff and gets to the point quickly without slowing the book down. The pace is very good and allows the reader to become quickly enticed and wanting to read more.

The characters are well written and hold true to their original versions and also add more depth to the characters. The authors begin to further develop the multi-layered characters and how those characters influence the story. Some authors have a plot that decides where/what the characters do. Others have characters that decide what the plot will be. This book finds a nice balance between being character driven and plot driven at the same time. This adds depth to the story and allows the reader to feel more a part of the story.

This is another good edition to the realm of Dragonlance from Thompson and Cook and I have no doubt that the third installment will be equally as good. After numerous Dragonlance books that fell short of expectations recently, it is nice to see, what I consider, quality novels coming out that further the Dragonlance world.

If you are a fan of Dragonlance have no fear jumping into this book (provided you read the two novels I mentioned above). If you are new to the Dragonlance world, there are some books I would recommend starting with, but this is certainly a trilogy I would recommend down the road. I didn't like this book as much as the Ergoth trilogy, but I loved the Ergoth trilogy so that is a high level to live up to. Nevertheless, I say read this book if you are a fan of the Dragonlance world. You won't be disappointed.


Reviewer: Kranar Drogin

Rating: Stars

Alliances is the second book in the Elven Exiles series by Paul B. Thompson and Tonya C. Cook. I must admit going into this series I was very excited to read about elves again. Having read their two books from the Elven Nations Trilogy, I knew they knew what they were going to be doing when it comes to elves. The majority of the book follows two main groups of elves: Kerian's elves in Qualinesti and Gilthas' elves in Khur.

I found to enjoy following the elves in Qualinesti more than those in Khur, simply because the destruction to Qualinesti by humans and the Lake of Death was very interesting to read about. Even though they were also fighting a running battle in Qualinesti, they were at least doing some bit of good to Samuval's forces. Also, it was good to see Porthios back in the Dragonlance novels. He has become very cold elf now, very much like most elves ever written about.

The second group of elves in Khur are running for Inath-Wakenti as fast as they can, while being pursued by Khurish nomads. More and more elves continue to be slaughtered along the way, a few hundred here, a few hundred there, you begin to wonder if anyone is going to make it to this fabled place. Eventually though, Kerian comes to the rescue for her husband again, and the elves make it to the valley. One thing I really liked with this whole great march is the strength of character that Gilthas has. It really represents his mother and father greatly.

Overall, I rate this book a four out of five. This means that any Dragonlance fan should pick this book up, but needs to read Sanctuary prior to reading this book. Some great books to read prior to this series include Elven Nations Trilogy, Barbarians Trilogy, and War of Souls Trilogy, but this isn't a must.


Reviewer: Trampas Whiteman

Rating: Stars

Spoilers below!

Alliances is the second installment in the Elven Exiles series, by Paul Thompson and Tonya Cook. The story begins with the continuation of the story of the Lioness, who finds herself magically transported into Qualinesti. It is there that she finds that there are still elven refugees, many of which are being sold into slavery.

During this time, a new player enters the field, or rather a player we haven't seen in some time. Porthios returns, but in a fashion most unexpected. He has been horribly scarred by what should have been his death at the receiving end of a fire dragon's fiery breath weapon. Yet, for some reason, Porthios has survived, horribly scarred. His appearance is so horrific that he covers himself in bandages and a cloak, a living mummy of sorts. Yet his presence is so commanding that the other elves accept him as the Great Lord, who they have named Orexas.

Porthios is truly the star of this show. He has to contend with his own biases (or racism, if you prefer), as well as his inherent nobility. While much of that sticks with him, he has become a changed man, and he must address these issues towards the end of the book. I enjoyed reading of his physical trauma, and his connection to his new god (a surprising one at that, if indeed it is Zivilyn). Truly, Porthios has been reinvented for the current era.

There was mention of Silvanoshei in this book, which is good, as well as seeing Alhana finally accepting his death. I don't remember if Laurana was mentioned or not. However, Gilthanas' death in Price of Courage was never addressed. I would think this would be significant enough that Porthios would have known of it and been greatly affected.

There is one minor continuity error that states that he was burned during the War of Souls, when in fact it was the Chaos War as seen in The Puppet King. As the story reads, it feels like little time has gone on at all. How would Porthios' character be different if over 40 years had passed since his scarring?

Alhana Starbreeze also returns, as do many elven notables. I found that Alhana was played up perfectly, an elven noble, yet one who isn't afraid to jump into action. Though I liked Alhana, I have to say that the Lioness fell a little flat for me in this book. She had moments of tenacity and ferocity, but that didn't seem to stick with her throughout the book.

Where the book falls short for me is in the plot. The Khurish elves cross the desert to Inath-Wakenti and are harassed by nomads. The elves in Qualinesti form a rebellion, circle the Lake of Death, and get some griffons. Everyone goes into Inath-Wakenti. There was no extrapolation on what lies in Inath-Wakenti. Prince Shobbat undergoes a transformation, but this particular story arc wasn't developed fully.

My only other quibble with this book is, again, with the writing style. With my Sanctuary review, I noted how Thompson and Cook went back and forth between actual dialogue and talking about what someone said. This happens in this book as well. In one point, one of the characters said something, then it was mentioned how another character made a great speech, but we never got to read what the speech was! I would think the authors would spend more time extrapolating in order to build up the emotion in the reader. I understand that this is the authors' writing style, and perhaps this is an overly-critical point on my part, but I find that the style does not work for me.

Truthfully, I felt that this book and Sanctuary could have been combined into a single novel that would have been tighter, quicker-paced, and more interesting. Alliances was a good read, and an improvement over Sanctuary, though it seemed to not take the story forward like it should have.


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