I finished up Dragons of Winter Night, even though I said I wouldn’t be reading any more right away. The weird thing is I really didn’t spend a lot of time reading it–I seemed to spend more time reading Prospero Lost. But somehow, I managed to finish it. I can’t explain it. Some books just read easily.
In many ways, Dragons of Winter Night is a train wreck, but it really works well. The group – Tanis, Sturm, Caramon, Raistlin, Tasslehoff, Fint, Goldmoon, Laurana, Riverwind, Tika – splits up early in the story. One group proceeds to have adventure after adventure, while the other group wanders the continent. In fact, the first group — consisting of Laurana, her brother Gilthanis, Sturm, Flint, Tasslehoff and some knights — has so many adventures that one of them e is simply given as backstory.
The star of the previous book–Goldmoon–is barely given a prominent scene. Laurana is the new star, and she makes a pretty good star. Tasslehoff continues to be front and center, the unexpected hero who thinks everyone else is more important than he is. Fizban apparently comes back from the dead and confounds and confuses everyone. Tanis is on a back burner, haunted by his sundered heart (wasn’t that the name of a romance novel?).
We finally get to meet Kitiara in this novel, and the authors bend over backwards trying to hide her sex before she makes her surprise appearance. In my opinion, they cheated. When she spoke, they never hinted whether the voice was male or female. Even when her dragon thinks of her (yes, she has a dragon), he refrains from using pronouns while doing so. It was rather awkward. But, during my first reading I was duly surprised.
The ending is tragic and suitably dark for a middle novel. However, it’s my least favorite of the novels. I already started Dragons of Spring Dawning, but really, I know the story so well that I could write a synopsis of it right now. As far as classic rereads go, it’s pretty good, but I bet this is the last time I read them. For another ten years, anyway.
Here is a Dragonlance Wiki.