Mar 13, 2010

Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb

One reviewer said this book was Pride and Prejudice with Dragons.  I would offer that this is 'ChickLit' with dragons. The dragons even sparkle in the sun, if that's what you like.
To be honest I was disappointed with this book.   Disappointed that it was the last in the series, that is. It finished where I expected it to, so the story of what happens next will hopefully be explored in another series. (Update 17th July 2016:  Wow, I was really wrong with this. The series extended for two more books.... which I faithfully read). 

Robin Hobb fans (like myself) will read this book no matter how bad a review it gets. In Dragon Haven, the quest for the Elderling city of Kelsingra continues.  The narrative was gripping enough that I wanted to keep reading but there was always a nagging feeling of when will something happen?  When some action did happen it was concluded quickly.  This novel is character driven not action driven.  One reviewer said this book was Pride and Prejudice with Dragons.  Not having read Pride and Prejudice, I cannot comment about that but I feel that does ring true as relationships and lots of dialogue takes precedence over action.  I would offer that this is 'ChickLit' with dragons.  The dragons even sparkle in the sun, if that's what you like.

The central theme of this book was Transformation.  The Dragons were transforming from brutish beasts into... real dragons.  Their Keepers were transforming into the fabled Elderlings (part human part dragon).  The more the dragon and keeper interacted with each other the quicker both of them transformed.  The relationships between the characters was changing but most importantly the characters of the main characters were changing.  Their personalities were being forged in the furnace of the quest and under the hammer of the traumas they faced. 

Just as the Dragons guided the transformation which was happening to their Keepers, two human Hunters on the expedition, Carson and Jess, guide the transformation of character within two of the young men, Sedric and Greft respectively, for better and worse.  I was happy to see the outcome of Sedrics' transformation even though the journey was painful to read about. 

The biggest gem in this book for me was a speech given to all the females on the expedition by Bellin.  A normally taciturn woman and background character, she steps to the fore in a time of distress and takes charge.  Bellin gets six pages in the spotlight, most of it a speach which is backed up by her actions.
'It's not fair' Bellin agreeded heavily.  'It's never fair, girl.  So all you can do in this hard and unfair world is make sure you're giving yourself and your baby the best shot you can at having a life.  Get a partner, one with guts.  Or don't get a child.  It's that simple.'
I felt very uncomfortable with the homosexual encounters sprinkled through this book. However, being a fan of Robin Hobbs' writting and of this 'Realm of the Elderlings' series, I would still have read Dragon Haven even if I had been prewarned.

Interested in The Rain Wild Chronicles?  Start with the first book Dragon Keeper.

Dragon Keeper (The Rain Wild Chronicles, Book 1)

Use the links below to grab your copy

WolfsBooks may get a commission, this will help me buy more books so it should be a win-win for us both. 

Enjoy reading more and thinking more... with your favourite beverage!

Others in the series:

Dragon Haven
(The Rain Wild Chronicles, Book 2)
City of Dragons
(The Rain Wild Chronicles, Book 3)
Blood of Dragons
(The Rain Wild Chronicles, Book 4)

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