Book Review: Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb

This is the fourth and final book of the Rain Wild Chronicles series, bringing a close to the story of the dragons and their keepers…for now. In the last book, we saw the characters arrive at the legendary Elderling city of Kelsingra, only to find it accessible only by flight.

At the start of Blood of Dragons, many of the dragons have managed to learn to fly, with the rest well on their way to achieving it. The dragonkeepers have also been transformed, becoming beautiful Elderlings. Expeditions have been made into Kelsingra; every day more artifacts are discovered, and more memories are lifted magically from the city’s stones. It’ll all be for naught, however, if the one thing the dragons and their Elderlings need to stay healthy and survive cannot be found — silver, a substance that has the power to heal and rejuvenate, among other mystical properties.

I think I’ve finally gotten into the flow of Robin Hobb’s writing. I love her style, but what I’ve discovered is that her books are not so traditionally structured, which can sometimes make them feel lacking in direction. But unlike the three previous books in the series, this is the first one where I can distinctly identify a climax and a definite ending. Well, this being the last book and all, I would have certainly hoped so.

As a series conclusion, I was pretty satisfied. Still, maybe it’s just me, but so much of it felt driven by pure relationship drama. Of course, there’s a positive side to this; I was extremely looking forward to see how this book will end up dealing with Hest Finbok, for one. Despite being jilted by Alise, he’s still a despicable human being and needed to get his due. There were also the usual conflicts, but the love triangle between Thymara, Tats, and Rapskal seemed to dominate a lot of it. Even the dragons were are getting into the action with their mating quarrels.

And on the topic of the dragons, even after four books I have to say I still haven’t managed to find much sympathy for the arrogant, belligerent creatures (with only a couple exceptions). Take the least flattering stereotypes about cats, and dragons are like that but about a hundred times worse. Is it horrible of me, that I actually wanted to see doom come to Tintaglia when she was caught in the trouble with the human hunters? I definitely wouldn’t fault this against the book though; it’s to Hobb’s credit that she was able to give her dragons such severe qualities and evoke these reactions from me.

My main issue, however, was probably with the subject of the silver wells. I don’t remember them being an important factor in this series at all until this book. All of a sudden, there’s this need for silver, and why is this matter just coming up now? Wouldn’t something like this have been helpful for everyone to know earlier in the expedition? Seems weird that it only came up once the characters are actually in Kelsingra. It’s possible I’m missing something because I haven’t read all the books in the Realm of the Elderlings, but the problem with the search for silver still feels like it came out of nowhere, thrown in as a conflict at the last minute.

Speaking of which, I probably should read the other books. I definitely have the interest and the desire to after reading this series, plus I should really try and finish off the Farseer Trilogy since the second book has been in my to-read list for almost two years. However, Liveship Traders probably interests me more at this point.


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