Their last Dragonlance offering, The War of Souls trilogy, was a far cry from their popular Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends. This new series, The Lost Chronicles, will explore some of the storylines that were not part of the narrative of the original main sequence. Hence, it boded well for fans eager to see Weis and Hickman recapture their erstwhile excellence. After all, they were going back to their old stomping grounds, the world of Krynn, during the War of the Lance.
Honestly, I was pretty excited myself! For fans of the original series, this opportunity to go back in time and once again follow the adventures of the Companions is quite a kick. Characters such as Tanis, Raistlin Majere, Sturm Brightblade, Laurana, and Tasslehoff Burrfoot have all left an indelible mark in the fantasy genre.
The predominant problem with Dragons of the Dwarven Depths lies in the fact that there's nowhere near enough material to make a full-length novel. At best, this should have been a novella. Personally, I believe it would have worked best as a short story such as the ones Weis and Hickman came up with for the Tales trilogy.
There is so much "filler" in this book. . . I couldn't quite believe it. There are unnecessary portions filling us in on the back story. Given the fact that one needs to have read the original Dragonlance Chronicles, these parts of the narrative are totally obsolete. Add to that the inordinate amount of time spent journeying and I estimate that a good 50% of the novel could be excised without readers losing much of the story.
The second shortcoming of this book lies in the selection of the plotline that would serve as its backdrop. The search for the Hammer of Kharas was not part of the original saga, and there's a good reason why it was only alluded to in Dragons of Winter Night. It was only part of the Dragonlance roleplaying modules because the storyline wasn't that interesting to begin with. As I mentioned, not enough material. . .
Nevertheless, the narrative flows well enough, though the writing is a bit clunky at times. Although it's fun to be reunited with the characters we have grown to love, the fact that nothing really happens throughout the novel makes it hard to maintain our level of interest. I'm afraid that even Tass can't save this one.
My hopes for the forthcoming Dragons of the Highlord Skies (Canada, USA, Europe) are somewhat higher, what with the search of the dragon orb storyline and the presence of Lord Soth. I mean, come on! This one has to be good!
Hence, as fun as it is to go back in time and return to the events that marked the beginning of the War of the Lance, Dragons of the Dwarven Depths is a disappointing effort.
The final verdict: 6,75/10