01/12/2006. Contributed by Phil Jones
pub: TOR/Forge. 352 page hardback. Price: $24.95 (US), $33.95 (CAN). ISBN: 0-765-30470-8.
check out website: www.tor.com
This is the third and final book in the latest series 'Dragonvarld Trilogy' by Margaret Weis. The second book, 'Dragon's Son', was a bit lacklustre and didn't have the same energy of the first book, 'Mistress Of The Dragons'.
So we join the twin sons of Melisande Ven and Marcus in the hidden city of Dragonkeep. The two boys haven't met in years and are thrown together under testing circumstances. Ven has more physical attributes of a dragon but both twins have dragonblood running through their veins allowing them both to communicate with each other and other dragons in the form of colours in their minds. Ven helps Marcus and Evelina to escape Dragonkeep by using magic to show the hidden gateway out of the city.
Dragonkeep was formed by rogue dragons Grald, Maristara and Anora. They went against the non-interference law of the dragon's parliament and secretly carried out human-dragon breeding experiments. This was done to form a hybrid human army with dragon powers to control the ever developing human race, which now was starting to pose a major threat to dragonkind. They were producing canons which could potentially shoot down and kill a dragon. The inhabitants of Dragonkeep, kept in the dark about the true practices going on, faithfully followed the dragons who took on human form by stealing the heart of a victim and entombing the body still alive to live in torment until the heart was released and they could die.
Ven discovers he is not the only one with physical dragon features. He is shown his brothers and sisters who have various dragon features and attributes as well as human ones. He is repulsed by them as he is by his own form. All are fathered by Grald and the poor human women who are chosen to be pregnant with his children all die in childbirth.
Marcus returns home along with Evelina, who says she is with Marcus' child. Evelina contrives to manipulate the situation so that Marcus' royal parents at least give her wealth and position or even to be Marcus' bride and wife. Her nose is put out of joint when she is presented with another suitor for Marcus, one of better standing than herself and plans to displace her anyway she can.
Draconas, a dragon chosen to walk with humans by the Dragon Parliament tries to ascertain what Grald, Maristara and Anora are planning. He discovers along with Ven and Grald's children that the dragon army is training in Dragonkeep. Ven and Marcus have to settle their differences to overcome a major threat although they are miles apart. Marcus, though, has to convince his farther to the on coming threat of the dragon army that will soon be approaching.
I really enjoyed this book. Weis comes back to what she does best: characters. Draconas plays a major role allowing us to see the plot unfold through his eyes. We also see Ven coming to terms with himself and also the differences he has with brother.
The only character which does not please is Evelina. I appreciate the reader is not meant to like her but...well she's just damn annoying at times and takes up to many pages for my liking. Her thoughts presented on the page of her manipulations and scheming is not really necessary to further her character or the story as a whole. Also, the plot resolution that revolves around her actions is groan worthy. At least Weis deals with her character in a suitable way at the end of the book.
The battle scenes are fast-paced and well-written. Marcus and Ven's characters are a lot stronger and developed a lot more throughout this book. Draconas is back on form and has a major part to play as the ambassador for the dragons. The tension is built well with the disintegration of the Dragons Parliament. Ven's body under threat of being taken over and the threat of the dragon army. Marcus' actions to convince his farther and his army of the true threat are played out in spectacular form.
This book is far more interesting plot-wise and allows Weis full use of characters and events to slot in to place in a logical manor. If there are any major problems, apart from Evelina, it's that sometimes the book feels too short and a little rushed. When Weis is on form, the story, scenes and characters shine but some passages could have been longer to allow them to breath. A little more and this would be better balanced and rounded. That's not to say it's not a good book. As a conclusion, it's more than enjoyable. It's also left in a manner that if Weis wishes she can return to this dragon world again.
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