With the war between the draconic armies and the rest of Krynn heating up, Dragons of Winter Night begins with the companions having recovered a relic for the Dwarves in order to assure their aid in the battles to come. Through the course of events our heroes are separated and set along their own individual paths, some to never meet again.
I have to be honest, I felt like Dragons of Winter Night was incredibly disjointed. As I sit here to write this review, I struggle to remember exactly what happened and why it was important to the overall story. A lot of miniature adventures took place, but they fail to come together coherently. I think that part of this is due to the fact that there are so many characters, and Dragons of Winter Night finds them scattered across the continent. The overarching theme is that the Dragon Orbs must be used to control the dragons in order to end the war, but even this is undermined when it is shown that Kitiara – who is apparently one of the Dragon Highlords – is able to exert her will so that her dragon steed can resist the pull of the Orb. I can’t help but feel, ruminating upon Dragons of Winter Night, that a lot of things happened… but a lot of those things weren’t very important.
The complexity of the characters remained throughout this book, for which I was thankful. Raistlin is such an interesting individual, and probably my favorite character in the series thus far. His desire for power is palpable, and I am intrigued by his Trials and their consequences. Tanis once again struggles with the two disparate halves of his identity, both inwardly and outwardly. I really came to love Laurana with this book. Her character development has been great, and it was really cool to see her transition from doe-eyed girl to battle-hardened badass. Being a huge Dungeons & Dragons nerd, I am impressed with the way Elves are depicted: elitist, racist, and arrogant. It is often easy to forget that the Elves of the Dungeons & Dragons universes are traditionally described in this way.
I cannot talk about the characters without mentioning Sturm. I will admit, I didn’t feel as much as I should have about this particular character’s demise. I mostly felt bad for Laurana, and Tas, and Flint. I will say that the sequence where Sturm fought Kitiara, and the way it was depicted, was absolutely beautiful and heart-rending. But I didn’t care about Sturm, I didn’t care about his past, and I surely didn’t care about the Knights of Solamnia. Sturm constantly annoyed me with his moralizing, and the portions of the book dedicated to the political strife of the Knights of Solamnia honestly bored me to death.
Also, I have to mention one other thing that really confused me. Early in the book, the word ‘hauberk’ is used several times in regards to weaponry. I’m not sure if the authors were confused, but a hauberk is definitely a piece of armor.
Overall, despite its somewhat disjointed plot and slow moments, Dragons of Winter Night is a decent follow-up to Dragons of Autumn Twilight.