I have to start with the caveat that these are two of my all time favorite authors who have spawned some of my all time favorite characters and books, obviously. So with that out of the way, let’s begin.
Rage of the Dragon is the third installment in Weis and Hickman’s newest series, Dragonships. As always, with these two masters of the craft, there is world-building galore and as you can imagine, Dragonships! I was torn on the world-building, because I love strange and wondrous places, but there was something off. I LOVE the Viking/Norse/Scandinavian culture and mythology, and I love new worlds much like that of the world of the Vindrasi people. However, I felt such a deviation from Norse mythology that the presence of “it” was a thin veil of a culture. Point and case- the Fae. I know fae and fairies are suddenly all the craze (and have been forever, or it feels that way), but fae do not fit in with Norse mythology. I’m wrong? Well, yes. The Norse, like most cultures, had their “fairy” spirits, but believe me they were not known as fae. The ‘fae’ conjure up images of sprites, fairies, leprechauns, and Sookie Stackhouse (much to my chagrin). No, Norsemen believed in Álfar (elves) and Dvergar (dwarfs) and Jötnar (giants, both frost/fire). If we’re going to go Norse, might as well use the proper names, right? Jötnar instead of ogres.
The plot. Being the ultimate lover and fanatic of Dragonlance (all said novels) and especially the Chronicles Series, I’ve seen the plot before. We all have. It’s what happens when you’ve been writing for so long or for a year. There are only so many plots! The overall feel is the same as the Chronicles—epic battle between world, races, gods, etc. But Hickman and Weis do a fabulous job of twisting it into something different, maybe not so new that no one would notice, but just enough for us to enjoy it! If you’re not familiar with the Dragonlance Chronicles you may think Rage of the Dragon, or Dragonships as a whole, are alike. Well, they are and they’re not. Let me explain.
In the Viking-esque Vidrasi world the gods are involved in the world—they interact with mortals (not when they stop answering prayers) in what seems like everyday life and everyday mortal dealings. In both series the gods fall silent or are ignored by humanity (as in Dragonlance). I think this aspect comes from Hickman’s devout religious beliefs, and it carries with it strong moral statements. What makes us different? What makes us mortal? What is our humanity?
Both series have dragons, and amusingly enough play into the titles of both series and every book. However, I LOVE how Weis and Hickman portray their dragons. They exist metaphysically, in both body and spirit. And let’s just be real. Dragons rule!
Those two points are the major similarities, and if you want to get uptight…I could see the plot, but like I said, I know better.
There are some MAJOR differences (to me since I’m familiar with both series). There is much more violence, blood and killing in Dragonships and in Rage of the Dragon (rather than the Dragonlance Chronicles). It fits well, because of the overall Viking feel. I’m not going to talk about the magic , because magic’s magic and only so many systems can exist.
HOWEVER, a major absence in Rage of the Dragon was HUMOR! We have a very structured, dark tone whereas in Dragonlance, we had Fizban. Honestly, at very few points I missed that humor as it’s a way to connect with our characters, but most of the time I was glad it wasn’t there.
I like dark and gritty with heroes that aren’t heroes. Weis and Hickman deliver that in Rage of the Dragon quite nicely. But the only character I really felt that with is Skylan. We see him grew a lot, and sometimes not at all. He’s stupid at times, brash at others, and overall flawed. I like that. He’s real, not some archetypal hero. Also, I don’t like Skylan—he’s not someone I’d be friends with, but he’s entertaining.
If this review seems scatter-brained and all over the place that’s because it is. I don’t want to give away plot, or too many characters or scenes, but rather a reason (if you’re familiar with W&H or Dragonlance) that you should pick up the Dragonships Series. You, as a reader, need to enter the Vidrasi world not knowing what to expect. How can these two authors pop out another high fantasy trilogy, again with dragons? And they’ll show you that they still got it!
- Book 3 of the Dragonships of Vindras Series
- ISBN-13: 9780765319753
- Edition description: First Edition
- Edition number: 1
- Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
- Publication date: 4/24/2012
- Pages: 368
(Book info. taken from BN.com)