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Once, dragons ruled the Rain Wilds, tended by privileged human servants known as Elderlings. But a series of cataclysmic eruptions nearly drove these magnificent creatures to extinction. Born weak and deformed, the last of their kind had one hope for survival: to return to their ancient city of Kelsingra. Accompanied by a disparate crew of untested young keepers, the dragons embarked on a harsh journey into the unknown along the toxic Rain Wild River.
Battling starvation, a hostile climate, and treacherous enemies, dragons and humans began to forge magical connections, bonds that have wrought astonishing transformations for them all. And though Kelsingra is finally near, their odyssey has only begun.
Because of the swollen waters of the Rain Wild River, the lost city can be reached only by flight - a test of endurance and skill beyond the stunted dragons’ strength. Venturing across the swift-running river in tiny boats, the dragon scholar Alise and a handful of keepers discover a world far different from anything they have ever known or imagined. Immense, ornate structures of black stone veined with silver and lifelike stone statues line the silent, eerily empty streets. Yet what are the whispers they hear, the shadows of voices and bursts of light that flutter and are gone? And why do they feel as if eyes are watching them?
The dragons must plumb the depths of their ancestral memories to help them take flight and unlock the secrets buried in Kelsingra. But enemies driven by greed and dark desires are approaching. Time is running out, not only for the dragons but for their human keepers as well.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Tyler on 02-13-12
Story was incomplete and felt rushed
I just finished the audiobook and was disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I love Robin Hobb and most all of her books, but I knew something was wrong with this book when I saw that this book was only 13 hours when all of her others were at least 20+. Without any spoilers I felt this book was all filler drama to make an extra buck. This can't be the end of the series because there was not much progress from the last book. New problems that were introduced in this book were not even resolved. Anyways all bagging on the story aside, I was glad I read it. It wasn't horrible, it just felt incomplete and like it had no real ending.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
By Sharon on 03-29-12
Safe to call it Rain Wilds Chronicles Part 3A
I think some of the other reviews for this have been a little unfair.
City of Dragons is the third book in Robin Hobb's Rain Wild Chronicles. According to Hobb, the first two books (Dragon Keeper and Dragon Haven) were actually intended to be one book, but were split due to length. And the third and (forthcoming) fourth books were the same. City of Dragons is not a standalone book—it has no climax, virtually no resolution to its myriad storylines, and in fact where you would expect things to be wrapping up it only spawns new plot threads. In a genre where Pat Rothfuss can publish The Wise Man's Fear and we get innumerable Wheel of Time doorstops I'd question whether splitting the story was really necessary, but, regardless, my rating and review are with the understanding that I'm only looking at part of a whole.
Hobb's trademarks are all there: an immersive setting, lush prose, and deep, sympathetic characters. But this book doesn't feel as dark or as desperate as Hobb's other writing. There are threats, such as the fear that with Kelsingra known it will be overrun by treasure seekers, and the mysterious Chalcedean conspiracy. And problems, like the shortage of food and supplies, or the fact the dragons can't fly and so are completely dependent on their keepers. But none of these things feels particularly urgent or unmanageable. Disaster is not imminent. There are a few exceptions, such as one very desperate scene on the dark branches of the tree city of Cassarick (you'll know it when you read it)—but even that scene feels brief and truncated.
The result is that City of Dragons isn't focused on the dragons and keepers like the earlier volumes. It is a much broader book, showing the rippling consequences of Kelsingra's discovery and setting into motion all the forces that will no doubt clash in the finale.
But not every book needs to ratchet up suspense to unbearable levels. The book is a process of discovery, learning about the past and hoping for the possibilities of the future. Will the ancient society be restored, Elderlings and dragons living in symbiosis? And it is very much about relationships (romantic and otherwise). People are constantly forced to make choices about who to trust, who to be with, and then dealing with the consequences of those choices. Combine that with all the threads Hobb left in motion, and the final book promises to be an exciting conclusion to the series!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful