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Monday, July 26, 2021

Dragonlance Review: Dragons of Winter Night

As I stated in my thoughts for Dragons of Autumn Twilight (found here), I will be doing book reviews from other settings from time to time. I really enjoyed the first book and wanted to quickly finish the trilogy of the Dragonlance Chronicles, so here we are, book 2: Dragons of Winter Night.

We have a poem speaking of the nine Heroes of the Lance, a nice homage to the nine walkers of the Fellowship of the Ring. Though admittedly some noticeable characters are left out of this nine, for example Laurana.

“Nine they were, under the three moons,

Under the autumn twilight:

As the world declined, they arose

Into the heart of the story.”

The story then starts with the refugees of Pax Tharkas giving the Hammer of Kharas to the dwarves of Thorbardin. It was a little odd since a tale seems to have transpired in between the books, and I believe this story is told in Dragons of the Dwarven Depths, book one of The Lost Chronicles. The party is to set out to the city of Tarsis, a city cut off from the peoples of Solace and Haven since the Cataclysm, but with the access to the dwarven kingdom, now supposedly possible, assuming it survived the Cataclysm. 

A few chapters in, the heroes are separated, similar in a fashion  to the Breaking of the Fellowship. This is slightly spoiled by the back of the book, but it does happen relatively quick, and I will not spoil how.

This novel is a little darker, a little lower. Not everything goes swimmingly, is is fittingly typical for a middle book, when the heroes reach their low point and bad things happen. There are mirky woods to traverse, dragon fire to avoid, and ancient artifacts and secrets to be uncovered. In particular I enjoyed the nuanced nature of the dragon orbs.

The second part of the book continues the story with the second half of the party that’s been sundered. They seem to have had their own adventure in the last month, and in the first chapter we get the details of their dealings in the icy lands. It’s crazy how much more of the continent of Ansalon we get to see in this book. I also really love the homages to Tolkien. Overall part two was fun, with a solid conclusion.

Part three hops around more from character to character as in common in modern epic fantasy. We get some great time with some favorite characters (mine particularly being a doddering  wizard. We have a council reminiscent of Elrond’s, though more exciting and frustrating. People die, things are revealed. I’m not really sure where book three is going to continue and where it will go.

I will say that the foreshadowing is a bit too bold, since every time it was given I was able to guess what would happen, making some surprises not so surprising. A couple times no foreshadowing was given, particularly there was one big surprise near the end that was quite a shock. 

Overall the story is Good, maintains entertainment while being a little slower than the first book, with less action, more world building, and fewer pages. I do feel like I’m in the minority liking the first book more. We skip around a lot, and there was so much story to tell, I think the authors were just trying to get the book down to D&D novel size rather than typical epic fantasy size. Don’t get me wrong, this book does have its moments and I did enjoy it. Onward to Dragons of Spring Dawning.


You can track my current progress here.

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