57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
This book is just the beginning...,
This review is from: The Dragon Keeper (The Rain Wild Chronicles) (Hardcover)
Given that this book is part one of two, it is exceptionally good. Without that understanding though, you may wonder why it only really starts to get exciting right at the end with the rest of the book being gentle set-up.
Robin Hobb's writing style is beautiful. Slightly flowery but never too ornate for clarity, it soothes and calms me. The writing in this book flows particularly well with characters and places coming alive through careful descriptions.
Her world is, in my opinion, her strongest selling point. The realm of the Elderlings has been carefully constructed in other books (it is probably helpful though by no means necessary to have read at least the Liveships before this one) and is continued here. The life cycle of the dragons is given a strong focus and there are delightful peaks at Elderling relics, magical objects from a lost time. It feels unique in the world of fantasy as it does not draw on medieval times but a more prosperous era of trading and travel with a Puritanical society.
The characters themselves aren't as fresh as those in her other books (for example, the Liveships series with the pirate Kennit) but they are presented with the potential to be magnificent after a bit of growing up. A strength of this book is the multiple point of view storytelling which allows for the same character to be seen from different perspectives. The cast is quite small though and it takes very little time for them to become embroiled in the same plot making it easier to follow than many other sprawling multi-pov fantasy books. Plus her depiction of how dragons think is fantastic.
The book covers themes of marriage, sexuality, deformity, appearance, society, emancipation... and I daresay I have missed many. The plot is simply the formation of a ragtag band, including dragons, travelling to find a better place.
Overall I highly recommend this book and other books by Robin Hobb. Her writing is lyrical and her worlds original.