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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

cover of Dragons of Winter Night

This sequel to The Dragons of Autumn Twilight finds the same group of companions continuing their adventures, trying to defend their land from the encroaching armies of the DragonLords and the Dark Queen. This time, the friends end up getting split into two groups, both looking for two of the remaining "dragon orbs". I found myself enjoying this book more than the first-- maybe because I was able to just enjoy the adventure and not pay too much attention to the language and phrasing (since the authors apparently didn't).

It's hard to have much drama when the characters nearly die all the time-- and you know they are pretty much all going to survive, because of the kind of book it is. This time there was a bit more drama, since at least some of the characters thought that their friends were dead (even though, as the reader, you know better). It also bothers me a bit that each female character is seemingly more gorgeous than the last. How can all of them be the most beautiful woman the other characters have ever seen? It doesn't make sense. Another annoyance-- the characters didn't seem to behave consistently. For instance, the careful and cautious leader Tanis, suddenly unable to control his passion? Or the light-hearted kender Tasslehoff, who was previously described as unafraid of death, now piteous and fearful? If it was written carefully, showing a fearful kender could be used to demonstrate how dire their situation really is, but it was not handled that way.

There were some fun twists to this story, though-- some of which I was able to guess ahead of time (for instance, a silver dragon masquerading as a "wilder elf" and falling in love with one of the companions-- given away to the reader by her inability to see in the dark). The living nightmare caused by an elflord's failure to control one of the dragon orbs was also an interesting episode.

One final nitpick: the title isn't really justified here. While this book introduces three new kinds of dragons, it is unclear which is the wintry, nocturnal breed. In addition to the red and black dragons we met before (I suppose the reds are supposed to be autumnal), in this book there are blues (which seem to breathe lightning) and whites (the most wintry of the dragons, they breathe ice and fog instead of fire). Also, we meet one silver dragon-- the kind that helped save the world from evil dragons in the past. I think titles should matter, and in this series they seem to have simply chosen seasons and times of day to mark their books, and they march forward with them, without really justifying the title in the book itself.

Title:Dragons of Winter Night
Author:Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
Date published:1985
Series:Dragonlance Chronicles
Number of pages:399
Notes:One of G's books.


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