City of Dragons by Robin Hobb - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoilt for you.
Once dragons ruled the Rain Wilds, tended by privileged human servants known as Elderlings. But now the magnificent creatures have been driven nearly to extinction--and the last of their kind, born weak and deformed, have one last hope of survival: to return to their ancient city of Kelsingra.
After a long and harsh journey, Kelsingra is finally near, on the far side of the toxic Rain Wild River. But the greatest trial still lies ahead for the dragons and their human keepers. Rapidly approaching enemies driven by wickedness, greed, and dark desires covet the treasures that await within the magical city's walls. And to reach their ancestral sanctuary, the dragons must reawaken a power lost to them generations earlier. The dragons must learn to fly. From Goodreads
I was so excited to read City of Dragons that I picked it up as soon as it arrived. So good, I am absolutely loving this series!
The dragons and their keepers, and the crew on board the Tarman liveship that guided them, have arrived at Kelsingra. However, due to the deadly current of the Rain Wild River, they are on the opposite bank to the city, with no safe way across. Rapskall and Heeby did not die in the flood like everyone believed, and in their time apart, Rapskall has taught Heeby to fly, and have been exploring the city. Until all the other dragons can fly, they're stuck on the other side of the river. Captain Leftrin has returned to Cassarick to pick up supplies, and news of the expedition's success spreads quickly. There are those who are desperate to find out all there is to discover about the journey to Kelsingra so they can pillage it for the rare Elderling artefacts they can sell, and those who want to dragon flesh to sell to the Chalcedeans. The dragons' haven might not be safe for too long.
Not a huge deal happens in this book in comparison to the previous two. Kelsingra has been found, and until the river calms down, or until the dragons can fly, no-one can get across safely. The keepers try in their little boats, but it's not the safest way across, and the keepers find the city a bit eerie. Alise is flown across each and every day by Heeby, so she can explore and take notes about Kelsingra, to keep a record for those in the future - before the Rain Wilders inevitably start coming down the river towards the city and tear it apart.
Things do happen though, it's not a whole book of them all just waiting around. Malta and Reyn Khuprus, and Malta's brother Selden Vestrit, the Elderlings from the Liveship Traders series, get to narrate their own parts in the story, as does Hest, and Captain Leftrin continues to do so in Cassarick. We get to see how things are happening with them, and it's with those that more interesting things happen. They're not things I can talk about though without spoiling the story. Yet it's still pretty awesome seeing the lives of the keepers and the dragons in Kelsingra, seeing the city through their eyes, and the wonders it holds. And how it changes things.
There is a moment in City of Dragons that links right back to something that happened in Assassin's Quest, the third book in the Farseer Trilogy. All of these books are part of the Realm of the Elderlings story, and City of Dragons is the twelfth book, so I think it's so awesome to have a moment in the twelfth book linking back all the way to the third, a memory of good ol' Fitz, and it made me smile so much! I won't spoil it, but it's brilliant!
There really isn't a huge amount more I can say about this book without giving away huge spoilers. It is a fantastic book, though and I am so hugely excited to read the fourth and final book in the series, Blood of Dragons! It's going to be amazing!
Published: 14th March 2014
Robin Hobb's Website
My other reviews from the series:
The Dragon Keeper (The Rain Wild Chronicles Book 1)
Dragon Haven (The Rain Wild Chronicles Book 2)