Too much time has passed since the powerful dragon Tintaglia helped the people of the Trader cities stave off an invasion of their enemies. The Traders have forgotten their promises, weary of the labor and expense of tending earthbound dragons who were hatched weak and deformed by a river turned toxic. If neglected, the creatures will rampage–or die–so it is decreed that they must move farther upriver toward Kelsingra, the mythical homeland whose location is locked deep within the dragons’ uncertain ancestral memories.
Thymara, an unschooled forest girl, and Alise, wife of an unloving and wealthy Trader, are among the disparate group entrusted with escorting the dragons to their new home. And on an extraordinary odyssey with no promise of return, many lessons will be learned–as dragons and tenders alike experience hardships, betrayals . . . and joys beyond their wildest imaginings
The Rain Wild Chronicles is generally regarded to be the weakest of Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series. While I do agree that, so far, it hasn’t quite matched up to the standards set by the Farseer, Liveship Traders, and Tawny Man trilogies, Dragon Keeper was still a pretty good book.
In the same vein as Liveship Traders, The Rain Wild Chronicles follows a number of different characters: Sintara, a malformed dragon; Thymara, a heavily marked Rain Wilds girl; Leftrin, a Rain Wilds ship captain; Alise, the unhappy wife of a Bingtown Trader; and Sedric, Alise’s friend and her husband’s secretary.
Hobb is the queen of creating characters. They always feel so real to me, which is largely due to how damaged and flawed they are. Hobb’s characters are truly what make reading her books so compelling. Most of her books are largely character-driven, and I love watching her characters deal with and overcome their problems. However, Dragon Keeper was a bit too character-driven for me. I found the progression of the actual plot to be very slow. Things only really started to happen right at the very end, and the book finished somewhat abruptly.
I think that most of the problems I had with the pacing can be attributed to the fact that Dragon Keeper was never really intended to be its own instalment in the series – it and the next book in the series, Dragon Haven, were actually written as one book. So, the lack of action is forgivable if you consider Dragon Keeper to be the first half of a book.
I know that some people skip Hobb’s non-Fitz series, but each series enriches the world she created, so any fan of her books should definitely give this series a read!
Needless to say, I can’t wait to begin Dragon Haven and find out what Dragon Keeper was building up to!