“I picked up Dragon Keeper through Amazon's monthly Kindle deals right after I got my Paperwhite. Robin Hobb wasn't an author I'd yet read, but I'd heard of her and the synopsis of the book sounded intriguing. A world of dragons, but not the sort one usually expects. It sounded like something I hadn't read before, and I eagerly snapped it up for the sale price.
While the book had me enthralled, I have to admit, not a whole lot happens. This is very clearly a 'set up' book, one that's main purpose is to introduce you to the cast of characters you'll be following, get you attached, and ready to follow their adventures. That's certainly not to say the book was boring, there's just not any epic quests or major continent-crossing traveling going on. The action picks up at the end, and leaves you excited for the next book, ready to continue on with the travels of the characters you now care about.
The characters themselves were well fleshed out to me, and the world is interesting and wonderfully described. I found that Hobb has a good balance in her descriptive writing, and I never felt the need to skim through any long winded but ultimately boring explanations of the world. A large cast will keep you occupied as the story switches between their perspectives, and the interesting relationships between the humans of the world, Elderlings, Dragons, Sea Serpents, and Liveships left me intrigued and wanting to learn more.
Perhaps the only part of the book I did not like, or rather, did not bother to read, were the small bits between the chapters about the bird keepers and their letters sent back and forth. Hobb uses these to break up the action, and apparently give little insights into the communications between the various towns and cities. However, the information they contained was rarely, if ever important, and I found myself either skimming or outright skipping them. A neat idea, but ultimately it didn't add anything to the story and was a minor distraction.
I discovered that this Rain Wild's series takes place in the same world as several of Hobb's other series, which is something I definitely appreciate. While Dragon keeper is apparently not the book that's first up to be read if you are reading chronologically, I was never at a loss of what was going on, or felt at a disadvantage for not having read the other books. Each of the series supposedly stands alone and is readable to someone knew to the particular world within the books.
Overall, I really did enjoy Dragon Keeper despite it being more character than action driven. With the pace having picked up towards the end of the book, and adventures starting to be had, I've already purchased the second book to start very soon. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy or dragons, and look forward to sampling more of Hobb's work in the future!”
Beargoat wrote this review Friday, November 8, 2013.