Rain Wild Chronicles

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.

dragon keeper

Rain Wild Chronciles (#1-4) – Robin Hobb 

 Goodreads

Date(s) Published: 2009 – 2013

4 ★’s

“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)

dragon havenI 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

city of dragonsThe 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.

blood of dragonsThymara 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.”

-Dragon Haven

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.

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All the Crooked Saints

I have just recently finished All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. And, if you stick around for a little while you will probably come to discover that she is my favorite author and I tend to swallow her books up whole. Every time I finish one of her books, I get this feeling that is too much to put into words. It’s like magic. Every time I flip the final page of one of her books, I feel like I’ve lost a piece of myself, but also like I have the right tools to find a new piece.

saintsAll the Crooked Saints – Maggie Stiefvater

Goodreads

Date Published: October 10, 2017

5 ★’s

“Here is a thing everyone wants: a miracle.
Here is a thing everyone fears: what it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.”

I will not start this off by lying, this is a hard book to explain. Which is why I know some die hard Stiefvater fans were not thrilled by it. I, however loved it. I felt as though this was a book I needed to analyze as soon as I finished it (which is why as I type it is 2:30 AM).

Welcome to Bicho Raro, Colorado 1962. Meet the Soria family, all of them.

Normally when a book has this many characters going on, and this many characters that have feelings and opinions and back stories, I’m out. (“But, this is my favorite author, so I can do this.” – I think to myself.) I loved this family. From angry Antonia to Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, to the girl without feelings, Beatriz. This was a family of people all so different that you can’t help but love them all. A family in need of some miracles.

The members of the Soria family, can perform unusual miracles. And when I say, unusual, I mean it. These miracles draw the darkness out of a person, that darkness than manifests as something physical. The Saint draws out this initial darkness for you, however it is then your job to defeat the darkness. Going into this book having read and loved Stiefvaters other novels actually helped me. I was much quicker to accept the unusual miracles that were taking place.

Every character in this book is piecing their lives together from the Soria’s, young and old, to the Pilgrims, which is the name given to those who come to Bicho Raro in search of a miracle.

“It’s an enormous sky out there with a lot of stars above it and a lot of folks underneath it, and all of us, stars and human, are missing someone in the dark.”

This story is about love, owls, roses, renegade radio stations and so much more. All in all, this book is about acknowledging your darkness and then finding a way to accept it. It’s about not being afraid of something that is ‘taboo’ or if something is imperfect. This, for me, was a story of finding yourself. Your true self.

I could gush on and on about how frightening it is to realize the darkness in yourself and then how beautiful it is to accept it. But I’m afraid if I do, I will instead find myself writing down the entire plot of this story and analyzing it for you, and nobody wants that. I do however have to point out one paragraph in this book that stood out to me.

“Ordinarily Michael would have also thrown himself directly back into work, but for the first time in a very long time, Michael stood there for a full five minutes before beginning his next job, just watching Pete start on his next project. Humans have always been fascinated by mirrors, after all. Michael had never seen from the outside how it looked to work constantly to avoid feeling, and he could not look away.”

The way Steifvater writes is incredible to me, I feel as though I am standing right beside Michael looking out on Pete as he sets about his task. But, I also feel the way the Michael is feeling, I can feel what he feels as he stands there and begins to look inside himself.

This book is weird, don’t get me wrong, but I loved it for being weird. Magic Realism is not something I have read a lot of and I can see why some people wouldn’t like it, but I thought it was beautiful.

“Even a small voice is still a voice.”