Backlist Burndown Review: City of Dragons by Robin Hobb
Series: Rain Wild Chronicles #3
Also by this author: Fool's Assassin
Published by Harper Voyager on February 7th 2012
Also in this series: Dragon Keeper
Once, dragons ruled the Rain Wilds, tended by privileged human servants known as Elderlings. But a series of cataclysmic eruptions nearly drove these magnificent creatures to extinction. Born weak and deformed, the last of their kind had one hope for survival: to return to their ancient city of Kelsingra. Accompanied by a disparate crew of untested young keepers, the dragons embarked on a harsh journey into the unknown along the toxic Rain Wild River. Battling starvation, a hostile climate, and treacherous enemies, dragons and humans began to forge magical connections, bonds that have wrought astonishing transformations for them all. And though Kelsingra is finally near, their odyssey has only begun.
Because of the swollen waters of the Rain Wild River, the lost city can be reached only by flight—a test of endurance and skill beyond the stunted dragons’ strength. Venturing across the swift-running river in tiny boats, the dragon scholar Alise and a handful of keepers discover a world far different from anything they have ever known or imagined. Immense, ornate structures of black stone veined with silver and lifelike stone statues line the silent, eerily empty streets. Yet what are the whispers they hear, the shadows of voices and bursts of light that flutter and are gone? And why do they feel as if eyes are watching them?
The dragons must plumb the depths of their ancestral memories to help them take flight and unlock the secrets buried in Kelsingra. But enemies driven by greed and dark desires are approaching. Time is running out, not only for the dragons but for their human keepers as well.
City of Dragons is the third of the four book Rain Wild Chronicles. I have to admit, I binge read this entire series back to back and so I feel like I can’t comment on how this book stands by itself. I have seen complaints about the story arc of this one, that it did not feel like a self contained story. All I can tell you for sure is that I enjoyed the hell out of it, and was eager for the next book.
The dragons and their keepers finally find Kelisingra, the utopian city the dragon’s have been dreaming of. For the dragons to get there, they have to fly. This is a major challenge for the dragons who were born deformed and have been almost sickly. Some respond with great determination, others with resignation. It is interesting to see how it plays out and how each dragon (and their keeper) handle the challenge.
For the keepers who can get there by boat, what they find is an amazing city unlike anything in the human world. Full of ornate craftsmanship and magical artifacts, it is nothing short of amazing. But it is also has the feel of a place lost in time, a place that has been abandoned.
One of the things I loved about this was seeing how the keepers and dragons go about setting up their own new settlement and civilization. They realize they can dismiss the laws that had governed them before and start fresh, make decisions as to what is socially acceptable and allowable here versus the world they came from.
Overall, it was another great book. Alice still struggles a bit, but that seems to be her personality. She does find her ways to shine, and that makes it worth it. Still recommend the series and author, no surprise there.
I have challenged and committed myself to reading at least one book from my backlist every month and posting the review on the last Friday of the month. I invite anyone interested to join me and link up their own Backlist Burndown reviews. I will offer the link at the bottom of my monthly Backlist Burndown reviews, and also will keep a running record of the reviews on my Dracarys! Backlist Burndown page available from my top menu.