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Reviews of 'Shadow of the Flame'

Shadow of the Flame

by Chris Pierson
The Taladas Chronicles, Volume 3

Reviews of 'Shadow of the Flame'

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Reviewer: BeezerMN

Rating: Stars

Shadow of the Flame by Chris Pierson is the final book in the Taladas Trilogy. The first book in this trilogy is Blades of the Tiger and the second book is Trail of the Black Wyrm. This trilogy covers events that happen on the continent of Taladas, which is vastly different than the continent of Ansalon (a continent which most Dragonlance fans are familiar with). If you are a fan of Dragonlance, when you start this trilogy you will notice that while this may be set in the Dragonlance, it is Dragonlance with an edge There is very little holding back when it comes to Taladas, it's much more graphic and intense than past Dragonlance books.

Being that this is the final book in this trilogy, one can expect many threads from the previous two books to be tied up. This is certainly the case as the books ends in grand fashion, but still leaves several areas that the author, or future authors, can expand upon at a later time. I have often said about the first two books in this trilogy that this is just what the Dragonlance realm needed, something new, fresh, and unique. I am happy to say that this novel holds true to the previous two and adds onto the story that has already been told.

The plot of this book is a culmination of the plot from the first two books. The main plot of this novel is the group of heroes trying to find Frolo and try to save him. After the events of the second book people will know why the rescue attempt needs to be made. Along the way readers are introduced to unique races never before seen in the Dragonlance universe, as well as some interesting twists of common races that have been seen before. There are also a few sub-plots mixed in for good measure. However, make no mistake about it, the novel's appeal is largely the main story arc and how it all comes together in the end.

The characters in this novel are well done. As I mentioned in my review of the previous book, the characters in this book are not the two dimensional cut outs that are prevalent in some Dragonlance books today. Nor are they the ultra powerful, nothing can stop them heroes that can be found in other fantasy series out there today. The characters in this book have stayed true with what they were from the first page of the first book. They are flawed characters that, at times, make mistakes and decisions based on snap judgments and not thinking things through. With all that said, I thought the characters 'slipped' a little from the first two books. At times the dialog seemed a little forced and contrived. I like to refer to it as the 'ah ha' moment, when a character for an inexplicable reason figures out a plot point with little to no help. Other than that, the characters were well written and each one has certainly developed over the course of the trilogy.

I have two minor criticisms about this novel. One was discussed about, that some of the dialog didn't seem to match the characters at times. The other, is at times, Mr. Pierson tries so hard to get the reader to 'see' what the setting is, the lava flows, the heat, the desolation etc. that towards the end of the book I was getting tired reading about it. It almost seemed like he tried too hard to convey that. Sometimes less is more in my opinion.

Other than those two minor things, this was a very solid novel. Overall, the trilogy was very good. A trilogy like this is certainly something that Dragonlance has needed for awhile now. I only hope that WotC allows more stories to be written about Taladas. There seems to be a great deal that can be written about over there.

If you have not read the first two books in this trilogy I strongly encourage you to do so before reading this one. Everything will make much more sense, and the overall enjoyment of the story will be greater. Fans of the Dragonlance realm will undoubtedly enjoy this trilogy, while new fans should also find something to enjoy within the pages. All in all, a very good trilogy and one that I will surely recommend to others when asked.

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