Review of Dragons of the Dwarven Depths by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Science Fiction Audiobook Review

Fantasy Audiobook - Dragons of the Dwarven Depths by Margaret Weis and Tracy HickmanDragons of the Dwarven Depths: The Lost Chronicles, Volume I
By Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, read by Sandra Burr
13 CDs, 1 MP3 disc – 15 hrs [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 9781423316107 (CDs), 9781423316121 (MP3 disc)
Themes: / Fantasy / Epic Fantasy / Heroic / Sword and Sorcery / Magic / Adventure /

In an untold story from the War of the Lance, the companions have saved the refugees of Pax Tharkas and led them to a hidden valley. For a time they are safe, but the forces of the Dragon Army are in pursuit.

This novel takes place after the first Dragonlance novel, Dragons of Autumn Twilight. The story starts with a large ensemble of characters already in place. Along with the refugees that these characters have saved, they must choose a path for escape. The Draconian army is still strong and hungry for vengeance against the rebels. The best path for the group is to send a small group to the underground dwarven kingdom of Thorbardin, where they hope to find shelter for the winter for their party, and also find the legendary Hammer of Kharas.

As a reviewer it’s important to tell you that this is my absolute first exposure to the Dragonlance universe. This book is very much a sequel of sorts. Although it’s the first book of a trilogy, it’s filling in the untold tales of Dragonlance’s first trilogy.

This book is not a good jumping-on point to the series. It took effort to pay attention through the early parts of the book, because characters are introduced in quick succession. After you get to know the characters (and they separate into smaller groups) the listening becomes much easier.

Looking at the cover, it would be foolish to expect more than a Tolkienesque fantasy. And that’s exactly what you get. An adventure with a pantheon of familiar fantasy creatures as well as humans. The characters all had distinct traits and their own motivation. The evil characters are just that – evil – yet interesting. But more interesting was that many of the characters on the side of good came in various shades of gray.

My favorite element of the audiobook was listening to the excellent performance of Sandra Burr. She has a pleasant narrative voice. She creates many unique voices for the menagerie of characters. Not only does she have to do the dialog of mostly males, but many are not even human. Her voice characterizations helps the listener sort out all the different inhabitants of the novel.

The writing of this book had to present some difficulties for the authors. The characters all have a past and future in other books, so there are many restrictions that would have to be adhered to for the sake of consistency and continuity. As a new reader to the series I did not get a sense that the characters were being “shoe horned” into a contrived story. In the end, the story kept me engaged, and for fans of the Dragonlance books, I’m sure it’s a welcome addition.

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