Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb

The final book in The Rain Wild Chronicles, Blood of Dragons, concludes the epic journey of the dragons and their keepers and reveals the fates of some of the major characters whom we’ve grown to know, love and loathe over the course of four novels.

The future of Kelsingra hangs in the balance and with it, that of the newly formed Elderlings and their dragons. Mining the memories of the Elderlings past from the stone in the ancient city, it becomes apparent that only one thing can guarantee the dragons and their keepers have a future – a precious resource upon which everyone’s survival depends. But as time passes, the reasonBlood of Dragons (The Rain Wild Chronicles, #4)s Kelsingra was abandoned and the dragons nearly died out becomes apparent and hope for finding this resource swiftly fades.

Close to home, treachery is afoot as certain Bingtown Traders make plans to descend on Kelsingra with a view to exploiting the wealth they believe litters the magical streets. In exotic and deadly Chalced, plots stir as the ruler formulates great plans for his survival, something that’s contingent upon dragon sacrifice and more.

The world Hobb has created here – one begun a long time ago with the Assassin’s Apprentice series, where the Rain Wilds are eluded to before being more fleshed out in the Liveship Traders series – is a beautiful haunting and dangerous place. Acid waters, rainforests and tree-dwellers, physical deformities, living ships that bond with their owners, never mind inept, narcissistic and deadly dragons as well as abused and abusive spouses all populate this magnificent and bleak world. The central characters are brought to life over the course of four books and, like the dragons who play such a pivotal role in their lives, slowly emerge from their cocoons to spread their wings and shine brightly when they’re needed or have the justice they’ve stealthily evaded forced upon them.

While some parts of the tale appear slightly rushed or brushed over (eg, the final battle over Chalced) others were given the time they deserved and the characters at the heart were satisfyingly completed. You know that’s the case when you can imagine them living beyond the last page and, as I closed the book, I could see such potential for the wondrous city of Kelsingra and the people who, along with the triumphant dragons, have chosen to call it home.

A fitting and delightful end to a complicated, sometimes slow-moving but, I felt, always gripping tale of survival, memory, power struggles and triumph against extraordinary odds. And dragons. We cannot forget the beautiful dragons.

 

 

 

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