I’m back into The Realm of the Elderlings and I certainly missed it. I missed Robin Hobb’s slow character building and detailed scenes. Dragon Keeper focuses our attention on the Rain Wilds and a few characters from Bingtown as well. Our first character is a debutante woman, named Alise, from Bingtown with a scholarly appreciation to learn more about the dragons and Elderlings. She is in a loveless marriage with a man, Hest, that is in a relationship with his male assistant, Sedric. In exchange for possibly giving Hest an heir, Alise is free to spend Hest’s money on acquiring scrolls that detail the history of the Elderlings and Dragons. When Alise gets an opportunity to visit the newly hatched Dragons, deformed as they are, she jumps at the opportunity to journey up river along with Sedric. This part of the story really reminded me of Marie Brennan’s The Memoirs of Lady Trent books.
Our other main character is a young Rain Wilds girl named Thymara. She has claws and scaling that causes her to be on the outside of the Rain Wilds’ society but she is also resourceful and a great hunter-gatherer. When the opportunity to go up the river with the Dragons to find their legendary home of Kelsingra happens, Thymara volunteers to join the dragons as a helper. When Alise gets to the launching of the party city and finds everyone is leaving with her scholarly subjects, she decides to go on this adventure with all the Rain Wild teenagers to study the Dragons.
Like most Hobb books, this is a slow burn of a book. The details I talked about above cover the majority of the book. There are a few other characters we get points of view from but Thymara and Alise are the most important. Hobb likes to give the reader inexperienced characters that will have great character growth through a series and I must admit that these characters are in a great position to have some specular growth. I cannot wait to see how the characters change and grow as we move on into this story. I’m hoping the men make a big change in character because, other than Tats, they are all really unlikable.
I liked this book but it is very much a setup book. A lot less happens in this book than the other Hobb first books and because of that I only gave it a 3. Even though I enjoyed it and love the characters, for the most part, the book is uneventful. I read this in the physical book and on audiobook and I was happy to do so. I think the audiobook made the slow parts a lot more engaging. So my recommendation is to check your library app and see if this is available and listen to some/read some.
Super happy to be back reading Hobbs books and looking forward to the next three books in this series.
13/25 Possible Score
3 – Plot
3 – Characters
2 – World Building
3 – Writing Style
2 – Heart and Mind Aspect