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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sign of a good book
I've always said that a sign of a good book is that it leaves you wanting more... and if you read the other reviews of this book, everyone wanted more from the book. But they have managed to make it into a bad thing.

I would like to evaluate the series as a whole so far, simply because I see the series getting a lot of flak from what is essentially a middle...
Published on 2 May 2012 by P. Robinson

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84 of 90 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sub-standard
Each of this author's first three trilogies; `Farseer', `Liveship Traders' and `Tawny Man' boasted outstanding character development, beautiful prose and momentously engrossing plot developments. The publication of the `Soldier Son' trilogy marked a divergence that surprised many with its less romantic style and less epic story, but was still a series that bore all the...
Published on 27 April 2012 by Fantasy Lore


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84 of 90 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sub-standard, 27 April 2012
By 
Fantasy Lore - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Each of this author's first three trilogies; `Farseer', `Liveship Traders' and `Tawny Man' boasted outstanding character development, beautiful prose and momentously engrossing plot developments. The publication of the `Soldier Son' trilogy marked a divergence that surprised many with its less romantic style and less epic story, but was still a series that bore all the hallmarks of this author in its wealth of detail, gripping story and characters whose lives you felt yourself living. It was a series I greatly enjoyed and would recommend. The `Rain Wilds Chronicles' series (or more accurately- quartet, as it will be when the final book, `Blood of Dragons' is published in the UK in March 2013) is, once again, a divergence from the formula of Hobb's early successes.

'City of Dragons' is the shortest book so far in the series (at 425 pages, shorter even than `Dragon Keeper' and `Dragon Haven'), but more disappointingly- the novel begins with the pace once again feeling flat, there is little action and the character arcs evaporate rather than culminate. My sense with this series is that, unlike the authors first four trilogies, there is very little exploration of the profound consequences on the political and social landscape of the setting, which must surely result from the profound discoveries made by the main characters. The return of dragons as lords of the three realms at the closure of the `Tawny Man' trilogy promised much change for the Six Duchies, Bingtown, the Rain Wilds, the Cursed Shore and beyond. Those changes have sadly not materialized sufficiently in this series, with little sense of ripples extending outwards from the small band of Dragons, Elderlings and Humans at the center of this story.

`City of Dragons' is however an improvement in that area. In particular I very much enjoyed Malta's story-arc in this novel, but suspect this only proved so satisfying because I felt a connection with this character having read the Liveship Traders trilogy in which she figured prominently and evolved so intricately, while her new compatriots in the Rain Wild Chronicles feel woefully two-dimensional by comparison.

As the `Rain Wilds Chronicles' progresses the small faults become less easy to justify; the lack of a first-person narrative to engage the reader, the continued squabbling among (and lack of intelligence in the dialogue of) the dragons, the general sense of aimlessness in the plot and most significantly for me- the disconnection between the events experienced by the dragons and their keepers, and the greater world view.

All things considered though `City of Dragons' is an adequate read. Granted, it's slow to start (about one hundred pages worth of slow) and it's a terribly short book at 425 pages, and of course the standard is nowhere near as high as this author's best. The major disappoint though is that I just don't feel any excitement or anticipation for the concluding installment, except that it will mark the end of this series and the beginning of the next (and hopefully superior) one.

The great shame with `City of Dragons' is that the book ends so quickly and especially so as the quality really plummets in the final couple of chapters. This series is beginning to travel the same road as Naomi Novik's `Temeraire' series, since 'City of Dragons' is only as substantive as a handful of chapters in one of Hobb's early novels, not the satisfyingly rich, layered and self-contained story it should be.

If `Blood of Dragons' boasts a similar word count as `City of Dragons' then the publishers have truly done a disservice to readers by not merging these titles. Usually the yearly wait between the publications of the novels in a Robin Hobb series are justified by the length and quality of her stories. Even though I enjoyed parts of this novel, it is undoubtedly not shaping up to be worth the wait in the same fashion.

Therefore, I would recommend setting your expectations quite low before beginning this title and certainly not to the lofty heights of this author's finest past achievements in the genre. I'm now hoping for a satisfying and swift conclusion to this series, and let's face it, the final book, `Blood of Dragons', has much to prove...
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars City of Dragons - where is the other half of the book???, 11 April 2012
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Robin Hobb used to be my all time favorit phantasy writer - and I would give all her other books 5*s! I could hardly wait for this new volume to come out, but now that I have got and read it, I am a bit dissappointed.

The book feels like about half the size of her previouse Robin Hobb books. Perhaps I am a creature of habit, but I have gotten used to her trilogies. Now suddenly it looks like there is going to be at least 4 in this series?
I would not mind this if the size of this book would be the same as her usual books, but it does a feel bit short (I count about 200 pages less than usual).
Add to that that at least a third, especially the beginning, of the book reiterates plots from past books in partialyy tiresom retropections of the main characters.
If not for my loyalty to Robin Hobb I might have put the book down after 100 pages of notghing much 'new' happening.
I am glad I did not - as Robin does come up with some great and interesting 'new' stuff for the last 150-200 pages.
Nevertheless, after dragging myself through the beginning of the book and just warming up and starting to develop my usual enthusiasm for her writing - the book is finished and I feel somewhat cheated!

I pray Vol.4 will be here soon and that Robin will be inspired with many gifted ideas to bring it back to a standard, of richness and size, which is worthy of her talent!!!
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sign of a good book, 2 May 2012
By 
P. Robinson (UK) - See all my reviews
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I've always said that a sign of a good book is that it leaves you wanting more... and if you read the other reviews of this book, everyone wanted more from the book. But they have managed to make it into a bad thing.

I would like to evaluate the series as a whole so far, simply because I see the series getting a lot of flak from what is essentially a middle book. When there is a series of books, do you single the middle one out and say "that... that was the book that made the series." No. Or at I don't, nor the people I talk to about such things, we simply evaluate a series as a whole. So that's where I'm going with my review

The major issue's I would like to address as such are:
1) Some people have previously complained about the lack of character development and they felt one dimensional.
This has been address in the other 2 books, you end up caring deeply about characters feelings, because of these boring repetitive tasks that they go through i find the reader bonds with them on a more personal level (because we all have boring repetitive tasks in our life) and as such the author stirs far more emotion that some of her other books, like for example what happens with tats.

2) People complained about the lack of page count the book had.
But if you consider the book is a quadrillogy... and it's the authors first series with more than 3 books. The fact of the matter is this series is so big that they couldn't justify squeezing it down to 3 books. If she did that I know there would be a lot more people complaining that the series felt rushed and incomplete. I for one, would rather have an extra book that finish's off a story nicely rather than to have the series condense into something unworthy of the author.

The fact the author has managed to keep the characters, each different story arc, entertaining throughout the book, and leaves the reader wanting more, just shows how good of a middle book this is. Her last trilogy, the soldier son trilogy, was not this on the second book I was bored of the characters and honestly couldn't care about what happens. But that's not the case with this book, the amount of emotions that this book puts you through is worth every penny

3) A slow to start book or a slow burner as it were.
First off, the first opening chapter is full of excitement. The second chapter after that is, what I estimate to be, A key pivotal role in the series. It's a few chapters after those couple that recap on our main characters, and I personally liked the recap, not only were they doing things, so it wasn't just a straight up recap, they we're still developing as characters, which was nice. Sometimes characters change so dramatically from one book to the next, you lose the connection.

Also I would like to add, that adding a recap that refreshed your memory but didn't completely bore you, saved the reader the effort of re-reading the last chapter of the previous book to catch up

4) Money making and the Kindle nonsense.
Some have made ridiculous allegations that an author might profit from their work. Oh what horrendous accusations!.. if you can't tell I'm being overly sarcastic to nail my point home, let me ask you, would you work your ass off... just to give it all away for free? this is her living. She writes great novels that people buy... because shes a great writer, and nothing has changed. The way you expect her to write for you for the sheer joy of telling you a story reminds me of the arrogance of the dragons in this series.

As to the kindle price, I can't believe people are letting this effect their review, amazon own kindle, you take it up with amazon if you don't like the price, as I'm pretty sure the author and publisher didn't set that price. Anyway, buy a real book... they are way cooler anyway.

That's the end of the immediate issues that people were bringing up with the book.

Look, its a good book, no scratch that, its a great book for what it is, it keeps you interested develops a lot of the stories more, the characters develop and change and its superbly written. What more could you ask for a middle book? also it adds new characters, which rarely happens in middle books of trilogies, and is almost unheard of in quadrillogies, not to mention that they interesting and captivating

I think many people expected too much from what is essentially a story of development. they wanted answers, but those answers will only be answered in the next book... and I for one, am looking forward to it.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Series should have ended after Dragon Haven, 23 Aug 2012
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This isn't a bad book, per se... But it left me feeling empty. No character development, little mention of the social or political implications of the return of the dragons... nothing that made Robin Hobb great to begin with. Even the writing seems lackluster. I feel like her heart just isn't in it anymore.

I keep up to date with where Hobb's at in her writing, for the most part. So I knew before the start of The Rain Wild Chronicles that it began with one book that had been split into two. So when Dragon Keeper was a little slow, I forgave it. Most of her books are quite slow to begin with and pick up pace halfway through. And true to form, Dragon Haven was a much better effort, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Another thing Dragon Haven did was give each of the existing character arcs a definitive ending. So when I realised she was continuing the series I was worried. When I head that book was going to be split as well, I became downright terrified! Is this first book doomed to be just another slow set-up novel? And what on earth is there left to do with these characters anyway?!

Not a lot, as it turns out. I have a huge interest in archaeology, and while Alise's storyline strikes a chord with me, I feel it would be better placed as a mock case study in a university textbook than as the plot of a fantasy novel. It did nothing to endear her to me. Every time she threw a hissy fit over the use of elderling artifacts, my nine-year-old cousin's venomous description of Hermione Granger came to mind. "She's a stink."

Very little new ground was covered with the dragon keepers themselves, those who I feel could have the most interesting storyline. Thymara started out as a vaguely interesting character. But then she got caught up in a love triangle. I'd hoped that Thymara's resolve to keep away from both boys would stick, but nope. If her storyline had focused on her mutations, it could have been very very good. But instead, they were shoved into the background while she agonised over Tats and Rapskal - who are both likable characters. Personally, I think the whole dragon keeper plot would have been much better if it had focused on Rapskal rather than Thymara.

Some meddlesome bureaucrats are getting on Leftrin's nerves. Nothing particularly interesting or surprising there. However, his storyline picks up a lot towards the end thanks to the introduction of an old favourite character.

Sedric is veeeery slowly adjusting to life in the rough. His dragon is pathetic. Dull. Could have done without his chapters, although I quite like Carson.

The sheer pointlessness of Hest Finbok's storyline left me baffled. It had potential, it could have given the novel some of the scale that it so desperately needed, but it was, unfortunately, wasted. He has many of the traits of Regal and Kennit, but none of what makes them interesting. He just isn't a threat. I can't even work out if he's supposed to be a threat.

This book is ultimately saved from being absolute garbage by Malta's storyline. While not exactly original, it does contain the best characters, and opens up the novel a bit from it's otherwise isolated setting.

There's also one well-placed call back to the Farseer trilogy (that creates a small continuity issue, but lets not quibble over a bit of drinking water) and a couple of other references to earlier novels that are slightly clunkier but no less satisfying. Such things delight me.

Thankfully, the ending does give me some hope for the next novel. There's a promise of the reappearance of some familiar faces (and if they don't show, I'll be one seriously miffed reader), as well as some developments with the dragons that have serious potential. In fact, many of the plots that began in this book could have some excellent pay-off in the next. So rather than writing this series off as a loss, I'll cross my fingers and pray to Sa, and give this book three stars rather than two in the rather optimistic hope that it's the first half of something wonderful.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh!, 3 April 2012
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Whilst in the past I have enjoyed Robin Hobb books, the more recent ones have left me feeling more Meh, than compelled to keep going as, for me, they feel more like writing by numbers than with passion. Don't get me wrong, there will be people that love this series but when it feels like more of the same with very little resolved in one form or another and all in as a reader you'll end up wondering it was left feeling incomplete.

Add to this predictable patterns which when backed with simplistic twists and a predictable pattern and for me I'll be sticking with her earlier books which are still favourites of mine. All in a great shame and whilst the prose are sharp it just feels like there is a lot of repetition with no resolution in not only the arcs but the characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I would like to give it 5 stars as it is Hobb, 13 Oct 2013
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I love Hobb's books and have been enthralled by her dragon world every bit as much as the Assassin and Fool series. I read this book quickly over one weekend, and enjoyed it very much. However, I think they forgot to procure a proof reader for the Kindle version, and I was a little annoyed by all the grammatical errors. I also felt unimpressed with one of the plot lines - would a loving husband really let his heavily pregnant wife walk through an unknown city at night on her own through wind and rain? I think not! That said, it was still an excellent read, and Hobb is right there in the top 3 of my favourite authors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shorter and less action packed, but I still loved it, 15 Jun 2013
By 
J. R. Johnson-Rollings (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: City of Dragons (The Rain Wild Chronicles, Book 3) (Paperback)
The third book in the Rain Wilds Chronicles and twelfth overall in Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings series feels shorter and much more character focussed than most of the earlier books.

Rather than following a quest, as many of the other books in the series have, this book follows the daily lives of the characters from the previous two novels as they continue from the point these books brought them. It makes some interesting points about prejudice, society and childrearing, and the ensemble cast makes the drama feel more real and rounded than ever before.

The plot feels simple despite the array of threads that run through the book, and for the most part each is split into its own chapters, although there are some where the narratives are intertwined, which is a nice variation. I really love the asides between chapters that Hobb uses to expand the world in which her stories are set, and they provide a humorous and interesting companion to the main story.

While it felt a calmer story, I was really hooked by this book and can't believe how quickly I read it compared to some of Hobb's other books. I really enjoy spending time with these characters and hope that Hobb will find more stories to pen once this one is complete.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great escapism - brilliant, 20 April 2013
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This review is from: City of Dragons (The Rain Wild Chronicles, Book 3) (Paperback)
a great book of pure escapism - for troubled minds - . not easy to get some sleep however . I want more !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Robin Hobb City of Dragons A Library Book, 9 Sep 2012
By 
Cod "fantasyfan" (UK) - See all my reviews
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I usually rush to buy Robin Hobb books as soon as published but I was a bit broke this time so got it from the local library this week. I'm really glad I waited as I would have felt very ripped off at spending 11.99 on this. In her other farseer trilogies I was gripped from beginning to end. This book no ~ it felt like a filler and did not keep my attention at all. Its not bad just not as good as usual. It needs to be read in order to follow the story but the passion and excitment of earlier books is not there. Get this one from the Library and hope for better next time
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Half of the story..., 19 Aug 2012
By 
Patrick St-Denis "editor of Pat's Fantasy Hot... (Laval, Quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
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When she first intended to write a book about dragons set in the Rain Wilds, the original manuscript Robin Hobb turned in was too long to be published as a single novel. Hence, the story was split into Dragon Keeper and Dragon Haven.

A while back, the author informed us that the same thing had happened, forcing her publishers to once again split the story into two halves, City of Dragons and Blood of Dragons. Problem is, given the relatively small size of City of Dragons, unless Blood of Dragons is a veritable doorstopper of a novel similar to works from Robert Jordan, George R. R. Martin, and Steven Erikson, it does appear that Harper Voyager is sticking it to readers by forcing them two buy two volumes instead of one. And you know how I feel about the proliferation of unnecessary sequels to string readers along. . .

Here's the blurb:

Return to the world of the Liveships Traders and journey along the Rain Wild River in the third instalment of high adventure from the author of the internationally acclaimed Farseer trilogy.

Kelsingra awaits for those brave enough to enter...

The dragons and their keepers have discovered Kelsingra but so far only Heeby has succeeded in flying over the river to enter the fabled city. The other dragons, with their deformed wings and feeble muscles, are afraid to risk failure and humiliation.

But wondrous things await in Kelsingra, a city built for dragons and their Elderling keepers. Alise, overwhelmed by the treasures she finds there, records her finds for posterity. Once the rest of the world knows about the riches the city contains, nothing will ever be the same again.

Already, rumours of the city's discovery have floated down the Rain Wild River and reached envious ears in Bingtown and beyond. Adventurers, pirates and fortune hunters are coming in droves to pillage what they can from the city. As is Hest Finbok, Alise's husband...

Meanwhile, Selden Vestrit finds himself a prisoner of the ailing Duke of Chalced, who believes him to be some sort of dragon-man whose flesh and blood may work miracle cures.

Where is Tintaglia, the great sapphire-blue dragon, when all have such need of her? Has she really abandoned her beloved Selden and the fledgling dragons forever? Or will she too return to seek the wonders of Kelsingra?

As was the case with the last Rain Wilds novel, the worldbuilding was the most fascinating aspect of City of Dragons. Once again, we get more insight into the lives of dragons, Elderlings and their secrets, and the Rain Wilds in general. Revelations about Kelsingra were engrossing, giving us a few glimpses about the past lives of dragons and Elderlings.

As is usually her wont, Hobb's characterization remains her strong suit. The emancipation of women and society's acceptance of gay people are once again themes that lie at the heart of the tale, as was the one focusing on how individuals shunned by society strive to find their own place in the world. Thymara, Alise, and Sedric take center stage once more, but the storylines also focus on other characters. Leftrin's return to Cassarick brings a number of new plotlines to the fore, many of them quite surprising. Malta and Reyn Khuprus' storyline was the most unanticipated and most interesting. Selden's plotline is also quite intriguing. All in all, Robin Hobb takes this story in new and unforeseen directions.

The pace is fluid throughout, and all too quickly one reaches the end of the book. Trouble is, as this is only the first half of what was a single manuscript, there is no resolution whatsoever and the end lacks the usual Robin Hobb punch. The novel is brought to a close at the point where it probably made the most sense, but the reading experience fails to generate any satisfaction. Hence, one can't help but feel a bit disappointed by it all.

City of Dragons doesn't feel like a novel in the true sense of the word. Indeed, it feels more like a single piece in a multilayered whole. As was the case with the last two Rain Wilds installments, until we read the entire story, it's impossible to judge the inherent quality of this work on its own merit. Too much remains missing. . .

Which is too bad, for based on City of Dragons, Hobb's latest manuscript appears to be her very best work since Fool's Fate. . .

Check out Pat's Fantasy Hotlist!
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City of Dragons (The Rain Wild Chronicles, Book 3)
City of Dragons (The Rain Wild Chronicles, Book 3) by Robin Hobb (Paperback - 14 Mar 2013)
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