I have looked into the night sky and seen the dark moon, and I have thrilled to know that my eyes were among the few eyes that could see it. I have heard the voice of the god Nuitari and reveled in his blessed touch as I cast my spells. Long ago, the magic breathed and danced and sparkled in my blood. Now it crawls out of my fingers like maggots swarming from a carrion carcass. I would rather be that corpse than be a slave to one who so fears the living that she can trust only servants who are dead.
-Dalamar the Dark
Hang on to your hats…it’s gonna be a helluva ride…!
Dragons of a Vanished Moon takes up about two minutes before the end of Dragons of a Lost Star; however, it begins from a different perspective, as Palin and Dalamar witness the final confrontation between Goldmoon and Mina…and share equal horror as they discover the truth behind the One God. (Since they didn’t spoil it on the inside cover of the book, I’m not gonna spoil it here…even though if you’re reading this review right now, you probably already know!)
Things start coming together early on. On one front, the blind silver dragon Mirror (formerly of the Citadel of Light) teams up with the blue dragon Razor (formerly dragon-mount to Marshal Medan) to find out the full story behind Mina and her One God. The Knight Gerard infiltrates Mina’s army to learn her plans, while the Knight Odila is out to find more about the One God (amazing how many people want to know that, eh?). Gilthas is busy leading the Qualinesti across the plains towards Silvanesti, not realizing that they’re dealing with their own problems at the moment…including a leader who’s gone missing (although certain elves-and most readers, undoubtedly-know where he’s gone).
And then there’s Tasslehoff, once again playing with toys that he probably shouldn’t, whose activities gather the attention of…well, let’s just say they’ve been looking around for a long time now.
I was glad to see that Galdar the minotaur, who didn’t get all that much time in Dragons of a Lost Star, gets a great deal more time in this one. A certain former archmage also makes a couple of appearances, where least expected. And thanks to Tas, we get a chance to see again other important characters from Krynn’s past, including (in my opinion), the most feared being to ever walk the face of Krynn. There’s also a wonderful cameo appearance by a group from the other Dragonlance books that Weis has been associated with.
The big question, though, is: does Dragons of a Vanished Moon deliver on the great promise of the previous two books? There’s been enough mystery building up, and a lot of questions answered, but a few still outstanding…does this book take care of them? Well, I’d have to say it certainly does! The big outstanding questions all get answered, which I felt was important. Equally importantly, we get a mix of moral dilemma (if the One God is evil, but still is a god, what to do?) and action (such as the awaited battle between the dragon overlord Malys and Mina). We get further insight on the relationship between Mina and her god, which shows that the One God is most certainly not a kindly one. And even in all of this, we still get some humor along the way. And when all is said and done, there are a couple of significant sacrifices that will change Krynn forever (what, again?). And just in case everything goes by a little too fast, there’s a nice in-character afterward that explains in a nutshell why
It’s safe to say the conclusion of the War of Souls sets up a new status quo for the Dragonlance saga, as Weis and Hickman have shaken everything up just as badly as they had with Dragons of Summer Flame. They also close the book on just about all the original Dragonlance characters in one way or another, leaving the slate clean for any characters they wish to develop for the future (or characters from other authors; I’m not sure what’s next for the Dragonlance franchise). Dragons of a Vanished Moon does not disappoint in reader satisfaction and I highly recommend this book (and indeed, the War of Souls as a whole) to any fan of “high” fantasy.