book reviews by Althea

The Dragon Keeper – Robin Hobb ****

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(Rain Wild Chronicles #1)

Yay! The Rain Wilds are back!
This book takes up the story following the Liveship Traders trilogy.
I have to say, the introduction to the story was done masterfully. You know how some authors start a series, and the first chapter or so is an awkward reiteration of “what already happened?”
Well, this does that – and it needs it, because, seriously, it’s been twelve years since the Liveship Traders trilogy finished (!), and I could use the reminder. But it doesn’t feel forced or awkward at all. I was impressed.
The story focuses on the return of the endangered dragons to the Rain Wilds, and a number of people who are caught up with the dragons’ fate. The reality of the dragons is not the glorious thing that many hoped it would be: politics and finance play a significant role.
Among the main characters: Alise, a smart but naive young woman who finds herself in a loveless marriage (as to why it’s loveless: duh, is anyone that naive!?) and focuses her energy on scholarship – anything to do with dragons. Thymara: a young girl, physically mutated. According to Rain Wilds custom, she should have been exposed at birth, but her loving father saved her. Leftrin: a barge captain, who steals the now-forbidden wizardwood for his liveship…
Overall, the book is really good. It’s not the best in this lengthy epic, and it takes a little bit to get going, but it’s very enjoyable.


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