This different approach to magic didn't really
work for me. While the authors showed their usual attention to detail in
settings and mythology, the world/worlds didn't really interest me that
much. The story focused mostly on the human aspect, in which the main
character could get magical items from the other worlds through his
dreams, but it wasn't all that engaging. The Faery world seemed more
mystical to me, while the goblin one was bizarre.
This is a
world in turmoil, though they have enjoyed something like a long peace
since the dragons took over, four hundred years ago. As long as they
keep sending their sacrifices, people who are mentally crazy anyway, the
humans are left to live their lives as they see fit. Unfortunately,
Galen is having nightmares, which deep down he knows means he is
actually part of the Elect. But he manages to avoid the culling every
year. This year, however, after his marriage to Berkita, he gets caught,
and is brought to the Election, where the monks disable him with their
So begins Galen's long journey to the lands of
Vasska, the dragonking in his region. It is not a very interesting
journey, though it is full of beautiful descriptions of the lands they
passed, the water they crossed, and the history of the Pir religion.
Galen, however, has been in contact with the other two worlds that
share this same space, but apparently on a different plane of existence.
The lands look the same, but the peoples that populate them are
completely different, though they have the same tendencies.
while Galen is transported to the citadel of Vasska, Dwynwyn the faery
is searching for a solution to her problems, an invasion by one of the
other faery lords into the realm of her monarch. She sees Galen in her
dreams, but does not understand what kind of creature he is, nor what he
is doing. But in investigating, she helps him, first to escape on the
road to the Pir, and then to protect him from the dragonstaffs once he
is recaptured. His dreams provide him with swords for him and his new
followers, one of which talks to him and gives him advice, and is
probably the funniest character in the book.
Galen, in turn,
gives Dwynwyn a gift of thirty-six stones, pearls in her realm, which
she uses for protection of the princess of her realm, Aislynn. On the
run, they are captured by an unknown race called the Kyree, and while
her guard is tortured by having their wings ripped off, she surrounds
herself in an impenetrable sphere, provided by Galen through her dreams.
Unfortunately, air couldn't get inside the sphere, either, and she
passed out. But Aislynn threw the pearls into the sea, and dead faery
warriors rose up to protect her, changing the balance of power in the
Most of the story focuses on Galen, who learns
sword wielding, and gets coaching about the dream-world from Maddoc and
Rhea -Maddoc being outwardly crazy, but seeming to understand the dream
world a little better than Galen. Rhea, his wife, is not crazy, but is
determined to end the rule of the Pir using this magic her husband and
daughter (left behind at the Election) have been given. Galen surrounds
him self with thirty-six loyal warriors (including himself).
third world is somewhat unconnected, at least for the moment. Mimic is
an engineer goblin, under the oppressive rule of his boss. But his dreams
tell him where and how he can activate long-dead machines in
long-toppled gigantic titans. Four hundred years earlier, the titans
walked the lands, but now they are dead hulks littering the landscape.
All goblins love any gears and cogs, or any other piece of the ancient
titans that they can find (they remind me of he gnomes in the
Dragonlance novels). Their world is one much in chaos, as their
wills can change on a whim, and so can their leadership (kind of like
kender in the aforementioned Dragonlance novels). They are
written as comic relief in some sense, but in another, they are a key to
the puzzle. Mimic discovers a piece of machinery (a clock), that starts
to tick when he looks as the symbols in a book, which would have
otherwise been burned to keep his boss warm. He allows his boss to gain
in popularity, knowing that only Mimic could operate the clock. Then, at
the last moment, as Lirry is presenting the clock to the Dong (Emperor),
he takes all the credit, gaining revenge at the same time.
is driven to create a set of thirty-six mechanical mini-titans which he races over
to the Dong's palace. At the same time, Aislynn throws her thirty-six pearls into
the sea... And at the same time, Galen is taken to the Election fields,
where he and Vasska's army of crazy warriors are supposed to fight
against the armies of the other dragonlords. Galen uses his magic to
protect his thirty-six warriors,
breaking the truce of the dragons and sending them into real war. The kyree join Dwynwyn against the faery lord marching on her empress's
kingdom. And the toy titans kill the Dong, allowing Mimic to ascend to
the highest rank in the land (but of course there are other emperors out
One of the Pir Inquasistas, Tragget, could also enter
the dream world, an ability of which he was most ashamed, until the
dragon-speaker, his mother, revealed that she wanted to use his ability
to overcome the rule of the dragons and set humanity free. But it didn't
work that way, as she is killed, and Tragget is left on the battlefield.
I don't know if he survived.
Galen's friends are both killed, a
vision he had that he could not change (which surprised me), and he
leads some of Vasska's army to safety away from the battle.
found the narrative to be a little distant from the reader; maybe
intertwining three worlds was a little too much for this format. While
the faery and goblin realms were interesting, the story focused almost
exclusively on the human one, and in that was a lot of waiting, or a lot
of Galen whining about how he didn't want to lead an army, and so on.
The dream world was vague to the characters, and even more so to the
reader. While the magic is described as metaphor in the dream world,
which becomes reality in the real world, it is unclear how the
characters will begin to command it.
The authors manage to give
a lot of history and geography in the narrative without it being too
intrusive, but I think it was given maybe at the expense of the story?
It was interesting, but didn't tell us much, because the characters
didn't know that much about it. I only hope that Galen can figure some
of it out for the next book.