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Reviews of 'Destiny'

Destiny

by Tonya C. Cook & Paul B. Thompson
Elven Exiles, Volume 3


Reviews of 'Destiny'

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Reviewer: BeezerMN

Rating: Stars

Destiny by Paul Thompson and Tonya Cook is the third, and final, book in the Elven Exiles trilogy set in the Dragonlance world. The first book is titled Sanctuary and the second book is titled Alliances. First and foremost if you are a fan of the Dragonlance world and are considering reading this book, you first need to read the other two books. This is strictly so that all the events, hints, and such present in this book make more sense, than they would if you simply started with this book.

The plot of this novel carries over right from the end of Alliances. The elves are in the valley of Inath-Wakenti. Adala, the plainswoman is still plotting against the elves, and the town of Khuri-Khan has its own problems. The main plot line of this book is how the elves adapt to the valley and staying alive long enough to thrive there. There are several obstacles that they must face in order to do so. There is also a smaller plot involving a wizard and his interest in the valley, and actions that he pursues in the valley. Overall, this is a solid plot and one that is well laid out. Mr. Thompson and Ms. Cook once again prove that they work very well together. There are, however, a couple points where this novel seems to dramatically slow down and become bogged down in needless conversations and redundancies in making sure the readers understand plot points. This only happened a couple of times and doesn't affect the story as a whole, but it was enough of an issue that I noticed it.

The characters in this book are all the familiar names from the first two books, well, those who have survived the first two books anyway. Characters such as; Gilthas, Kerianseray, Porthios, Alhana etc., all make appearances in this book. From book two, we know that Gilthas is suffering from a very serious malady, this holds true for this novel as well. Porthios is his normal self in this novel, crass and demeaning to those around him. I do need to point out that about halfway through the novel I was beginning to worry that character development would be thrown out the window. There didn't seem to be much, if any, emphasis on character development. However, the last half of the book, there is a great deal of character development that takes place. While I appreciate the character development that does occur, at times it seems a little forced as well as being too much at one time. I can see how some fans may be confused, or maybe even put off by how things happen in this novel. If you look at it as a complete piece, and not the sum of its parts, there is a fair amount of character development and the development that does occur makes sense.

I do have a couple of criticisms about this novel. One of which is a little bit of a spoiler so be warned.

First, as I mentioned above, the middle of the book seems to get bogged down with unnecessary repeating of plot points and, what I considered, unnecessary conversations between a couple of characters.

Secondly, the plot pint involving the wizard didn't seem to fit together very well with the rest of the three novels. In the first two books it wasn't in the forefront as much as it was in this novel. When the perspective switched to this plot piece it almost felt like I was reading a different book. It just felt, odd to me.

Lastly, there comes a point in the story where Porthios takes a group of elves to try and take back Qualinesti. That is a very important part of this book as the elves that are together now split into two groups. However, once he leaves there is no further mention of him at all. It's almost like he disappeared completely. I thought they could at least mention something about him and his group. If it will be a further story/series, the least they could have done was having the group outside of Qualinesti ready to enter the forest.

With all that said, I did enjoy this book. For the most part it was a fitting conclusion to he trilogy and wrapped up several plot points throughout the entire trilogy. As well as raising a few more that can be used at a later time to keep the stories going. I really like where the elves ended up with this trilogy. As I said in the review of the first book, I was not a fan of the Dragonlance elves before this trilogy. However, now that I have finished it, I am more of a fan and there are several characters that I would not mind reading more about later.

Fans of the Dragonlance world should certainly read this trilogy. I also think that most fantasy fans in general will also appreciate parts of this entire trilogy. Readers looking to break into the fantasy genre may find things they enjoy as well; however, I would suggest starting with the Dragonlance Chronicles if you are looking into Dragonlance books. Then bridging out from there. This is certainly a series I will be recommending to many people as I quite enjoyed it.


Reviewer: Trampas Whiteman

Rating: Stars

Destiny is the third book in the Elven Exiles series of Dragonlance books by Paul Thompson and Tonya Cook. It is strange to note, then, that it picks up pretty much were book one, Sanctuary, left off.

The previous volumes in this series seemed a bit slow, and like the pace could have been picked up more had the previous two volumes been condensed into one. I am pleased to say that Destiny is a vast improvement over Sanctuary and Alliances, and a fabulous read.

The story reads like nothing short of a legend in the making. In a thousand years, the elves will look back on this time and think of Gilthas Pathfinder the same way they do Kith-Kanan, Silvanos, and other great speakers of the past. Truly, Gilthas comes into his own, becoming a legend himself. What is telling is not only his own vision and conviction, but how an entire people can react to the will of their sovereign. I have seen no greater example of nobility in Dragonlance than what we have seen with Gilthas Pathfinder.

The Lioness makes her return, having to grow beyond her previous bounds. Without giving any spoilers, she finds herself in a new role, one that is strange for the Lioness to be in. At one point, she must choose between liberating Qualinesti and standing by Gilthas.

We see the return of several supporting characters, as well as the introduction of some new supporting characters. My personal favorite was Favaranos, the archivist. In this volume, he proves that heroism lies in the heart. It is through his actions that the outcome of the book comes clear. I also enjoyed Robien, who proves that some elves can still be adventurers. I would like to see him get his own novel someday.

If there is any weak character development, it is with our villains. Adala's tale is brought to a premature and somewhat lackluster end. For someone so prominent in prior books to end so unceremoniously and so quickly...well, it just seemed a bit hollow. Prince Shobbat proves to be an interesting character, but I feel his story has yet to be truly told.

Our true villain is Faeterus, whose background isn't explained quite like it should be. Perhaps if I had read all three volumes in this series back-to-back-to-back, I would have seen better development. It was Paul Thompson's posts on the boards that helped to explain his origins and his connection to Vedvedsica. That being said, one does not gain this knowledge from reading this series alone.

I've heard it said, too, that this series wraps up a lot of loose ends that Thompson and Cook have put out there. I don't know the validity of that, since I've not read their other Dragonlance works yet, but the reader should keep this in mind. The story stands on its own, but may be enhanced with further reading.

As for the new homeland of Inath-Wakenti, my only misgiving is that this area has been omitted from all Dragonlance maps up to this point. How this valley, which has to be pretty huge to hold two elven nations, has remained a secret for so long is beyond me. That being said, I find the valley to be a wonderful new homeland for the elves. The connection to magic and nature is extremely natural here.

Destiny proves to be a good book for any Dragonlance fan, though fans of Dragonlance's elves will especially like the book. Despite a few minor criticisms of the book, I found it to be solid and one I had a hard time putting down. Destiny is nothing short of a modern-day history in the telling. Certainly, the tale of Gilthas Pathfinder's journey to Inath-Wakenti will transcend from history to legend.

Bravo!


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