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Dragon's Winter is a High Fantasy by Elizabeth A. Lynn. The story revolves around twin brothers, Karadur and Tanjiro, son of the dragon lord of Ippa. Karadur is a dragon-child like his father, but Tanjiro is as human as their mother...and jealous of his elder brother. When Karadur grows to manhood, Tanjiro leaves their home to study magic. But the only power he desires is his brothers', and so Tanjiro betrays his brother, binding his power and preventing him from taking his dragon form.
Meanwhile, a man called Wolf arrives in the nearby village of Sleeth. The winters of Ippa grow longer and colder than any can remember. And rumors from the north speak of a strange Black Citadel risen from the earth, and with it terrible creatures from the oldest of legends.
The book was garnered general praise when it debuted, including from such luminaries as George R.R. Martin. A sequel was released, Dragon's Treasure, but was regarded poorly in terms of its predecessor.
This novel provides examples of:
- Anyone Can Die - Wolf was presented as a main character until roughly halfway through the book when he's unceremoniously killed. No wonder George R.R. Martin liked this book.
- Battle Couple - Karadur and Azil, sort of. Karadur, as liege of the land, is also the commander of his armies. Azil rides to battle with him, but after suffering torture and the crippling of his hands, there's not much he can do in the fray. Still, he practices riding and refuses to be left behind as the army rides off to war.
- Beta Couple - Wolf and Thea during the first part of the book. Hawk and Huw later on.
- Bi the Way - Karadur
- Cain and Abel - Karadur and Tanjiro
- Celibate Hero - Karadur, once Azil betrays him. See Heartbroken Badass.
- Disabled Means Helpless - Averted. Azil has his hands burned and broken to the point he can't straighten his fingers. Though he'll never play a harp again, he still manages to ride in the cavalry and takes great pains to still prove useful.
- A Father to His Men - Karadur is viewed as this by his soldiers. He take pains to eat with them in the dining hall at least three nights of the week.
- Heartbroken Badass - Karadur, after Azil's betrayal.
Wolf: Did they gossip about Dragon, too?
Thea: What would they say?
Wolf: Gods, I don't know. What he likes, what he hates, who he sleeps with.
Thea: Dragon sleeps alone.
Wolf: They said that. (Thea shakes her head.) How do you know, then? I thought--Azil--
Thea: No. Once, perhaps. But Azil Aumson left him, and whatever drew him away still lies between them.
Wolf: He has no lover, no friend, no kin, save a brother who hates him. Gods, he must be lonely.
- High Fantasy
- Infant Immortality - Shem sees both his parents killed, but is himself taken hostage.
- Interspecies Romance - A staple of the book, really. Azil/Karadur, Thea/Wolf, and Huw/Hawk all provide prominent examples of human/shapeshifter romances. While Wolf and Hawk are very relatable and considered largely human, Karadur and the other Dragons are outright stated to be somewhat alien in their thoughts and emotions.
- Love Hurts - Poor Karadur. Betrayed by his brother and lover in the same night.
- Man Behind the Man - Or really, the entity behind the man. Ankoku is pulling Tanjiro's strings, though the latter doesn't know it.
- Mode Lock - Inverted. Karadur is locked in his human form because his brother stole the amulet he would've used to assist in his transformation.
- Our Dragons Are Different - The dragons in this book are all shapechangers. Legends state that when the maker of the world created the shapechangers, she told them to decided amongst themselves who would be king. But the shapechangers couldn't choose, so she plucked a star from the sky and molded it into Dragon, and made him king.
- Papa Wolf - Wolf, amusingly enough
- Playing with Fire - Karadur has control over fire
- The Stoic - Karadur
- Straight Gay - Azil
- Stronger Sibling - Karadur
- Super Strength - Karadur, and likely all dragons
- Voluntary Shapeshifting - Karadur, Wolf, Hawk, and Bear. The shapechangers play a major role in the book's mythology and events.
- Yaoi Guys - Karadur and Azil