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Dragon Keeper: Volume One of the Rain Wilds Chronicles [Mass Market Paperback]

Robin Hobb
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 10 2011 Rain Wilds Chronicles (Book 1)

“Robin Hobb is one of our very best fantasy writers.”
New York Times bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson

With Dragon Keeper, Robin Hobb, critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling “master fantasist” (Baltimore Sun), begins a breathtaking  new series about the resurgence of dragons in a world that both needs and fears them—the world Hobb’s readers most recently visited in her immensely popular “Tawny Man” trilogy. Volume One of the Rain Wilds Chronicles, Dragon Keeper is yet another magnificent adventure from the author of  The Soldier Son and Farseer Trilogies, confirming the Contra Costa Times of California’s assessment of Hobb as “one of the most important writers in 21st century fantasy.”

Frequently Bought Together

Dragon Keeper: Volume One of the Rain Wilds Chronicles + Dragon Haven: Volume Two of the Rain Wilds Chronicles + City Of Dragons: Volume Three of the Rain Wilds Chronicles
Price For All Three: CDN$ 27.06

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Product Description


“In a novel as good as it is massive, the first of two Rain Wilds Chronicles...Hobb continues to occupy a perch at or near the top among contemporary fantasists. This book is imaginative, literate, and compassionate from first page to last.” (Booklist (starred review))

“Hobb does an admirable job of creating a complex and engaging medieval fantasy world …with originality and subtlety [she handles] such traditional fantasy elements as dragons and magical items…A nicely imagined fantasy setting that will engage readers and raise anticipation for the second installment. (Kirkus Reviews)

“Hobb’s meticulously realized fantasy tale is a welcome addition to contemporary dragon lore.” (Publishers Weekly)

From the Back Cover

Too much time has passed since the powerful dragon Tintaglia helped the people of the Trader cities stave off an invasion of their enemies. The Traders have forgotten their promises, weary of the labor and expense of tending earthbound dragons who were hatched weak and deformed. If neglected, the creatures will rampage—or die—so itis decreed that they must move farther upriver toward Kelsingra, the mythical homeland whose location is locked deep within the dragons’ uncertain ancestral memories.

Thymara, an unschooled forest girl, and Alise, wife of an unloving and wealthy Trader, are among the disparate group entrusted with escorting the dragons to their new home. And on an extraordinary odyssey with no promise of return, many lessons will be learned—as dragons and tenders alike experience hardships, betrayals...and joys beyond their wildest imaginings.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return to the Rain Wilds July 28 2009
Although this book is yet to be available in North America, I knew it was being released 6 months earlier in the UK. Being a huge Hobb fan I ordered it from Amazon.uk. Hobb spins a tale of the hatched dragons starting sometime shortly after the last Liveship book.

As always I was drawn into the story and characters quickly. The brief apperances of some of the characters we know and love really added to the tale. One thing is for sure, when the second installment is out, I will once again be ordering from across the seas. I am not sure when the next release date is but with the quality of Dragon Keeper I am sure there will be a lot more people anxiously awaiting its arrival.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good idea that never quite works Feb. 21 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Firstly and for those that don't know, this book is set in Robin Hobbs long standing universe and therefore has a whole host of books preceding it. As an absolute minimum you should read The Liveships Traders trilogy first, and ideally each of the following.

The Farseer Trilogy (3 books) >> The Liveship Traders Trilogy (3 books) >> The Tawny Man Trilogy (3 books).

So on to the review, is the Dragon Keeper a good book? Well, at the risk of being harsh (something I loathe in a review) it's.....ok, but much less so than any of the above. It's hard to tell if the author overachieved earlier in her career or is underachieving now, but either way this return to her classic universe does not deliver the hoped for return to form.

Let's be clear, Dragon Keeper is not a bad book per say, but a sluggish pace, characters it's hard to identify with and a somewhat meandering story seriously undermine its positive aspects (the irritating, somewhat loathsome nature of the Dragons doesn't help much either).

The bottom line? If you enjoyed her earlier work then this will make for a few hours of reasonably entertaining reading, but unfortunately (and as much as I admire and respect the author) that's about all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Up the river without a paddle May 16 2010
Usually when there are dragons reintroduced into a fantasy world, they end up being strong, smart, beautiful, and all the rest of it.

But Robin Hobb examines a different idea: what if something hadn't gone quite right with the forming dragons? "Dragon Keeper: Volume One of the Rain Wilds" is a slow-moving, richly detailed book that builds on the past events of her last two trilogies, but introduces a rather different dilemma and radically different characters.

Five years ago, the dragon Tintaglia led a number of exhausted, half starved sea serpents to the Rain Wilds, and oversaw them going into their cocoons. But when they emerged, these new dragons were deformed and stunted in mind and body. Now Tintaglia has gone off with her new mate, leaving the hungry flightless dragons to be fed by the Rain Wilds people who are uncovering Cassarick -- and both dragons and humans are rapidly getting sick of this miserable arrangement.

So the dragons trick the humans into agreeing to take them to the ancient Elderling city of Kelsingra, along with several human keepers. Among those on the journey are the deformed locals including a girl named Thymara, and with an unhappily-married scholar named Alise. But can the strong personalities among the embittered dragons and their equally deformed keepers avoid clashes -- and who will make it up the river?

As dragoncentric books go, "Dragon Keeper" is pretty lacking in glamour. The dragons are stunted, petty, flea-bitten, muddy and fed on spoiled meat, and they live in a rainforesty region full of mud and acid rivers. Fun. The biggest problem is that "Dragon Keeper" goes SLOWLY -- it feels like somebody split one massive book in half, and that this is the first part before the plot really gets moving.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow going at first, but worth it July 18 2010
Like most of Hobb's books, Dragon Keeper drags a little for the first half. It takes its own sweet time establishing the main characters and reaching the ultimate plot line. However, once it does, Hobb sweeps the reader along in her usual style, adding plot intricacies and unexpected twists as she goes.

One of the two main characters, Thymara, is very much an adolescent, which I feel is somewhat of a new area for Hobb. FitzChivalry, from the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies, passed through adolescence but it did not define him. Thymara is very much a confused teenager and though there is more to her, Dragon Keeper (and I assume Dragon Haven) is more of a coming-of-age story than Hobb's previous works. This has its good and bad points, but Thymara as an adolescent is, thankfully, a fairly compelling character.

Another facet of this novel and what I've read of the next are the homosexual relationships, which Hobb has toyed with in the past but never in this depth. I won't comment on whether I liked or disliked the addition, only that it's there.

A solid novel. Hobb remains one of my favorite fantasy authors.
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