The dragon keepers and the fledgling dragons are forging a passage up the treacherous Rain Wild River. They are in search of the mythical Elderling city of Kelsingra, and are accompanied by the liveship Tarman, its captain, Leftrin, and a group of hunters who must search the forests for game with which to keep the dragons fed. With them are Alise, who has escaped her cold marriage to the cruel libertine Hest Finbok in order to continue her study of dragons, and Hest's amanuensis, Bingtown dandy, Sedric.
Reviewed on 3rd February 2013
The second book in the Rain Wilds Chronicles is more the second half of the first book than a separate novel. It follows the journey of the dragons, their keepers and the rest of the party as they travel up the Rain Wilds river to find the legendary city of Kelsingra.
It's not really an exciting tale of adventure though, rather more looking at the characters and how they, and the relationships between them, develop over time. As such, while it's interesting to follow their lives, the narrative isn't really gripping and I didn't find I was as hooked as I have been with earlier Robin Hobb novels.
The characters are good, varied, and perhaps deeper than ever before. Really I suppose this is a love story, a little reminiscent of the film Love Actually, as it follows the budding romances between pairs of characters, and the collapse of others. In this, it's really good, and there's one particular relationship that I found fascinating to follow.
It's quite different to the author's usual tales, and I quite liked the variety, but didn't find it as engaging. It's a little slow and is very much the middle and end of the story started in The Dragon Keeper.