"TALES OF THE DRAGON'S BARD Vol. 1: Eventide," by Tracy and Laura Hickman, Shadow Mountain, $23.99, 306 pages (f) (ages 12 and up)
As a fan of the "Dragonlance" saga in junior high school, I carried the red, blue and green paperback books by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman around in my backpack every day. Every spare minute, I had my nose in those books. I swore I could feel dragon's breath on my face as I turned some of those pages.
It's been a long time since those days. So when I found out Tracy Hickman was releasing a new book, it was with excitement and anticipation that I read "Tales of the Dragon's Bard Vol. 1: Eventide," which will be released this month.
It was previously available as an ebook to paying subscribers and sent out chapter by chapter. I've read quite a few of Hickman's novels over the years, including some written by him and his wife, Laura, so I invested my time in it. The premise of the book looked promising: a bard stumbles into a dragon's lair and is detected. To save his life, he agrees to tell the dragon stories from throughout the realm to entertain and appease his hunger.
The stories from the book involve the town and people of Eventide. The Hickmans include the intimate details about their lives, struggles, victories and motives. Intriguing elements include a love story, magic, secret societies, a haunted house, wishes, a town curse, a trusted priest, sword fighting, a dark horseman, several misunderstandings, lots of interesting hats, fairies, gnomes, dwarves, centaurs and, of course, dragons.
The bard is woven in and out of the narrative, but the story is not told from his perspective. Many chapters don't even include him as a character. The story is about the people of Eventide. The book is told in third person, except for the first chapter, which is told in first person by, you guessed it, the dragon's bard.
The tone of the book is somewhat playful, which was surprising in a good way. Simply put, the book is a fun read. It's humorous, imaginative and filled with adventure. It is as a collection of stories that intertwine to build a cohesive plot that culminates in a solid ending. Is "Eventide" a page-turning masterpiece like "Dragonlance"? No. Will the book entertain Hickman fans looking for a fun-filled fantasy adventure book of stories? Yes.
For those worried about explicit violence, language or mature themes in this book, you're safe. The Hickmans do a good job of staying on the family friendly side rather than adults-only fantasy. If you like clean fantasy adventure books, this is a treat.
For fans of this book, please note that two additional books may be published: "Blackshore" and "Moredale." It appears that the additional titles are named after other towns found in the realm. There are surely many more adventures and stories yet to fall from the lips of the dragon's bard.
More information is available at dragonsbard.com.
"Tales of the Dragon's Bard, Vol. 1: Eventide"
This book trailer for "Tales of the Dragon's Bard, Vol. 1: Eventide" by Tracy and Laura Hickman shares just a little of the adventure of the new series.
Ryan Morgenegg is a multimedia specialist for the Deseret News.