11th book into The Realm of the Elderlings Series and Robin Hobb is still fascinating me by revealing the world that she has built. Hobb’s focus is always the characters and using what the characters go through to illuminate the world building to the reader. Dragon Haven is no different as we learn so much about Elderlings and their relationships with dragons. Because these books are so late in the series it is hard to talk about this book in any real detail. It is basically the journey of a dozen or so dragons with some Rain Wilds teenagers to find the fabled lost city of Kelsingra.
The plot of this book and the previous book are really simple but the character’s relationships with each other and their circumstances drive the story forward. Yes, there is a lot more relationship, love, and YA like romance in these books than in all of her other books. Almost all of the characters in the Rain Wild Chronicles are either trying to be in a relationship or have to deal with others trying to be in a relationship with them. Because of that, these books have a much different feel to them than her previous books. They are like The Liveship Trader books but without the seafaring and a lot more Maltas. This is not to say that these aren’t as good or they are bad, they just have a different feel to them. I still enjoy them because Hobb writes characters I grow to care about.
I will always recommend you read her books in order and not skip anything. For me, these books are about filling in the past and learning about the world long ago that impacts the current age. The mosaic that Hobb is putting together is fantastic. I would be very curious to know if she is adding to the world building as she goes or she already had everything planned out from the beginning.
I think that my favorite part of this book was an older female character basically giving a sex education talk to the young girls. It was a dramatic scene but it was done in a way that was humorous as well. I feel that The Rain Wild Chronicles is the most progressive of Hobb’s writing. There are multiple gay characters and she uses these adolescents to touch on subjects found in many YA reads. You can definitely tell that the culture and generation she wrote these in are much different than when she wrote the Farseer books. I personally find the idea that 15 years apart, that the two series within her larger series, can be so different when dealing with adolescents and reflect the times that she wrote the books.
Anyway, a good second book, and I’m looking forward to an even better third and fourth book.
17/25 Possible Score
3 – Plot
4 – Characters
4 – World Building
3 – Writing Style
3 – Heart & Mind Aspect