Speculating on SpecFic

Fantastic Literature: From epic fantasy to fairytales to myth-making

Dragon Keeper (The Rain Wild Chronicles)

The Dragon Keeper - Robin Hobb Read the full review here.As usual, Hobb's characterisation is absolutely flawless in this novel. The story is primarily told through Sintara, a dragon who cannot fly, and Thymara, a Rain Wilds girl who was allowed to survive despite being born with scales and claws. Interspersed are the view points of Alisa, a Trader-born woman in an unhappy marriage, her childhood friend Sedric, and the captain who is ferrying them on the Rain Wilds River, Leftrin. These characters are so wonderfully described that I never dreaded a change in point-of-view. I feel that they grew in predictable ways through the course of the story, and the only negative point is that I was never surprised by any of the major developments in the novel.I have always found Hobb's level of world-building impressive, and this book did not disappoint. The descriptions were vivid and rich in detail and I absolutely loved it. The story is mainly set in the river valley that used to be the dragon's breeding ground, where the dragons have not visited for generations, and has become swampland, marsh and rain forest in the intervening years. Humans live in the trees and have discovered ruined Elderling cities, but they do not understand the things they find there. The level of thought into the ecology of a world is rarely seen in fantastic literature, and makes this book a thought provoking read.The most annoying aspect of the novel is that it it does not have a conclusion. The story is set up very slowly and the journey of the dragons and their keepers only begins half way through the book. The novel is paced as though it is a much larger book, and comes to an abrupt halt. The lack of conflict (and its subsequent resolution) left me disappointed. I would suggest that this book should not be read unless its sequel is close at hand.