Author: Robin Hobb
Series: Rain Wild Chronicles #2
Genre: Fantasy, Adult Fiction
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.
Rivalries and romances are already threatening to disrupt the band of explorers: but external forces may prove to be even more dangerous. Chalcedean merchants are keen to lay hands on dragon blood and organs to turn them to medicines and profit. Their traitor has infiltrated the expeditionand will stop at nothing to obtain the coveted body parts. And then there are the Rain Wilds themselves: mysterious, unstable and ever perilous, its mighty river running with acid, its jungle impenetrable and its waterways uncharted.
Will the expedition reach their destination unscathed? Does the city of Kelsingra even exist? Only one thing is certain: the journey will leave none of the dragons nor their human companions unchanged by the experience.
Dragon Haven starts right where we left off in Dragon Keeper. As the second half of what was originally meant as one book, this book was more exciting than its first counterpart. As our characters continue their journey, they face harsh realities that come with traveling on the Rain Wild river. There is lack of supplies, brooding desperation, and inevitable confrontations.
I’ve always loved Hobb’s skill in writing her characters; there is no black and white or good and evil and how she captures this level of complexity with all of them baffles me. You will root for some and despise others, but no matter how you feel about them, you will care about their fates.
One thing that stood out about Dragon Haven is the amount of romance in this novel. I’ve read a lot of Hobb’s books and I’m familiar with her style of writing in this area, so it’s not about how she did it, but how often it came up in the story. Everyone suddenly seemed to be pairing off and because I didn’t expect it to happen soon and so quickly, I didn’t know what to make of it.
The last few chapters were definitely my favourite and overall, Dragon Haven is another great book by Hobb. This world is one I never want to leave and I’m excited to see what’s next!