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Reviews of 'The Heir of Kayolin'

The Heir of Kayolin

by Douglas Niles
Dwarf Home, Volume 2

Reviews of 'The Heir of Kayolin'

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Reviewer: BeezerMN

Rating: Stars

The Heir of Kayolin by Douglas Niles is the second book in the Dwarf Home trilogy set in the DragonLance universe. The first book is titled The Secret of Pax Tharkas and the third book is titled The Fate of Thorbardin which is set to be released in September, 2009. This trilogy focuses exclusively on the dwarven nation and the political climate within that nation. Fans of dwarfs, particularly Krynn dwarves, have been waiting for a trilogy like this for a long time now. The first novel in this trilogy, in my opinion was average – some things I liked and some things I could have done without. Here are my thoughts on this particular volume.

The plot of this novel is actually a couple larger plots combined, but both leading to a larger climax. The first section of the book focuses on a civil war that is occurring in Thorbardin. Who is leading the coup; I will leave the reader to discover. I will say the person who is the mastermind behind it, is ruthless and has little concern for those around him. This section of the book actually surprised me, not for what was occurring but how it was written. It was much darker and grittier than the vast majority of the DragonLance novels out there. The second section of the novel focuses on another semi-coup, but this one is occurring in Kayolin which is another dwarven settlement. This one is more of a political, backstabbing, type of story arc. The third section of the novel is basically bringing together the above two story lines into one interlinked thread. Personally, I really enjoyed the first section of the book, if the entire book had been like that (and followed that story arc) this would have easily been a five star novel. The second section of the book seemed really slow and longer then necessary. The third section was slightly redeeming, but nowhere near the level of the first section. As a whole, the plot was inconsistent and felt like a roller coaster with great ups and down. A decent overall story, but a little more consistency would have been nice.

The majority of the characters in this novel appeared, in some part, in the first novel. Brandon, Gretchan, Gus, and William to name a few. One thing I like about continuing series, is the author does not need to focus on explaining everything to the reader. Instead they can focus on plot elements and character development. That holds true with this novel. The opening pages immediately thrust the reader into the story. For the most part I enjoyed the characters and thought they were well written. However, a couple things stuck out to me. In the beginning of what I call the second section the dialogue between Brandon and Gretchen is so contrived it literally made me groan several times. It did not feel natural in anyway. It was really frustrating to me, partly because these are two characters from the first book that I had trouble connecting with, so I felt like this made it even more difficult. One of my criticisms about the first book revolved around the character Gus. In that halfway through the book he long his 'gully dwarf-ness'. That is not the case in this book. I enjoyed him throughout the book and thought he added a lot to the overall story. One character that I really enjoyed was William. I don't think this character could have been written any better. There is significant character development for most of the main characters, as well as some setup for the third book. Aside from the dialogue between Gretchan and Brandon I thought the characters were well done.

A couple criticisms about this novel:

1 – As I said above, that section of dialogue between Gretchan and Brandon was so disappointing. Partly because of the build-up from the first section, and partly because I was trying hard to like these two characters and this dialogue did not help at all.

2 – Descriptions. There were some very good descriptions in this book, and then other times when I felt like I needed a little more it simply was not there. Maybe I am being too nitpicky here, but when the descriptions ebb and flow like this in one novel it becomes an issue.

Some things I liked about this novel.

1 – The first things that comes to mind is the first section of the book. I cannot begin to say how much I enjoyed it. The entire one hundred forty eight pages was fantastic. It flowed smoothly, was action packed, had good drama, and made sense. I only wish the entire novel was like that.

2 – The character of William. I do not want to spoil anything about his character, but I will say that his character was probably the best written character in this novel. Great dialogue, good motivations, and more importantly everything about him was explained really well.

Overall, I felt this novel had its ups and downs but definitely more ups than downs. As I mentioned above there were a few things that I would have liked to have seen changed, but there were so many other things that I enjoyed. This novel certainly sets up a, what should be, fantastic climax to the trilogy. I can only imagine what will happen, and how it will happen. DragonLance fans definitely need to check this book out, along with the first in the series, as it is a long awaited story of the dwarves. General fans of the fantasy genre may also enjoy this one as it seems to have something for everyone. I for one am eagerly awaiting the conclusion to this story and what it holds for the overall DL universe.

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