“I like to pretend Ms. Hobb wrote this book just for me. I've enjoyed her work thoroughly, but I have to say her Liveship Traders was by far my favorite. So the return to the mysterious Rain Wilds and that wonderful dragon plot line is a dream come true.
But alas, all is not well with the dragons and their Rain Wilds home. Misfortune and bad timing has led to dragons hardly worth the title, stunted things unable to properly care for themselves who burden the Rain Wilds folk. They dream of yet another city promising a better life, so dragon keepers are hired to attend the dragons up the river.
It's somewhat simpler than Hobb's other stories, and there does not yet seem to be a strong dose of the fantastical here. And yet, I think this is why I am so fond of it. This has a strong flavor of adventure that does not seem to rely yet on any magical plot line (not that I doubt one won't appear and I won't adore it).
The story focuses namely on two characters. Thymara is a teenager marked heavily by the Rain Wilds who takes on one of the dragon keeper jobs. The other is Alise, a rich-yet-unhappy Bingtown wife who is enchanted by the entire idea of dragons. Both of their stories eventually lead them on what promises to be an exciting trip along the river.
Those not used to Hobb's style may not appreciate the leisurely pacing, but I found it easy to drop into the story as she sets it up. Her characters are as wonderful as always, and the dragons are a hoot. Hobb and half the other characters no longer seem as set on making them out to be wondrous and therefore superior creatures--and I think that will make this story spicy enough.
With an enchanting setting and one heck of a cliffhanger, this promises to be another wonderful tale from Robin Hobb. ”