Series: Rain Wild Chronicles
Publisher: Voyager, 2009-2011
Genre: Fantasy, Dragons!
Source + Date Read: Library + June to July 2015
Recommend: For dragon lovers and fantasy buffs.
Series Pro’s: A truly epic tail set in a fascinating world.
Series Con’s: So much whining.
Favourite Line: “Death fed life.”
Blurb: 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.
I adored this first installment of the Rail Wild Chronicles. It was my first introduction to Robin Hobb and her writing style and if I could do it again, I might start with a few of her other series (apparently this follows from the The Tawny Man Series?) but I still massively enjoyed this world. There is something about her writing style, it’s so detailed and to the point. I appreciate this when so much literature tries to be excessively flowery and overly dramatic- Hobb relies on the her setting and her characters to fill the novel with drama and tension, not excessive adjectives.
I quite enjoyed this world of dragons, though I could have done without their extreme vanity and high and mighty airs. Seriously, I wouldn’t have been a good keeper to Sintara, I’d have clocked her one. I’d rather a dragon like Mercor, who has his vain qualities but was overall, much more logical and sensible.
In addition to the dragons, I greatly enjoyed Hobb’s characters. The touched Rain Wilders, their scales and claws were fascinating to me. I suffer from scalp psoriasis and it made me smile to think of it as scales, rather than well… an inflammatory skin problem. Each character brought something to the table and it was freeing to read about a diversity of people.
Here, the characters and their dragons are truly fleshed out. I enjoyed this second installation in this epic series- especially the personal and emotional growth depicted in each character. To be honest, Sedric grew the most for me here- I didn’t enjoy his elitist mentality in the previous book (something Alise was rather quick to abandon thankfully) and though he had deplorable excuses for some pretty bad actions, he showed genuine remorse! Genuine! And I anticipate that he will only grow more into his personality and new found connection. Plus, Repelda is awesome. I love her, I love how the previously “dumb” dragons are the ones that I think show the most consideration now (well, not Spit, I like him but he’s a testy little bugger).
Hobb doesn’t shy away from diversity either. It’s a bit of a gripe for me in fantasy when everyone is not only heterosexual but also white and I was glad to get a bit of an injection here.
City Of Dragons:
You know what, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the previous books? I think it’s because the author started to include a few more perspectives and tones, which is fine, but it isn’t exactly my cup of tea. Actually, I really don’t like it when there is more than one narrator in a book and I found myself skipping the chapters for narrators that I didn’t like. I know that they were meant to include new perspectives to the novel- views from Chalced or Tantaglia’s pain- but I really couldn’t give a darn about them! I just wanted to know how my core group were doing- Alise, Sintara, Mercor, etc.What I didn’t understand was this fascination with mating- the dragons yes- but everyone competing to find a lover was a tad confusing. They’re teenagers and I know that they are alone and have the chance of finally finding love and pleasure, but a whole chapter on which person to choose? That love triangle was massively unnecessary. Also what is Silver? I took it for a mercury-like thing.
This book was also the shortest of the bunch and I’m note entirely sure why, I think she could have combined the 3rd and 4th books to make a giant finale.
Blood of Dragons:
The epic battle concludes! Such a great finish. Again the multiple narrators were annoying but Hobb manages to tie enough loose ends but leave other plot lines open so that the reader feels pretty satisfied with how things turned out.
Of course the secret of Kelsingra could not be contained and I found myself gripped with fear for my favourites! Namely, Sedric, Alise, Thymara (who finally learned to whine a bit less and take things in stride, I really do like her but she annoyed me in the third book).
My only concern for this conclusion and it might have been my bias, I might have read it wrong, so I am really, really hoping that someone has read this series and can clarify it for me. But were the big bad Chalceds all of a “darker” hue and the “good” characters (well goodish, no one from the various towns or Rain Wilds are depicted as especially bright or morally sound) all of a lighter hue? I might have misinterpreted this so I won’t write about it too much, but did anyone else get that impression?
Overall, this series is excellent and I am very much interested in getting other books written by Robin Hobb. Somehow. My local library only had this series so I need to find a way to get the others!
Further Reading & Reviews: