The final book in this trilogy, Test of the Twins, came and went pretty swiftly. I actually managed to finish it before I got around to writing a blog post for it. I usually try to do one at the half-way mark, then another at the end. Instead you’re going to get it all at once!
As always, if you’re new to the series, here is your obligatory warning to turn back now for this is the Point of No Return — and potential spoilers!
Test drops us for a brief layover two years in the future, after Raistlin has supposedly succeeded in overthrowing the Krynnish pantheon. We find the world a desolate ruin where not a single thing is left alive. Nevertheless, Caramon and Tasslehoff both cling to hope that the Tower of High Sorcery at Wayreth still stands, so it is there they go in search of answers.
It’s there they find what’s left of Par-Salian an the eternal visage of Astinus the Chronicler and learn the fate of the world after Raistlin’s return. Needless to say, it’s not pretty. There’s a point and a purpose to all this dreariness, though, that will reveal itself toward the end of the book.
In the meantime, we’re treated to a ride-along with good ol’ Tanis Half-Elven who finds himself the unwitting hero and leader — again — in a war he wants nothing to do with. I really kind of feel bad for Tanis; just when the guy seems to always get his life together something comes along to kick him in the teeth. Despite how reluctant he always is to step into the role of leader, people seem to cling to him like chicks to their mother hen. I can’t imagine what kind of stress or what kind of frustrations he must have to constantly have the Fate of the World resting on his shoulders. I think I’d end up taking a vacation somewhere far away and extremely isolated if I managed to get out of all this alive. Let someone else deal with it for a while.
Nevertheless, for now, he has to help the Knights of Solamnia and the city of Palanthas cope with impending assault by the Blue Dragon Highlord, Kitiara. You probably remember her from Dragons of Winter Twilight. She hasn’t changed much since then; still looking to take over the world, she’s just trying to find the right set of coat-tails to ride to get there. At first it was Ariakas, now it was Raistlin.
Kitiara is a classic opportunist, but I think — on her own — she wouldn’t stand much of a chance. Every move she’s ever made to advance her own power base has been on the backs of those who came before her. I doubt she’d have moved from Sanction were it not for Raistlin.
It’s also in this book that we see Raistlin be the consummate jerkface when he uses, then abandons Crysania once she stops being of use to him. It’s nothing that should come as a big shock, though, given the precedent that’s been set between the two of them since the first book. However, Crysania and her ambitions are still muddy, combined with exactly what it was about her choices that made her any better or different from the Kingpriest. I still have trouble with that.
Caramon and Tasslehoff return, with Tasslehoff, again, serving as the convenient Plot Device that helps move things forward, as well as acting as the catalyst for certain events. If I think back on the collected stories between Chronicles and Legends, they likely would have all died without Tasslehoff, in some form or fashion. Despite how much they want to grumble (or other readers grumble about him), Tasslehoff is literally the glue that keeps the story together and moves the plot forward. I suppose that’s why I love Tasslehoff almost as much as I do Raistlin.
Raistlin decides against becoming a god at the last second and sacrifices himself to save his friends — and the rest of the world from the Dark Queen. Once that’s done, everyone filters back to their varied lives in far off places, and they all live happily ever after. Except Raistlin, I guess.
We find out what happens to him in Dragons of Summer Flame, I think, which I’m already several chapters into at the time of this writing. So, stay tuned!
(I swear, I’ll start reading something other that Dragonlance soon…!)