on 10 March 2010
Firstly a warning to anyone who is buying this book. Make sure you have read the predecessor, The Dragon Keeper, before starting this one. It picks up exactly where Dragon Keeper left off with very little in the way of explaination.
Hobb continues to write gripping narative with yet another book by her causing me to stay up to the early hours to finish it. Development of the charecters was excellent and not always along predicted routes, which is what makes the book worth reading.
If I wanted to be picky I could say that really there are too many charecters being followed and this sometimes detracts from the story line by the rapid changing of views. Yet this perhaps adds to the charm of the book, making it clear it is not in the Assassin vain. This book is about a group, not an individual.
For anyone who is a fan of the Liveship and Assassin books, this answers some questions. Not all though! Hobb has the good sense to leave our imagination to fill in what happens at the end of the epic journey started in Dragon Keeper, without feeling you have been cheated of plot.
on 7 July 2011
This is the second and last book in the Rain Wild Chronicles duology (after The Dragon Keeper).
In this volume we follow the Tarman crew, the dragons and their keepers deeper into the Rain Wilds as they continue their doomed expedition in search of the fabled Elderlings city of Kelsingra. We witness the dragons' physical and mental development, and the various changes the keepers go through, tending to the wondrous creatures. Friendships hatch, secrets surface, resentment builds, remorse haunts, love grows.
Greft starts dreaming of a new life, free from the constricting rules of Trehaug. He harasses Thymara, insisting that she must choose a mate among the male keepers, like he has chosen Jerd. But Thymara isn't ready to commit, even to Tats: she's too afraid of becoming pregnant in this hostile environment, and a burden for the other keepers.
Leftrin is soon caught up by the shameful deal he made with a Chalcedean merchant to provide him with dragon parts. He has to find a way to get rid of this threat to the expedition, and to his new relationship.
Until disaster strikes, scattering crew, hunters, keepers and dragons, shuffling and jumbling their lives.
From then on, I literally couldn't put the book down. I was already enjoying reading about the characters' evolution, especially about Alise and Sedric slowing getting used to their life away from Bingtown and its comfort, away from Hest, but this event rearranged the story into a new pattern and gave it a wonderful kick. I'm thrilled to know that Robin Hobb is currently working on a sequel!
on 2 August 2011
I think Robin Hobb is an amazing author and have read all her books. I must agree with the other reviews that I was disapointed with the soilder son trilogy and found it really hard to connect with the characters. However when The Rain Wild Chronicles came out I was very excited because they go back to the same world some of her other books were based in. I wasn't disapointed. I found the books easy to read and enjoyed the links to past books. I found it easy to connect to both the humans and the dragons. This is a brillant series and I would recommend these books, but you must read the Liveship trilogy first to better understand the storyline.
on 23 May 2010
After being disappointed by the Soldier Son Trilogy, I was delighted to find The Rain Wild Chronicles were a return to the wonderful writing previously produced by Robin Hobb. In fact, I think the characterisation in those two books is, in some ways, the best so far. I liked the slow pace of the books and the way the characters developed. Thymara's determination to be true to herself, and both Alise and Sedric's journeys of self realisation/acceptance are all well constructed. I was left wondering `so, what happens next...?!' I hope we'll find out in a future book!
on 8 May 2011
I really enjoyed this book, as a sequel to Dragon Keeper. I had actually enjoyed that one too, despite little happening as it was intriguing for me to read a book where I didn't like any of the characters. I felt it made them more realistic, and I was able to sympathise with them all the more because I didn't 'like' them 100% of the time.
Dragon Keeper followed in the same vein, and I was glad that characters were as interesting as in the first one. There was great deal of change for a lot of the characters, and the only time I felt this was a little unrealistic was in terms of Sedric who completely overhauled his personality. I think I will need to go back and read his character again to look for clues as to this change.
My only criticisms are to do with writing style, which i have never had before with Hobb. There was a lot of repetition of fact - most prominently about the 'rules' and about Thymara's past and why she wouldn't have sex. This is obviously something which Thymara was thinking about a great deal, but it did get a bit tiresome as nothing new was revealed. The other criticism is that there were a lot of errors - grammatically and a few where the amount of time passing is inconstant between characters. I am terrible at spotting grammatical errors so they must have been prominent.
I would definitely recommend this series to a Hobb fan, as she answers a lot of questions and poses a good few more. I love how she is able to write about very different cultures and people and lifestyles and yet they are unmistakably part of the same 'world' with links and shared fears etc.
on 21 May 2010
A great read. Couldn't put the book down. She writes really well and you get really into the characters. Links in with the liveship traders storey, familiar places etc. Would recommend all of her books.
on 3 February 2013
The second book in the Rain Wilds Chronicles is more the second half of the first book than a separate novel. It follows the journey of the dragons, their keepers and the rest of the party as they travel up the Rain Wilds river to find the legendary city of Kelsingra.
It's not really an exciting tale of adventure though, rather more looking at the characters and how they, and the relationships between them, develop over time. As such, while it's interesting to follow their lives, the narrative isn't really gripping and I didn't find I was as hooked as I have been with earlier Robin Hobb novels.
The characters are good, varied, and perhaps deeper than ever before. Really I suppose this is a love story, a little reminiscent of the film Love Actually, as it follows the budding romances between pairs of characters, and the collapse of others. In this, it's really good, and there's one particular relationship that I found fascinating to follow.
It's quite different to the author's usual tales, and I quite liked the variety, but didn't find it as engaging. It's a little slow and is very much the middle and end of the story started in The Dragon Keeper.
on 8 March 2013
I have been a fan of Robin Hobb since I first read Assassins Apprentice, but I am finding the Rain Wild Chronicles very different. The pace is slower, and there is just so much descriptiver padding.... I found myself skipping over large chunks of text just to get back to the story. This just has the feel of a one book story spread over four. Sorry to all you Robin Hobb fans out there - and please re-read my first sentance.
on 17 March 2010
I love Robin Hobb's books and just so you know where I am coming from with this review, she along with Terry Pratchett, David Eddings and the much lamented David Gemmell are amony my favourite authors of all time.
I have read all of Robin Hobbs books from the darkly compelling Farseer trilogy, the fascinating and intricate Liveship Traders series and the fabulously satisfying Tawny Man trilogy. I was then disappointed by the Soldier Son Trilogy - probably because I felt the lead character just deserved a good kick up the backside. And now I have had my faith restored by the Rain Wild Chronicles duology (I love that word) which I would recommend to anyone and especially those Robin Hobb fans who were disappointed by the Soldier Son Trilogy.
So why would I recommend this book - well Robin Hobb is a fantastic story teller and in the Rain Wild Chronicles she returns to a world where she writes her best stories. In the first book - Dragon Keeper - she set the scene and built a myriad of different and interesting characters, and whilst a lot of action didn't happen, the characters own stories and the events leading up to the journey make for compelling reading and left you really wanting to know what happened to them.
Dragon Haven now picks up the story, and the pace! It quite literally takes the characters on a journey and faces them with new challenges and situations that continue to change them, making them grow, or indeed lessen as they move deeper into the Rain Wilds. The story will further endear you to those you already like, please you with the growth some and make you feel a certain serves you right for some, whilst all the while leading you to a satisfying final conclusion. I agree this series is not as politically complex as previous series, but I prefer character development to political manoeuvring so that suited me fine and whilst the ending definatley finished his story it left open plenty of opportunities for new ones - hopefully :)I finished the book with a smile - which for me is as good an ending to any book as I could want.
on 16 May 2012
The Dragon trilogy (quadrilogy as it looks to be shaping up) is different from Hobb's other work set in this world.
Previous works (Assassin, Liveship, Tawny Man) have dealt on a huge scale with politics, though seen through the eyes of individuals caught up in "history". Comparisons with the current fave Game of Thrones are inevitable, though the two have very different styles. Her ability to tie the politics of a nation to the skills, abilities, foibles and characters of individuals and show how one person's contribution can change the fates of many is unsurpassed in skill, complexity and sympathy. Hobb understands people - I would say the only failing of those former works were her lack of queer characters, and female characters who rejected societal norms (oh there were many amazingly strong, courageous and rebellious men and women, but they all desired families and hetero-normative relationships in the end).
Dragon chronicles seem to be to be Hobb challenging this in herself. Here the scope is amazingly limited - a group of scarce more than 30 characters stuck on a long journey. The saga writer's equivalent of the one-set play. The river journey setting prevents claustrophobia of scene, whilst allowing for a slow 'plot' that depends entirely on character development.
And what characters - queer relationships and the personal politics of human 'mating' patterns are closely examined, among her usual themes of loyalty, honesty and humanity. Hobb's scope has shrunk, but her depth grows constantly. In essence, these books bite to the very heart of what makes us human, and why. Contrasting the humans to the dragons, subtly, brings out much and more.
This is a writer at the peak of her powers, and this is genuine literature. For those who wanted an adventure story - it is not exciting, it is absorbing. Fantasy literature for intelligent grown-ups. And feminists :)