Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Review: City of Dragons

I caught the flu from upstairs, so I did a lot of sitting on the couch today. A lot. But on the plus side, I finished another book, and made some significant progress on a DS game. And we found a sub for our Primary class tomorrow, so we can expect a repeat performance of couch sitting instead of infecting our class with the plague.

Anyway, my excellent brother lent me City of Dragons: Volume Three of the Rain Wilds Chronicles by Robin Hobb from the library after he finished it Thursday, so I started it yesterday and burned through the rest of it today in between bouts of coughing and taking naps.


This is the sequel to previously reviewed Dragon Keeper and Dragon Haven, so if you want to read it you should probably read the other two first. And lest you get hoodwinked by the previously established norm of Hobb writing only trilogies, this one is actually a quartet. Or trilogy in disguise, if you prefer, since I believe the first two books were originally one book that got split.

City of Dragons picks up almost immediately after Dragon Haven leaves off in true Hobb style. I don't want to say too much about the plot since that would be difficult without making it full of spoilers, but if you've read the first two, you know that this story has a really, really slow burn. The whole first two books seemed a long setup for the story, and while they were interesting, they felt like the beginning of a story. In City of Dragons, all that waiting and buildup finally starts paying off. The dragons from the first two books start developing more personality and ability beyond being whiny and useless (yay!), and many of the main characters grow quite a bit as well. 

We have a few more viewpoints added in to the story at this point, giving it added depth and complexity and showing how much this story actually encompasses. We learn more about the motivations behind some characters that have been mostly off stage before this, and even though they're still despicable human beings they still manage to beg a drop of sympathy from the reader. 

Once again Hobb proves her ability to tell sprawling, complex tales that are much bigger than they initially appear. Though Fitz's and the Fool's stories (from the Farseer trilogy and The Tawny Man trilogy) will always be my favorite, I thoroughly enjoyed this latest installment in the same world. I'm sad that I have to wait til next year for book 4... this will be the first series in this world that I have to wait to read the ending of. (The first three trilogies she wrote were already completed when my brothers introduced them to me.)

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