Book Four of the Rain Wilds Chronicles
By Robin Hobb
Available now from Harper Voyager (HarperCollins)
Robin Hobb is one of my favorite fantasy authors. Her worlds are so fully realized and she makes me emphasize with the characters so much, even when they're being petty or foolish or just plain stupid. BLOOD OF DRAGONS brings the Rain Wilds Chronicles to a fabulous close.
Hobb has a tendency to end her series with long denouements. That does not happen in BLOOD OF DRAGONS, and I kind of missed it. I especially could have done with a longer ending to Selden Vestrit's story, post-gigantic dragon battle. And honestly, the gigantic dragon battle was a bit anticlimactic. That's not surprising, because humans versus multiple dragons is not a real battle.
Sedric and Alise's stories mostly came to a close in CITY OF DRAGONS, but Hest - Alise's husband - shows up for that final bit of closure. It's not as dramatic as it could be, and unfortunately leads to spending time in Hest's slimy head. More time is spent on the conclusion of the Thymara, Tats, and Rapskal love triangle. It comes to the inevitable after much rehashing of what's been going on since the first book. But I love that Thymara's stayed firm about making her own choice in her own time and that she doesn't have to pick either guy.
This may sound like I didn't like the book, but I blazed through it. I couldn't wait to find out how everything ended, and who would make it out okay. I liked that BLOOD OF DRAGONS also settled several questions about how the humans and dragons would live together. Hobb has done a wonderful job of showing that the dragons aren't humans in any way, shape, or form, but that they have been affected by their keeper's humanity.
I would not read BLOOD OF DRAGONS without reading the first three books first. And while the quartet can stand on its own, I'd at least read the Liveship Traders trilogy first for background on Bingtown, the Rain Wilds, and Chalced. And better yet, start with the Farseer Trilogy, then the Liveship Traders trilogy, then the Tawny Man trilogy before embarking on the Rain Wilds Chronicles. These four can stand alone together, but they're so much better with the full depth of Hobb's worldbuilding. I am fully satisfied by her latest series and eager to read whatever she writes next.