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Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb

Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden writes fantasy fiction under the pen name Robin Hobb. She also writes contemporary fiction as Megan Lindholm. Hobb is most famous for her novels set in The Realm of the Elderlings, including The Farseer TrilogyThe Liveship Traders Trilogy, The Tawny Man Trilogy, and, most recently, The Rain Wilds ChroniclesDragon Haven is the second book of The Rain Wilds Chronicles. Hobb is currently working on an untitled book which will include some of the characters fromThe Rain Wilds Chronicles.

The dragon keepers and the fledgling dragons are forging a passage through the uncharted and treacherous waters of the Rain Wild River, supported by the liveship Tarman, its captain, Leftrin, and Alise Finbok, who has escaped her cruel marriage in Bingtown. They are searching for the mythical city of Kelsingra, hoping to find a safe haven away from the society that has rejected them. 

When a vial of dragon blood can earn a man enough gold to last a lifetime, there may be some in the party who see the growing dragons as more valuable as body parts than whole and alive. But it is the Rain Wilds themselves – mysterious, unstable and ever perilous – that may provide the deadliest danger, one that will push them all to the very brink of survival. 

The second book in The Rain wilds Chronicles continues the journey of a small company of humans and dragons in search of a lost city. This book demands that both humans and dragons learn from one another and overcome their difficulties. The dragons, born disfigured and unable to hunt and fly, rediscover what it means to be a dragon. Many of the dragons and keepers bond strongly throughout the novel, and it is only Sintara who continues to be self-centred. Sintara’s refusal to bond with her keeper and continued arrogance becomes boring quickly. 

The humans on the journey grow through their relationships with one another. Rain Wilder Thymara is afraid to have relationships with men she admires because of the physical defects which make her, and her fellow dragon keepers, outcasts in the Rain Wilds society. I admired her continual strength and self confidence, and her refusal to let others make decisions for her. The character development of Alise is centred around dealing with accepting the nature of her relationship with her husband. I found her to be a much more enjoyable to read once she took her life into her own hands. 

In contrast to the previous book, the end of Dragon Haven was satisfying and although it left room to continue the story in the future, the plot line gave closure. Robin Hobb’s world building skills, trademark character development and unique portrayal of the coming age of a group of malformed dragons make this novel a delight to read. Her multi-faceted characters and twisting plot take you right into the world she creates. The slow revelation of the secrets of dragon magic and the connection between humans, Elderlings and dragons was satisfying and answered many of my questions while leaving some territory unexplored for the next book. 

About the book:

  • Pub. Date: 01 April 2011
  • Publisher: HarperVoyager
  • Format:  Paperback, 560 pages
  • ISBN 13: 9780007349104 ISBN 10: 0007349106
  • Categories: Fantasy

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