City of Dragons by Robin Hobb was a really different Hobb book for me. I felt that this book just didn’t seem like a whole. Everything seemed much more rushed than any of her other work. Maybe it is because this book was shorter than her other books or it is because it was split from the last book but it just didn’t have the same feel to me that her other books had. This book catches us up on previous characters in the series like Hest, Malta, Reyn, and Seldan, but also continues to follow the keepers and dragons at Kelsingra.
The characters at Kelsingra were mostly used as a tool for world building in this book and I found that odd. Usually, the world building is done flawlessly through the character’s interactions with each other but in this book, a lot of the answers about Elderlings comes from scenes in which the characterization isn’t being progressed forward much. I found this off-putting or an extreme change of pace from the previous two books in the Rain Wild Chronicles. I liked catching up with Malta, Hest, Reyn, and Seldan but once again it felt different. Their sections were short at times and I’m not used to that with a Hobb book. I’m used to 20+ page sections dealing with a side character. In other words, this book jumped around a lot more frequently and with shorter sections and it felt less like a Robin Hobb book because of that. I think that the splitting of this series into 4 books just doesn’t work too much for me. I would have been happier if this book and the fourth was one large book.
In the end, a 3 star Hobb book is still a great book. The answers the reader got about Elderlings were exciting and I really enjoyed Malta’s section of reading. Hest is definitely one of those characters that I just hate but I also find where his story might go to be exciting. I am looking forward to when all these characters meet back up together and the Chalced narration becoming more clear.
13/25 Possible Score
2 – Plot
3 – Characters
3 – World Building
3 – Writing style
2 – Heart & Mind Aspect