Monday, May 22, 2017

City of Dragons Book Review

by The Wanderer 

Author: Robin Hobb
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: Rain Wild Chronicles Book Three
Pages: 433

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(Spoilers for Dragon Keeper and Dragon Haven are below).

Kelsingra has been rediscovered, but it's on the other side of a treacherous river, and due to dwindling supplies, the expedition's only boat must soon return to Casserick. The dragons must learn to fly if they are to ever make it to their new home. The rediscovery of such a massive Elderling city is sure to attract it's fair share of troubles. These are not limited to some of the corrupt traders in Casserick, Chalcedeans searching for dragon parts to cure their ailing Duke, and of course Alice Kincarron Finbok's husband and Seldric Meldar's former lover, Hest.

It seems Hobb uses each of her trilogies to focus on a specific worldbuilding or magical concept in her Elderling's world. There's the Skill in The Farseer Trilogy, dragons in Liveship Traders, the Wit in The Tawny Man Trilogy, and now Hobb is exploring the entire world's namesake, the Elderlings in the Rain Wild Chronicles. Of all Hobb's Elderling books, this has been the most focused on worldbuilding, and City of Dragons in particular excels at creating a very whimsical and magical environment, no part in thanks to Kelsingra, which now needs to be thoroughly explored.

Of the new characters introduced Thymara is quickly becoming my favorite. Her relationship with Sintara is fascinating, it reminds of the relationship you would expect to see between two cats. They both need each other to help keep their coats clean and watch out for potential danger/prey together, but they would rather have nothing to do with one another otherwise. Yet despite this non-traditional relationship, their is still a great deal of caring about each other between the two. 

Out of all of Hobb's books, I have to say I think my favorite character of her's has been Malta Vestrit. So when she returns to this novel as a narrator I about shit my pants. Is she as good as she was in Liveship Traders, no. But she's still good, and she will have one of the most intense and dramatic scenes in this entire new series before it's all over. Selden also returns as a narrator, and the mystery of where did Selden go after Tintaglia disappeared will finally be answered. Hest also gets some point of view chapters. And characteristically of Hobb, Hest manages to garner some more hatred from the reader, but also some sympathy as well. 

City of Dragons concludes with some powerful character moments, as certain characters make big decisions about their futures and what it will hold for them. With lots of cliff-hangers in the plot, I can't wait for the final volume to see some pretty big character clashes that have been a long time coming.

Score: 8.6

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