“I love this book. I love Destina, who feels real both because and despite the fact she is the dumbest person in Krynn.”
DRAGONS OF DECEIT by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman is the best Dragonlance book since THE SECOND GENERATION. Unfortunately, that’s saying quite a bit since that includes DRAGONS OF A SUMMER FLAME, THE WAR OF SOULS, and THE DARK DISCIPLE books. I haven’t read THE LOST CHRONICLES yet, but I feel like it is hard to capture the magic of THE DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLES and DRAGONLANCE LEGENDS.
Anyway, Destina Rosethorn, my one complaint being her name sounds like it came from Harry Potter fanfic, is a young Solamnic Knight’s daughter during the War of the Lance. Her father doesn’t believe in the gods, but her mother does. After a series of unfortunate events result in Destina losing her father, castle, fiance, and self-respect, she proceeds to hatch upon a plan to use the Device of Time Journeying ot save her father from death at the High Clerist’s Tower.
Much of the book’s humor derives from the fact that Destina’s plan is utterly insane and incredibly ill-considered from beginning to end. It is also hypocritical as she spends a lot of the book talking about her disdain for magic and wizards while depending on a device that is unquestionably magic. The fact she chooses to involve the Graygem in this, which many book fans will know from Dragons of Summer Flame, is another layer of stupidity on a stupid sandwich.
This isn’t a complaint about the book because Destina’s plan is actually somewhat endearing. We’ve all lost someone and would love to see them return if we had the right magic to do so. Watching her blunder forward with not one, but two of the most powerful mystical artifacts in existence is even more humorous than Tasslehoff Burrfoot ever was. Especially when she starts mucking with the timeline like if Rosencratz and Guildenstern decided to tell Hamlet’s mother that her current husband murdered her late husband.
Speaking of Tasslehoff, much of the book is about how Destina can’t outwit him. Which is hard to really summarize the full meaning of that sentence. She.cannot.outwit.Tasslehoff. I love Destina and she’s a wonderfully fun girl but while she may have an INT score of 12 or 13, she absolutely must have either the lowest WIS score on Krynn or is consistently rolling 1’s on her Diplomacy or Sense Motive checks. Tasslehoff runs rings around her and that, honestly, is the best evidence I can think of that a character is a complete moron.
How bad is she at this? I mean, beyond trying to alter time and space with an object the gods can’t control to save her father versus, I dunno, calling her father’s ghost up to contest his will or finding Elistan or Crysania to resurrect him? Asking Astinus to confirm that her father left her keep to her rather than his evil nephew? Straight up murdering her evil cousin and his wife? I mean, still incredibly extreme measures but a little less insane is all I’m saying. Well, Tasslehoff and she end up married. No, I’m not going to explain the circumstances.
Dragons of Summer Flame ended the Dragonlance epic in many fan’s eyes with the assumption being that Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman were attempting to wrap it all up before WOTC took it away from. Mostly because they’ve been trying to undo the changes to the setting for the past couple of decades. Many fans are assuming this trilogy is going to be yet another attempt and be a bit like DC’s FLASHPOINT PARADOX.
Is Dragons of Deceit going to do that? Honestly, I don’t know, but it’s heavily implied that the Second Cataclysm is something everyone wants to avert. The fact Dalamar and the other High Sorcery mages see it coming as well as desire to stop it is an argument by itself. They certainly didn’t know about it in the original timeline. It’s also described not in “oh, humanity finally can make its own way!” terms but, “Oh my god, a world without gods and magic after we just got them back? That is monstrous!” Which, honestly, I think is how they would react so no complaints from me there.
I love this book. I love Destina, who feels real both because and despite the fact she is the dumbest person in Krynn. We have way too many incredibly clever protagonists. Dungeons and Dragons was founded on people who see the Necronomicon and forget the magic words to use it safely. There’s even a nod to this when the Hand of Vecna is sold to some gullible Black Robe mages with instructions to chop parts off themselves. Yet, I felt her pain and her very real-life problems that were relatable to all of us that struggled after the death of a loved one. Plus, some old favorites may or may not be back from the dead.