Dragon Haven (Rain Wilds Chronicles, Vol. 2)
Most readers have a go-to author whom they’ll recommend to just about anyone; Robin Hobb is mine. Her fantasy is rich and detailed, and never fails to engross me.
Her most well-developed work has spanned three trilogies so far, and is well into the fourth with Dragon Haven.
The long-awaited hatching of the dragons hasn’t proven to be the wondrous event that was anticipated. The young dragons are stunted and temperamental, and Tintaglia — the only adult dragon — has flown away and abandoned her responsibilities to them. Desperate to escape the negligent care of the humans of the Rain Wilds, the dragons are moving upriver to find Kelsingra, their ancestral home.
They’re accompanied by caretakers and companions, sent to hunt for the dragons and provide for their care. These companions include Thymara, a Rain Wilds girl so touched by the region’s magic that she’s considered to be deformed; Alise, a scholar from Bingtown who is obsessed with dragon lore; her friend Sedric, a man with ulterior motives about selling dragon body parts; and Leftrin, a barge captain with a secret to hide at all costs.
Together, they forge into the depths of the Rain Wilds, seeking a place that may not exist, on a journey that could prove fatal to all.
Hobb’s world-building is one of her greatest talents. Longtime fans are quite familiar with this world, and yet Hobb continues to surprise, as she takes readers deeper into the Rain Wilds and its customs than ever before. She creates cities in the trees and dangerous swampy rivers: cities rebuilding from disaster and the glittering world of the ruling classes.
It’s easy to visualize where she takes us.
The characters are multidimensional, and they grow and change over time. This isn’t simply limited to the humans; the dragons have their own story arc to follow, which is every bit as interesting as the others. Hobb even gives us characters we love to hate, chief among them Greft, the oldest dragonkeeper.
Most of all, Hobb’s writing contains a richness that allows readers to get lost in her stories. This world is filled with color, light and action, and she gives readers just enough without drowning us in detail. It’s easy to lose hours in her novels.
This sequel to Dragon Keeper continues Hobb’s tradition of fantasy with memorable characters, tons of action and broad swaths of world-building.
Get involved in Hobb’s world, if you haven’t already.
This review originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on August 19, 2010.