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Reviews of 'The Rebellion'

The Rebellion

by Jean Rabe
The Stonetellers, Volume 1

Reviews of 'The Rebellion'

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Reviewer: BeezerMN

Rating: Stars

The Rebellion by Jean Rabe set in the Dragonlance realm is the first book in The Stonetellers trilogy. The second book will be released in August, 2008 and is titled The Death March. I should preface this review by saying that I have enjoyed Ms. Rabe's previous work, in particular the Dhamon Saga; which in my opinion is a very well written trilogy and certainly showcases Ms. Rabe's talents as a writer.

The plot of this book is rather straightforward in that it follows a group of goblin and hobgoblin slaves in a mining camp run by Dark Knights. The mine must continue to run smoothly in order to provide the steel for Dark Knight swords and armor. When devastation comes to the camp all the slaves unite and rebel against their slavers. Throughout the book the former slaves struggle to find their way out of the mountains, the face attack from monsters, as well as a couple other things that I won't mention. There are very few sub-plots in this book, in fact the biggest sub-plot in the novel isn't touched upon until the last fifteen pages of the book. While that is perfectly fine, since this is the first book in a trilogy, as a reader I would have liked to see a few hints leading up to it. All in all it's a pretty simple plot line, so far since there will be more books, but it just seems like an average story at best.

The characters in this book fall into two categories. One, you have the group of goblin and hobgoblin slaves. They are largely cowed into doing the will of the Dark Knights. Ms. Rabe makes it a point to make sure the reader understands the squalid conditions and the work they are expected to do. There are quite a few 'main' characters from this group, Moon-eye, Mudwort, Direfang, Graytoes, and Saro-Saro to name a few. The second group is the Dark Knight contingent of which only three or four become 'main' characters. They are Grallik, Kenosh, and Horace. Throughout the book I had a very difficult time connecting with any of the characters, both human and goblin. They just seemed so two-dimensional to me. It seemed as though Ms. Rabe tried to instill emotion in them, yet, quite honestly, I could really care less about them. They seemed to be dragged along by the story, instead of the characters creating the story.

The book as a whole is just average. There is obviously a bigger story in the works here as evident by some of the comments the goblins make during the book and what they want to accomplish. However, the execution of this novel leaves the story flat and uninspiring. The dialog in this book is simply atrocious. I fully understand that the author was trying to create 'goblin speak', yet it came of as barely readable. There are times when Mudwort uses very broken dialog, then a few pages later uses big words and talks in complete sentences. The characters seemed to actually take away from the story. Reading this novel I felt as thought the characters were the third wheel, at times, got in the way of the story.

Ms. Rabe does have talent as a writer, the Dhamon saga proves that. In my opinion, this book does not do Ms. Rabe's talent justice. Her prose is solid, and her descriptions are very good. The story and characters are simply uninspiring.

I am a big fan of the Dragonlance world, and would say that other core fans should probably read this if for no better reason than that there are events that will probably occur in this series that will be very important. However, for the normal fantasy fan, I can't in good conscience recommend this book to them. There are many other fantasy books out there that I would recommend before this one.

Reviewer: Kranar Drogin

Rating: Stars

The Rebellion is the first book in The Stonetellers Trilogy by Jean Rabe, and Jean's third trilogy I the world of Krynn. To begin, I must say that a lot of the reviews I had seen regarding the book scared me a little bit. So going into this first book I was a bit hesitant. Now having read the novel, I am glad that I decided to read the book. For me, it was pleasantly surprisingly a good book. There are no returning characters from Dragonlance in this novel all are new.

The book takes place in Steel Town for a portion of the book, and the rest of the book in the Khalkist Mountains. I felt that the pace was a bit slow at times, but it was all just set up for the second book. I did not have a hard time at all getting a feel for goblin characters. I did feel a bit sorry for them, having grown up in slavery their entire life. They desired freedom, same as any "intelligent" race of Krynn.

The book follows the desired of a hobgoblin named Direfang, who is the main character of the novel. There are several other goblins, and a few Dark Knights that are the central characters of the novel. There one thing of note that I found very interesting with this book. We get to see a goblin shaman who is able to use earth magic. She then finds other goblins that are able to use this magic also, and they are able to combine their magic to make a more powerful spell together. I was very happy to see something like this in a novel, rather just being in the gaming sourcebooks.

The major thing I did not like about this book is that it tried to show itself off as the "first goblin nation on Ansalon". Wizards of the Coast tried to sell it like that also, but it seems they all forgot about the goblin nation of Sikk'et Hul over on Northern Ergoth. This is where I thought the book series was going to take us too, but now having read the book I can understand a shaman's manipulations as to where they are going and why.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Any Dragonlance fan out there should read this novel, but if you are just starting out with the series I highly suggest you do not pick this book up. You should instead focus on the core novels, while this is a good supplement to those and will be a good series once Death March and Goblin Nation come out.

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