The Rain Wild Chronicles by Robin Hobb is a series of four books, The Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven, City of Dragons and Blood of Dragons. I decided to write the reviews for these books in one post, so that hopefully my thoughts from one book wouldn’t bleed over into another while in four tiny little posts.
Rain Wild Chronciles (#1-4) – Robin Hobb
Date(s) Published: 2009 – 2013
“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.” (Dragon Keeper)
I love dragons. They along with wolves (or shifters of all kinds) are my top favorite things to read about. And Robin Hobb, she does Dragons like I’ve never read before. These dragons start their journey out in serpent form, they travel up river to find a spot where they can cocoon and hatch into full-fledged dragons. However, these dragons come out weak, some with legs to short, some with wings too small, all earthbound.
As you travel through this series, these dragons become very different creatures than how they started out. Each have their own personalities, and as you read they not only involve in body but evolve in mind as well. It was interesting to read a book when sometimes your view is that of a dragons. I would have thought that to be very strange and yet I felt it was perfect.
“Look at her. The sun soaks right into her and shines back out of her. She’s magnificent.”
-The Dragon Keeper
The dragons, along with their keepers, are trying to find the long lost dragon city of Kelsingra. The dragons retain memories from their ancestors, but because these dragons were not born as they should have been, their memories are weak. The dragons and their keepers now must go blindly out into the world to try to find themselves a home.
The keepers in this series are young people from the Rain Wilds (a city built among the trees atop the dangerous river) and these people have been “touched by the Rain Wilds”. Being touched by the Rain Wilds means that these keepers have lizard like features and they are looked down on by their society for being different. So as much as the dragons are looking for their home, the keepers are looking for one too.
Thymara is a young girl from the tree-tops of the Rain Wilds. She was born “touched” and should never have lived, but she did. She was raised to believe that she’s a disgrace, so can you blame her for wanting to leave when the opportunity arose? I can’t. I really enjoyed Thymara’s character, in the beginning of this series she was really the only character I found myself connecting with.
Lets go to some other characters here, Alise and Sedric. I honestly and truly hoped they both might fall off the boat into the dangerous Rain Wild River in the beginning. Spoiler, they did not. As always, while you watch characters evolve, your feelings evolve too, and I came to like the pair. I will say I always liked Sedric a touch more.
“He’d known of love and accepted that it existed for him. But never before had he actually felt love as a physical sensation that emanated from another creature and warmed and comforted him. It was incredible.”
I love the changes you see for these characters (dragons and keepers) throughout this series. Just because you’re different doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you. Away from the small community they were raised in, the keepers finally get shown that being different is okay, and truly their is nothing wrong with any of them.
“She could change. She wasn’t chained to her past. She could become someone who wasn’t merely a product of what others had done to her. It wasn’t too late.”
-Blood of Dragons
The first book The Dragon Keeper is slow, I will say that. But I would urge you to stick with it, because I was fascinated by the rest of the series and the world that Hobb built. I was fully in love with Dragon Haven and City of Dragons (books 2 and 3), I felt as though the first book was slow and the last book, Blood of Dragons was slightly rushed.
As I read, I could see myself climbing among the trees of the Rain Wilds or tending to my temperamental dragon. Hobb paints a stunning picture, one which I know, if you don’t mind the wait, will sweep you off into the incredible world of dragons and the incredible journey to finding yourself.