“They had come so far, yet now that she was here, the years of journeying were already fading in her mind, giving way to the desperate needs of the present.”
– Dragon Keeper, opening line –
Reviewing Robin Hobb’s books has kind of become tradition on this blog, so how could I deprive you of my thoughts on the final two series now that I’ve finished the entire Realm of the Elderlings? Obviously, I couldn’t! Which is why today, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the Rain Wild Chronicles!
I’ve heard several people say that this is their least favorite series of the five, and while that probably holds for me as well, that’s not to say it was bad at all! I loved learning about dragons and Elderlings – after all, I’d been begging for this kind of information ever since I first read The Farseer Trilogy – and the characters really grew on me, too. Especially Sedric! 🥰 I love him nearly as much as I love the Fool, which, if I do say so myself, is truly an achievement.
That being said, I feel like the first two books were definitely the stronger of the four. By the time we got to City of Dragons, there was almost no character development left because every point-of-view character – with the possible exception of Thymara – had already completed their main arc either in the Liveship Traders or in Dragon Haven. Which inevitably made things less exciting…
Besides, I wanted more pain! Although the ending had plenty of destruction, I was hoping for at least a few heart-breaking character deaths, and we didn’t really get that. So while the ending to this series is a masterpiece compared to what we got in Fool’s Fate, I just found it to be a little underwhelming.
Still, apart from that and a few continuity mistakes which, despite being minor, drove me absolutely nuts, this series is excellent! So many plot strands from the previous books start coming together. There’s plenty of action and touching moments between characters. And, of course, there are the dragons. Reading this was 100% worth it!
Some Basic Info:
Series: The Rain Wild Chronicles / The Realm of the Elderlings #10 – #13
Author: Robin Hobb
Page Count: 553 (Dragon Keeper) + 570 (Dragon Haven) + 425 (City of Dragons) + 535 (Blood of Dragons) = 2,083
Publication Date: June 25, 2009 (Dragon Keeper), March 4, 2010 (Dragon Haven), February 7, 2012 (City of Dragons), January 29, 2013 (Blood of Dragons)
Date Read: August 2, 2022 – August 5, 2022
Dragon Keeper: 4.5/5 Stars (How can you expect me not to love this? It introduced us to the dragons! 🥰 I also really fell for Alise and Sedric – despite wanting to strangle him at times – and I suppose Thymara is alright, too. I just wish the other dragon keepers had been fleshed out a bit more!)
Dragon Haven: 5/5 Stars (The character development! 🥰 This book had everything I could have asked for and more! Well, fine, maybe one of the romances came to fruition a bit suddenly for my tastes, and at times, Thymara sounded like she’d swallowed a feminist manual… But watching the dragons grow stronger was just so cool! And Sedric! I just love Sedric, okay? 😭 For him, I am willing to be blind to any flaws this book might have.)
City of Dragons: 3.5/5 Stars (I loved finally getting more information on the Elderlings – It only took what, twelve books? – but good grief, I did not need so many skill pillar sex scenes and Thymara agonizing over who she should or shouldn’t sleep with!! 😅 Also, my favorite characters faded completely into domestic background-dom, which I am not forgiving Robin Hobb for! Couldn’t we have had more Sedric and Carson instead of a suddenly super perfect and docile Malta? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I kind of started to miss exasperating Malta! The dragons were really cool, though. Despite some inconsistency issues and this being my least favorite Realm of the Elderlings book, I was still very, very hooked.)
Blood of Dragons: 4/5 Stars (This could have used more death and character development, but overall, it was a solid finale! I loved finally getting some answers to questions I’ve had since reading the Farseer Trilogy and seeing how far the dragons had come since they first hatched on the shores of Cassarick. I’m probably going to have nightmares about the Duke of Chalced, though… Those scenes were positively disgusting! 😬😂)
And with that out of the way, it’s time for intense spoilers! We’ll be starting off with my live reactions to all four books and then segway into my thoughts on the series overall – so if you haven’t read the Rain Wild Chronicles yet, don’t want to be spoiled, and somehow ended up clicking on this post in spite of that, this is your cue to go away!
🐉 Ah, so we’re back to the sea serpent POVs… Watching this cocooning process is so satisfying, though! And I’m so ready for there to be more dragons than just Tintaglia and IceFyre!
🐉 Leftrin greedily eyeing this wizardwood log is reminding me unfavorably of Kennit. Please don’t be like Kennit, Leftrin!
🐉 Wait, Thymara has claws? I mean, I knew the Rain Wilders looked a bit peculiar, but I thought they were still human…
🐉 All it took was for the baby dragons to refer to Thymara’s father as “Meat. Big meat. Food!” and I’m in love with them… 🥰 I really hope they survive! Although Thymara’s father walking up to them was just plain stupid. That doesn’t bode well for Thymara’s DNA.
🐉 Speaking of Thymara’s DNA, I suppose we now know that claws aren’t actually normal for Rain Wilders. Still, why is everyone so huffy about this? I thought the Rain Wilders were used to how their environment affected them? How are claws so different from a bit of scaling and hanging growths? These people are total hypocrites! Especially after Tintaglia’s arrival, I would’ve thought their draconic similarities would have been a sign of status rather than something to be ridiculed.
🐉 Sintara is Sisarqua right? I guess we already know what I’m going to be doing for the remainder of this book: Matching dragons to sea serpents! 🤣 I’m already on the lookout for something golden. The chances of Maulkin having survived might be slim, but I want to know what happened to him!
🐉 Alise preferring research and going on dragon expeditions over marriage already has me very sympathetic towards her. I stand by you, Alise! Don’t give up on your dreams!
🐉 Oh my gosh, Hest gave Alise an Elderling scroll! And he’s supportive of her career as a scholar! Maybe this guy isn’t so bad after all!
🐉 I take everything back. HEST IS HORRIBLE!!! What a manipulative swine!! He never cared one bit for Alise and the way he’s talking about her behind her back already has me sick to the stomach. Sedric, you need to say something!! Don’t let him use your friendship with Alise in such a manipulative way!
🐉 Also, is it just me, or is there something going on between Hest and Sedric? 👀 I mean, not that I’m opposed to finally getting a gay relationship in a Robin Hobb book, but a relationship with Hest in it??? The guy is so self-absorbed he wouldn’t know love unless it stared back at him in a mirror!
🐉 Oh no, now Alise is getting her hopes up that Hest might have fallen in love with her 😥
🐉 Leftrin manipulating people into staying on the Tarman forever to protect his dirty little secrets is coming across as even more Kennit-y. I don’t like where this is going!
🐉 My hatred for Hest has just intensified by about a thousand-fold! I didn’t think I could ever feel more disgusted reading a “consensual” Robin Hobb sex scene than the one between Fitz and Jinna, but this tops everything! 🤮
🐉 As suspicious as I am of Leftrin, I am far more suspicious of this Sinad Arich dude.
🐉 He. Did. Not. Just. Do. That. 😳 I think my hatred of Hest has surpassed even my hatred of Kyle Haven at this point.
🐉 Of course Sedric would tell Alise that there are no other women in Hest’s life. Even if that is technically the truth, Sedric, it doesn’t mean you’re not lying to your friend! How the can you not see what a terrible person Hest is? Stop letting him manipulate you and dump his freaking ass!
🐉 I love how the dragons convinced the humans to take them to Kelsingra and made them think it was all their idea 😁 Also, Thymara’s mother is horrible. And I like Tats.
🐉 **Hest-hatred intensifies for about the millionth time** But I absolutely love how Alise is using his own methods against him. And that Sedric is speaking up and taking her side! Honestly, the way Hest treats both of them is just sickening!
🐉 Hest told Sedric to escort Alise to the Rain Wilds! I’m so happy I could sing! Just Sedric and Alise with no Hest in the picture sounds perfect! Even if Sedric can’t see it yet. Alise’s friendship is worth -1000 romances with Hest. (And yes, the negative sign is intentional 😜)
🐉 Wow. Rapskal is… very enthusiastic 🤣 But I can’t wait for these kids to actually meet the dragons!
🐉 AHHHHHHH! ALISE AND SEDRIC ARE ON THE PARAGON!!!! 😍😍😍
🐉 Of course I love how Paragon is super upset about the dragons being stunted and trying not to show it. And how gentle he is with Althea and Brashen’s son 🥰 Althea forbidding Alise to continue talking to Paragon within Paragon’s earshot and without at least including Paragon in the conversation seems a bit out of character, though. Wouldn’t she at least be more circumspect about this?
🐉 Why does it take Leftrin all of one glance to be completely besotted with Alise? I still don’t trust you, Leftrin, even if you seem nice enough!
🐉 Also, if Sedric weren’t continuously mooning over Hest and defending him to Alise, I would feel a lot more sorry for him. I know giving up all those luxuries can’t be easy, Sedric, but this is good for you! I promise!
🐉 Okay, fine. The rough childhood flashbacks and Sedric’s general pure-hearted patheticness are working. Even though I’m mad about him being an accomplice to Hest’s mistreatment of Alice, I can’t help but love him.
🐉 For about ten seconds there, I thought I liked Greft and his cynicism. Now I just want to lock him in a room with Hest and let them mansplain things to one another 🙄 It would save everyone else so much trouble!
🐉 I love the friendship between Alise and Sedric and how he’s willing to feign enthusiasm for the dragons for her. And I already dread the moment when Alise comes to realize the depth of Sedric’s betrayal 😭
🐉 Malta being so indignant on the dragons’ behalf when really, the dragons are getting exactly what they want, is everything! 😂 For once, Malta isn’t the master manipulator but the manipulated, and I’m down for it!
🐉 Maybe I misjudged Leftrin. He genuinely seems to respect Alise for who she is, is explaining Trehaug to her so patiently, and is just so open with her! Still, Kennit didn’t seem that bad when we first met him, either…
🐉 So Alise snagged a spot on the Kelsingra expedition as a self-proclaimed dragon expert. I’m not gonna pretend I don’t dig this and am gleefully rubbing my hands together in anticipation of Sedric’s reaction to the news 😇
🐉 I am thoroughly enjoying Thymara’s dismay over Sintara being so rude to her and Sintara’s indignation that Thymara isn’t besotted with her. I can already tell I’m going to love these dragon-human interactions!
🐉 Oh, Sedric… Don’t say anything too cruel that you’re going to regret later! I love how snippishly Alise is hiding her own insecurities and bossing Sedric around, though 😁
🐉 I love how petty this note from Detozi to Kim is. (Yes, I’m starting to get invested in the Bird Keepers’ correspondence.)
🐉 Moping Sedric’s perspective is kind of pathetic and adorable at the same time. Sintara deserved to be taken down a notch, though, so I’m way more gleeful that he accidentally offended her than I probably should be!
🐉 I’m also enjoying how jealous Thymara is over the attention Sintara is giving Alise. It’s always really interesting to see how different the characters’ perceptions of each other are!
🐉 Sedric, if you harm one inch of those dragons, I am going to be so mad at you! Don’t you dare to go through with some stupid get-rich-plan for a make-believe future with a man who doesn’t even love you!
🐉 Leftrin really is starting to seem like a good guy, even if he accidentally got involved in some fishy business with Sinad Arich, killed a man once, and stole that wizardwood… I mean, the first one of those wasn’t under his control, the second was done in self-defense, and he used the wizardwood out of love for his ship. That’s understandable, right? 🤔
🐉 Speaking of Tarman, though – why has he been silent all this time? I thought liveships could talk? 🧐
🐉 Ugh! I am absolutely not suited for the job of dragon keeper because the mere thought of having to operate on the silver dragon is absolutely disgusting! Somehow, though, this scene is also weirdly satisfying?
🐉 Nooooo, Sedric! Don’t become a dragon part smuggler! Don’t make me regret that I like you! Hest isn’t worth it!!! 😫
🐉 Carson’s comments on Alise and Sedric are priceless! 😂 I seriously hope he’s not the guy mentioned in Leftrin’s note. Although Jess already seems so suspicious that it’d be way too obvious if it were him…
🐉 Oh, Sedric, you innocent precious boy…. How can you be this blind to Hest’s faults? I love that he and Alise are finally talking about how awful her marriage is for her, though. And that Sedric is starting to question Hest at least a little. How Hest treated Sedric was awful, and it breaks my heart having to read about it!
🐉 Sintara killing this pig is oddly satisfying.
🐉 “Heeby is going to fly a long time before you ever get your big blue powerful and gracious ass of the ground, Skymaw! She’ll be a real dragon long before you are, queen stick-up-your-bum!” – Sometimes, Rapskal is simply the best! 🤣
🐉 Greft is most definitely not the best, though. The guy seriously creeps me out, and I feel like there’s trouble brewing…
🐉 Sedric, stop being such a huffy prick. Let Alise talk to Leftrin if she wants to!
🐉 No, no, no! I don’t want the copper dragon to die!! 😭
🐉 Mercor telling Thymara Sintara’s name is such a badass move, and I love it! Also, since I keep forgetting to mention this: Nope, I have not given up on trying to match dragons to serpents and at this point, I am almost positive that Mercor is Maulkin. And maybe Sestican is Sessurea? I haven’t had much luck with the other dragons, but maybe I just never got to see their serpents? Then again, I’ve also forgotten quite a bit about the serpents since reading The Liveship Traders… The only other ones I still remember are Tellur and Shreever, and I don’t really think any of the dragons are them.
🐉 NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! WHAT THE FUCK, SEDRIC?!?!?! HOW FUCKING DARE YOU TO SLAUGHTER THAT POOR HELPLESS DRAGON!!! I SPOKE UP FOR YOU!!!! AND HOW IDIOTIC IS TO JUST LICK THE DRAGON’S BLOOD???? I am sure this is going to have consequences, and if they’re terrible, I am not going to feel sorry for you one little bit!!!
🌊 Sintara’s thoughts on how deficient her humans are are always hilarious to read! I mean… she’s not entirely wrong… Also, does this mean the copper dragon survived? 🙃
🌊 Nope, Sedric, I am feeling nothing but vindictive joy at watching you suffer! Serves you right for stabbing that poor dragon and guzzling down its blood! Hopefully, this is the tipping point that will finally make you come to your senses!
🌊 I’m not buying Carson’s comments on Sedric “having experience with boys like Davvie”. What is that supposed to mean?! I mean, we got confirmation that Davvie is interested in boys and you’d have to be blind to not see that Sedric and Hest have something going on, but how would Carson know that? He only just arrived on this barge! How would he know what Sedric fancies? It’s not like Sedric has a huge “Hey, I’m gay!” badge stuck to him! You can do better than this, Robin Hobb!
🌊 UGGGGGGHHHHHH! THIS IS SO DISGUSTING!! I thought Wintrow’s finger and Kennit’s leg were bad, but these rasp snakes are the most revolting thing I’ve ever read about!!! They sound like serpentine versions of ticks that also eat their way into your organs 🤢🤮 I’m never going to get that image of Relpda’s belly out of my head!
🌊 Of course Sintara would manipulate Thymara into watching Greft and Jerd have sex 🙄 And of course Greft would get all greedy about selling dragon parts. Though the fact that Jess is the one who suggested this is interesting. Either he’s the infiltrator Leftrin’s note mentioned and super obvious about it, or there are even more sinister things going on here.
🌊 Why the fuck didn’t you just leave, Thymara?! The amount of second-hand embarrassment your voyeurism is causing me is unbearable! 😫
🌊 Oooh, is Sedric connected to Relpda now because he drank her blood? Is that why he’s sick? Because it sure sounds like he’s experiencing Relpda’s rasp snake pain with her! Oh my gosh, I am so onboard with this!! I need a reluctant Sedric-Relpda bond!!!
🌊 Now Sedric is hallucinating the-asshole-who-must-not-be-named and Relpda is telepathically offering to kill him 😇 This is getting better and better!
🌊 Gosh, Alise being so caring towards Sedric and Relpda loving him even though Sedric tried to kill her makes me want to cry! And then there’s Sedric thinking that he doesn’t deserve their love, which makes everything a million times more emotional 😭 What is wrong with me? Why do I love this sniffling, fashioned-obsessed dragon poacher so much???
🌊 Leftrin, I’m so sorry for ever comparing you to Kennit! You obviously care deeply for your ship, your crew, this mission, and Alise, and I can’t believe I ever doubted you! I should have known someone whose ship’s cat loved them couldn’t be a bad person!
🌊 Also, in spite of their love-at-first-sight beginning, I am starting to ship Alise and Leftrin…
🌊 So Jess is the infiltrator! I really don’t like the idea of him continuing to accompany this mission… and apparently, Leftrin doesn’t, either.
🌊 I know Thymara is a teenager, but, good grief, she thinks about sex even more than Fitz did when he panted after Molly! Can’t she focus on grooming Sintara or something?!
🌊 I really like that Alise and Thymara are starting to bond with each other! 😊 Alise needs more friends in her life and learning to fish could give her a much deeper sense of belonging, and Thymara curbing some of her headstrongness and quick judgment certainly won’t hurt her, either. Plus, what with her awful mother, she could use a female role model!
🌊 Ooooh, I’m all here for the drama Sintara almost killing Thymara in her greed to get that fish is causing between them! 😈 I can’t wait for Sintara to learn a bit of humility and appreciation!
🌊 Oh shit! 😨 Alise getting ink from Sedric’s room probably means that she’s going to stumble across something that proves a) Sedric and Hest’s romantic entanglements or b) Sedric’s forays into dragon slaughter. I am not emotionally ready to deal with this!
🌊 Or maybe not… I guess we’re dragging out the agony of knowing that this confrontation is eventually going to come even longer 😢 Sedric panickily accusing Alise of going through his things is already awkward enough, so how am I supposed to survive heartbreak that threatens to totally obliterate their friendship?!
🌊 Also, Sedric encouraging Relpda is the most heart-wrenchingly heartwarming thing ever! 🥰😭
🌊 Carson looking out for Sedric and nursing him back to health instantly has me liking him! BUT WHY IS HE CONSTANTLY INSINUATING THAT SEDRIC MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN DAVVIE??
🌊 Okay, I guess maybe Carson was able to deduce Sedric’s sexuality from what Alise told him about her life back in Bingtown. Not everybody can be as trustingly blind as Alise, and I suppose Sedric betraying his dearest friend might be enough to make Carson wary of his motives. I guess I see where Carson’s rather inappropriate assumptions stem from 🤔
🌊 These kids are entirely too sex-absorbed. I did not need to know Jerd’s full commentary about Rapskal’s skills in bed! 😅 However, I do get Thymara being so upset about this. Questioning her body and the rules she grew up while simultaneously having to deal with a bunch of horny boys so far away from home can’t be easy.
🌊 Alise telling Sintara off for hurting Thymara’s feelings and Sintara trying to give Alise relationship advice is highly entertaining.
🌊 Wow, this is way more dramatic than I was expecting! Not only do we get Leftrin’s murder attempt on Jess turning into a knife fight, now we also have an acidic post-earthquake wave! And Sintara saved Thymara and claimed her as hers! I just love how both of their stubbornness makes that relationship so wonderfully complicated.
🌊 Tarman is such an interesting character! His bond with Leftrin runs deep and he clearly cares deeply for his crew, yet he is always quietly in the background and not at all like the other liveships we’ve seen so far. I want to know more!
🌊 It’s so satisfying to see everyone working together in the face of disaster, even when they’ve constantly been bickering. There’s Alise and Thymara flattering Sintara way more than usual to keep her going. Thymara swallowing her anger and talking to Tats. Sylve holding the entire group together. Everyone worrying about their missing expedition members. I just love how human it all is.
🌊 Sedric and Relpda are all on their own, stuck in the river, and trying not to drown. AND I’M LOVING EVERY FREAKING MINUTE OF IT!! 🤗😇🤗
🌊 Also, Leftrin thinking he has lost Alise is kind of emotional, too. I did that man so much injustice by ever doubting him!
🌊 Sedric trying to save Relpda nearly has me in tears! 😭
🌊 What the fuck did Jess have to come along for? How did he even survive when Leftrin nearly choked him? If he hurts Relpda or convinces Sedric to, I am going to be beyond furious!
🌊 The number of times I’ve wanted to strangle Greft in this chapter… Seriously, what kind of messed-up childhood did the guy have to make him such a jerk?!
🌊 “The price was too high. Hest wasn’t worth it.
The shock of that realization jolted him; no time to dwell on it.
He reached towards the dragon, mind and heart. Relpda, get away from Jess. Don’t let him get near you. He wants to kill you!“
– Oh thank god, Sedric!! I knew I could count on you!!
🌊 Relpda eating Jess was oddly satisfying 😁
🌊 I don’t even know what to react to… 😅 Greft being even more infuriating than I thought? Jerd being pregnant? Sintara’s approval of Thymara not putting up with any of Greft’s claiming nonsense?
🌊 Alise thinking Sedric died because of her is so heart-wrenching that I can’t help but love this friendship even more. And of course loyal, good-hearted Alise would immediately think Sedric had kept that locket of Hest’s for her 🥺 Please tell me that they can get past Alise eventually finding out about Sedric and Hest because I can’t bear the thought of something this precious being destroyed!
🌊 Just for the record: If I ever die and there’s a dragon around offering to keep my memories alive by eating me, feed me to that freaking dragon! Honestly, why is everyone so horrified by this? Seeing that what freaks me out most about death is the fact that I will probably simply cease existing, this sounds like the most perfect burial ever!
🌊 Why is everyone talking about Rapskal like he’s definitely dead? We haven’t seen a body yet! I refuse to believe that anyone whose body we haven’t seen is dead. Particularly since I now know that Robin Hobb doesn’t even shy away from resurrecting people whose bodies we have seen. There’s no way her not showing us Rapskal and Heeby’s is unintentional!
🌊 Tats’ possessiveness over Thymara is seriously starting to annoy me! Why is everyone buying into Greft’s bullshit?
🌊 Relpda 🥰😭🥰 She’s just the purest, most loyal being ever, and if this entire book turned into Sedric taking care of her, I honestly would not mind. Also, when Relpda said Sedric would change, does that mean she’s turning him into an Elderling?
🌊 Carson finding Sedric and giving him all his water without telling him that it was all his water and helping Relpda despite being dead on his feet is all the proof I need that Carson is the most good-hearted person ever 🥰 I can’t help it, guys: I think I’m starting to ship him with Sedric.
🌊 Spit, I approve of you and your name! Don’t let those snobby other dragons tell you you’re anything lesser than them!
🌊 “Carson grinned. He met his eyes frankly. ‘I like you, Sedric. I really like you. Haven’t you figured that out yet?'” – Hold on – what? 😳 I mean, I know I said I shipped them, but this is a bit sudden! Carson has barely even gotten to know Sedric yet! He was vomiting in bed pretty much the entire time since Carson came on board the Tarman!
🌊 Okay, seeing that that declaration was followed up by total awkwardness on Sedric’s part, him making Carson extremely suspicious by telling him there’s another boat, and Relpda proudly declaring that she ate Jess, I am willing to suspend my disbelief over the suddenness. This scene is brilliant! 🤣
🌊 I know it makes sense that Sedric now suspects Leftrin of being involved in something shady, but sheesh, this is going to make things so much more complicated! I love it already.
🌊 Finally, an explanation why Tarman can’t talk! I’ve been puzzling over this since book one, so I’m lapping all this background information up like nobody’s business! This makes so much sense!
🌊 The ship ships Alise and Leftrin. I am on board! (You didn’t really think I could resist the opportunity to make some nautical puns, did you? 😁)
🌊 Sex in Sedric’s room? I don’t know whether this is a very good or a very bad idea… But I think I’m leaning towards good.
🌊 And now Sedric is pushing through exhaustion to try to impress Carson and torturing himself with tons of terrible memories. Why the heck do I find that so relatable?
🌊 Thymara’s conversations sound like they were taken straight out of a feminist manifesto. I mean, I agree with her, but can she please start having more personality than not wanting to be ruled by patriarchal conventions or a dragon?
🌊 Alise, on the other hand, has plenty of personality. I’m really enjoying how torn she over feeling happy that Sedric isn’t dead and devastated that he could come between her and Leftrin.
🌊 I knew it! Mark my words, every one of those keepers is going to turn into an Elderling. There’s no way those self-important dragons are not going to want one themselves if Relpda and Sintara have one. (Although I am wondering when Malta, Reyn, and Selden ever drank Tintaglia’s blood 🤔 Do I just not remember that, or is this a plot hole that still needs explaining?)
🌊 Oh, Sedric 😭 I don’t know what was more awful, the part of this conversation where he was still lying to Alise in full knowledge that he was betraying her, or the part where he finally decided to be truthful. But I’m so glad he told her! And Alise’s measured reaction has me very hopeful that they will eventually get past this.
🌊 “His spirits sank and gloom closed in all around him. Even the room seemed to become darker. He closed his eyes and wondered how much courage it would take for him to end it.” – Oh, Sedric! 😭😭😭😭😭
🌊 Alise being so understanding and realizing the reason she is so angry with Sedric is because she loves him so much 😭😭 This friendship! 😭😭😭 And now it’s being torn apart all over again because Sedric sincerely believes Leftrin can’t be trusted, and I just can’t take how sad it all is!
🌊 “A shudder ran over him. He realized abruptly that he had not lost everything. He still had the love and regard of a simple creature. He could think of no way to avoid eventually losing that. He could not imagine enduring it. With sick certainty, he saw his only exit from his problems.” – And with that and the scene that follows, Robin Hobb has yet again succeeded in making me cry. I love Sedric from the bottom of my heart. I love how deeply he cares about the world, how much he takes everything to heart. I’m sobbing over his decision because it just makes so much sense. And I’m so relieved he has Carson and Relpda looking out for him and accepting him the way he is, without judgment.
🌊 Wait a moment… is Detozi a woman?? I spent this whole time thinking she was a man! I feel so incredibly dumb right now 🙈🙈🙈
🌊 Then again, I’m not the only incredibly dumb person around here. Tarman’s refusal to go on obviously means they’re trying to go in the wrong direction! Why else would he sabotage them? Why is no one listening to the ship??
🌊 Finally! It took them long enough to listen! 🙄
🌊 “‘Kelaro I was, of Maulkin’s Tangle. And I followed Maulkin, a great golden serpent, without question.’ His silvery gaze suddenly fixed on Mercor. The golden dragon looked puzzled for a moment, then bowed his head in assent.” – If that isn’t confirmation of my Maulkin=Mercor theory, I don’t know what is! 🤗 I don’t remember Kelaro though… Am I supposed to? My memory is so freaking bad I’m definitely due for a Liveship Traders reread 😅
🌊 These water warming things are beyond cool 🤩 As is watching the dragons grow stronger and stronger with each day that passes on their journey.
🌊 Greft is a self-absorbed idiot, but I still feel terrible for him. He thought he’d become an Elderling, and instead he has lost his dragon and is shunned and ridiculed by everyone around him. I wouldn’t wish that upon my worst enemy! However, I do like that it gave Davvie and Carson the chance to become keepers 😇
🌊 The fact that both Alise and Leftrin and Sedric and Carson are so giddily in love right now gives me a very bad feeling. Robin Hobb never allows her characters to be happy for long!
🌊 Wow, Bellin, that’s kind of harsh, considering Jerd just lost her baby… I knew I liked you! 😂
🌊 Wait, what? Greft died just like that?? He had so much villain potential!
🌊 No, no, no, Carson! Don’t abandon Sedric over this! 😨😭 Not when he’s finally come completely clean! How is this so much worse than everything else you already knew about him? You forgave him for betraying Alise and killing Jess, so why is this different?
🌊 Alise and Sedric making up and burning Hest’s hair together is making me so deliriously happy that I just want to hug them! 🤗
🌊 I’m not gonna pretend that I’m not slightly weirded out by Thymara having wings now. But I absolutely love how indignant Sintara is about Thymara not being thrilled about them!
🌊 I told you Heeby and Rapskal weren’t dead, didn’t I? 😇 And Heeby is flying! That just goes to show that you shouldn’t take crap from others and continue to try to achieve your dreams, even if everyone thinks they’re laughable!
🌊 I’m getting way too invested in this Erek and Detozi love story…
🌊 Kelsingra is cool and almost certainly the Elderling city Fitz visited in Assassin’s Quest. And I’m thrilled Carson and Sedric have made up! If anyone deserves to be happy, it’s them – although the fact that we still have two books left at this point has me very, very scared. If anything happens to Sedric, I am never forgiving Robin Hobb! Ever!
🏛️ Yeah, I definitely don’t ever want to meet Tintaglia and IceFyre when they’re angry…
🏛️ We’re in Chalced! I’ve been beyond curious about the place for ages now, so I really hope we’re going to get some nuanced details 🤗 For starters, I already detest the Duke and Ellik.
🏛️ I guess Selden’s time of being spared from all of the horrendous experiences the rest of his family had to go through is over…
🏛️ Finally, we’re back with the dragons! Not that Selden’s slave experiences weren’t interesting and all, but I’ve always found him to be the most boring Vestrit and one chapter isn’t enough to change my mind. I’d much rather read about Sintara failing spectacularly at flying, Sedric and Carson settling into their new life together, and exploring Kelsingra!
🏛️ Wait, Tats’ scaling has green highlights? I thought you said Fente emphasized Tats’ natural looks and made his scales bronze and black?! Quit changing your mind, Robin Hobb!
🏛️ Also, the dragons and Thymara are definitely going to fly at some point in this series. Mark my words.
🏛️ Maybe I should have become an archeologist because exploring these abandoned buildings sounds like the most interesting thing ever! 😍 Although being the scaredy-cat that I am, I would probably also be incredibly creeped out by all the whispering and lack of plants.
🏛️ What does it say about me that the more Selden is tortured, the more invested I am becoming in his story line? 😅 This is horrifying!! Do they intend to use his body parts to make the elixirs they initially wanted to make from dragon parts? Do Selden’s body parts actually have magical properties?
🏛️ Seeing Alise in her explorer’s element is really satisfying. I’m worried about Rapskal, though. Part of me thinks that maybe he’s right and that, as an Elderling, he won’t drown in the memories, but part of me also thinks that would way too easy. What if there’s some forgotten secret to using the memory stone safely that Rapskal doesn’t know about?
🏛️ I didn’t think it was possible for me to despise Hest any more than I already did, but reading from his perspective is something else entirely. Which is not to say that I’m not enjoying it! For one thing, I got to watch him being tortured by a creepy Chalcedean! 😁 And for another, I feel like not much is going on in Kelsingra character-wise. Everyone is exploring, but since so many developmental arcs were finished at the end of Dragon Haven, nothing that interesting is going on between the characters. Seriously, the only conflict is caused by Thymara’s boy trouble, and that has already been dragged out for so long that I’m just not that interested. Hest being an idiot about to get into heaps of trouble is way more intriguing!
🏛️ Great, now we get to read a ton about reformed and now extremely sensible Malta mooning over her pregnancy and getting belly rubs from Reyn 😅 I’m not so sure whether I find this more interesting than what is going on in Kelsingra, but I do like that we’re getting updates from Trehaug. So I guess I’ll reign in the skepticism until we know more!
🏛️ Sintara angrily sneaking off in the middle of the night to learn to fly with no one watching her is a mood 😂 I love that dragon.
🏛️ Trust Alise to blame Rapskal for that sooty handprint in the tower when it was really clueless Fitz stumbling around and messing everything up. Don’t you just love when you suddenly start seeing connections that the characters themselves can’t make? 🤗
🏛️ The Bird Keepers’ interactions with Kim remind me of every horrible experience I’ve ever had with entitled German bureaucrats. Well, Kim, pride comes before a fall, and I am already gleefully anticipating yours!
🏛️ “She lifted her head to look around and stopped breathing as she took in her first view of Kelsingra in broad daylight.” (p. 189) – Who the fuck edited this book?? Thymara has been to Kelsingra before, and although it was a bit rainy, there was daylight (p. 72)!! The fact that Thymara is acting like she’s never seen any of this is driving me beyond nuts!! 😤 Inconsistency errors like this one are my biggest gripe ever in literature because how am I supposed to decide which version to imagine now, huh?!
🏛️ Sintara thinking Thymara is dead and deciding the next logical step is to kill Heeby is beyond hilarious, and also kind of touching because it is in moments like this one that you realize that Sintara actually cares about her keeper a lot. Even if she usually grouchily hides it.
🏛️ And of course, Sintara then gets completely distracted by ungracefully flying, hunting, crashing into her food, gorging herself, and falling asleep. Figures. 🤣
🏛️ Finally getting to see how the Elderlings lived through their memories is super interesting, but WHY DOES EVERY SINGLE SCENE INVOLVING THYMARA ALWAYS HAVE TO END IN SOME WEIRD SEXUAL ARGUMENT?! 😩 I don’t like this Amarinda-Tellator-business at all, and Rapskal preying on Thymara while personifying some strange battle-hungry warrior seriously creeps me out. I want that happy, easy-going boy back, and I want Rapskal and Thymara to be just friends!!
🏛️ Am I the only one kind of relieved about Sintara falling into the river and effectively putting a stop to Rapskal trying to convince Thymara to “mate” with him? 😅
🏛️ Corrupt Rain Wild politics? Now I’m interested! Scratch what I said about Malta’s and Leftrin’s perspectives being boring!
🏛️ Wow, this got dramatic fast! 🤯 Trust Malta to not be able to walk home from a meeting without Reyn, start giving birth, be kidnapped by people who want to harvest her draconic organs, and murder them. I’m face palming so hard right now – of course Reyn very conveniently didn’t take those extra minutes to accompany her 🙄 – but am also really invested! We’re finally getting some action!
🏛️ Again, who edited this??? I’m relieved Sintara didn’t die in the river, but why is she calling out to Thymara like nothing happened? Last I heard, Sintara thought Thymara was dead and wanted to murder Heeby in vicious vengeance! Why is there NO REACTION WHATSOEVER to Thymara being alive??? 😡 This could have been such a good bonding scene between the two of them, but no. We get nothing.
🏛️ I am enjoying how proud Sintara is of being able to fly, though. Her attempts at humility are not working whatsoever 🤣 And these bathing rooms are awesome! I wouldn’t mind having something like that in my house…
🏛️ Why, Thymara??? Why did you sleep with Rapskal? 🙈 As if things weren’t already awkward enough around here!
🏛️ Malta and Reyn had better get that baby to Kelsingra, then! Or can Tintaglia stop terrorizing Chalcedeans and help her Elderlings for a change?
🏛️ “An incredulous smile spread slowly across Carson’s face. ‘You came here tonight to ask me for advice about women?’ He turned and looked pointedly at Sedric. ‘Are you sure you knocked on the right door?'” – I love Carson’s sense of humor 😁 Dumb and self-deprecating is always the best way to get to me. But I’m glad someone is finally giving Tats some sensible advice! Both he and Rapskal are driving me bonkers!! If I were Thymara, I could do just fine without either of them.
🏛️ Tarman slipping away from the guardsmen on his froggy little feet is pretty cool 😎 In hindsight, I’m glad Leftrin decided to steal that wizardwood log.
🏛️ Yeah, nope. Tellator-influenced Rapskal is not for me 🙄 Quit bossing everyone around and being so insensitive to Alise! Judging by your antics, doing a bit of research before you plunged into those pillars certainly wouldn’t have hurt!
🏛️ How many times can Robin Hobb possibly use the word “aplomb” in one book? 😳 People are constantly keeping, losing, or recovering theirs, and it’s driving me nuts!!!
🏛️ The Chalcedean frightening Hest into thinking he was dying gave me way more satisfaction than it probably should have. And I didn’t feel particularly sorry about his bowel troubles, either.
🏛️ Ugh, did the Duke of Chalced really just eat a piece of Selden??? 🤢 I really hope him feeling better afterwards can be attributed to the placebo effect because I wouldn’t put it past him to go full-on cannibal if he thinks it’ll heal him… However, the Duke’s daughter sounds intriguing. Are we going to get to see some non-evil Chalcedeans in the next book? Because I’m kind of disappointed how little we got in this one!
🏛️ Someone had better pull that arrow out of Tintaglia before that wound gets even more disgusting! After those rasp snakes, I don’t think I can deal with any more pus descriptions 😬
🐲 Okay, from the looks of it, the arrow wound has already gotten disgusting 😅
🐲 Nooooo, Alise! Don’t let Rapskal get to you! Studying the past is always important, particularly if it looks like that past is being revived!
🐲That black pard encounter came out of nowhere… Still, I’m not gonna pretend that cat wasn’t extremely cool! When we get back to the Six Duchies in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, can someone maybe have one as a Wit partner? 🙃
🐲 I’m glad Ranculos and Lecter are okay. But I’m also hoping for some bloodshed to happen eventually. These books have been pretty tame in that regard.
🐲 Only about 1/3 of this conversation consisted of bickering over who they had sex with, so I’d say Tats and Thymara are making progress! Also, this launching platform idea isn’t half bad 🤔 Although I still feel like some of the dragons are going to end up falling in the river.
🐲 No matter what Selden wants, I have a very bad feeling about Chancellor Ellik buying him. Like, he’ll-probably-spoon-feed-Selden-to-the-Duke-of-Chalced kind of bad.
🐲 Redding may be a greedy, bumbling idiot, but I still hate Hest for using his friends this way. Has the guy ever made a genuine connection in his life?!
🐲 Somehow, I doubt the Bingtown vessels also seeing the dragons is a good thing. I really like how Malta speaks up for Tillamon and Hennesey, though! She’s come a long way from the exasperating idiot she used to be. Although the fact that Reyn is able to distract her with dreams of a waterfront mansion shows that maybe she hasn’t changed that much 🤣
🐲 Spit is so evil and I’m here for it! Although maybe making Relpda even more frightened of flying really isn’t the best idea…
🐲 Also, Carson and Sedric are still adorable together 🥰 I am, however, kind of disappointed in how banal their storyline has become. They’ve barely gotten any page time since Dragon Haven, and nothing particularly exciting has been happening to them…
🐲 Shit, the Chalcedeans killed Redding! 😨 And they’re coercing Hest to get rid of the body. I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.
🐲 Of course Ronica Vestrit would have a no-nonsense attitude towards people reading her mail 😂
🐲 I don’t think the Duke of Chalced wants to ransom you, Selden…
🐲 Trust Tintaglia to destroy a substantial part of Trehaug and think she’s the one being mistreated 🤣 Although why didn’t the idiot have someone remove her arrow before continuing on to Kelsingra? I’m sure Jani Khuprus would have done it if Tintaglia had commanded it.
🐲 “Casual arrogance” describes Sintara to a T 🤣 I love how she tells Thymara she values her by basically just praising herself.
🐲 Does Sintara remembering the Silver mean we’re going to find out more about it soon? 👀 Because I desperately want to know! I feel like it’s the key to unlocking the magic system in this world. Like, Verity used the Silver to carve his dragon, and we know the Skill is somehow made up of it. The Fool has silver fingertips and forged his bond to Fitz with them. The stones that make up the Elderling buildings are veined with it. The dragons desperately want to drink it. I need to know how it’s all connected!!! And while we’re at it, let’s have an explanation how the Wit fits into all this, too!
🐲 I think I like Chassim. Poor Selden, though – someone telling you straight up that their father plans to eat you isn’t exactly the warmest welcome 😅
🐲 I never thought I’d say this, but I’m actually glad the keepers are looking up to Malta and Reyn so much. Better them than Tellator 🙄 However, I also have a gnawing suspicion that Malta’s hopes are about to be crushed – the fact that Tintaglia is in this book makes me 99% sure that they’re going to need her to heal Phron, not some other dragon.
🐲 Alise and Leftrin still can’t compete with Sedric and Carson, but this reunion has convinced me that I really like them as a couple 🥰
🐲 Oh, I am so enjoying Hest’s discomfort right now! 😇
🐲 Tintaglia really should have let someone take a look at that arrow back in Trehaug 😨 This does not bode well.
🐲 A letter from Wintrow!! 🤗 Although why aren’t they letting Paragon (the boy) see Paragon (the ship)? Whatever Paragon (the ship) tells Paragon (the boy), it can’t really be more gruesome than the bedtime stories my parents told me as a kid, and I turned out alright. I think. 🤔
🐲 I knew it! They need Tintaglia to save Phron. I said so, didn’t I? 😇
🐲 “She has always had those marks. Birthmarks when I first glimpsed them, just dusky smudges, now made silver by her changes.” – I hate to tell you, Reyn, but you’re wrong. Malta got those fingerprint marks from Amber! And I desperately need to know what the connection is!
🐲 Apparently, I have gotten way more attached to Tintaglia than I realized. I do not want her to die! 😭
🐲 Sedric and Carson found the Silver well!!!
🐲 Oh good – I’m glad Thymara and Tats aren’t too keen on a polyamorous relationship with Rapskal after all 😅 It’s already bad enough when there’s just two of them!
🐲 I also kind of love Selden whacking Chancellor Ellik with a brass figurine, fainting, and teaming up with Chassim 😁 He has become much more interesting than he ever was in the Liveship Traders.
🐲 Tintaglia attacking the Chalcedeans’ ship and nobody believing Hest when he says that Tintaglia is in the water is kinda epic. Now Tintaglia just has to survive this!
🐲 Hang on a second – if regular people can’t touch Silver, what does that make the Fool? Is he part dragon or Elderling or something? Or is there something different about White Prophets? Come to think of it, how do the Rooster Crown visions fit into the bigger picture? There is so much here that I don’t understand!! 😩
🐲 Tellator is a pompous ass and I want him out of Rapskal’s head!! However, if he stays long enough to save Tintaglia, I guess I’m not complaining. I want Tintaglia to live! 😥
🐲 Of course Hest somehow wormed his way out of being harmed in the dragon attack 🙄
🐲 NOOOOOO, TINTAGLIA! DON’T GIVE UP NOW!!! 😭 YOU CAN STILL SURVIVE!!!
🐲 They had better get that Silver they just found to Tintaglia and heal her.
🐲 OMG, Kalo! 🥰😭🥰 How did a sweet dragon like you ever end up with an idiot like Greft for a keeper? Tintaglia does not deserve you at all!
🐲 So basically, the Duke of Chalced is a vampire…
🐲 No wonder Hest turned out to be such a prick, what with his mother complaining about everything and spoiling him rotten 🙄 Accept that your son has some serious flaws, will you?
🐲Thank god someone was sensible enough to put a stop to Tellator-Rapskal’s insane hostage murdering plans. I WANT THE OLD RAPSKAL BACK!! 😩
🐲 Actually, come to think of it, it might not have been that bad if Tellator-Rapskal had murdered Hest. The guy is infuriating!! And he better not hurt Sedric!!! 😤
🐲 Quit acting like you care for Alise, you self-absorbed slimeball! 😡
🐲 Ohhhh, look at Alise and Sedric telling it like it is to Hest 😎 I LOOOOOOOVE this. Not just because Hest 100% deserves to be called out in front of everyone, but also because I think Alise and Sedric needed to say it in order to fully move on.
🐲 Tintaglia came! And they gave her the Silver! Why isn’t it working?? 😨
🐲 Even if Tellator-Rapskal is infuriating, Sintara’s got a point. Just go down the freaking well already, Thymara!
🐲 I love that Tintaglia changed Phron as her dying act. But now she’s got the Silver and is not gonna die after all! 🤗
🐲 Don’t you dare, Hest! 😠 Leave Davvie alone!!
🐲 My Hest-hatred is at an all-time high again 😡 How dare he assault Davvie! But Davvie punching him and calling Hest old is giving me enormous satisfaction. As is Sedric punching him again and Carson kissing Sedric’s bruised knuckles while Sedric tries his best not to cry.
🐲 OMG, Kalo ate Hest! 🤣🤣🤣 Just like that! I was not expecting this at all! Sure, the way it happened was slightly ridiculous, but Hest totally deserved it.
🐲 IceFyre is kind of a douche. And so is Tellator-Rapskal.
🐲 Also, this sudden war is beyond dramatic. But I guess it’s been brewing for a while now and Selden and Chassim need to get out of Chalced somehow? So who am I to judge? 🤷♀️
🐲 Sedric is going to Chalced and Carson isn’t? 😨 I don’t like this sound of this one bit!
🐲 Kim got his come-uppance, and I’m not the least bit sorry! 😇
🐲 I’m still wondering why Thymara was predestined to be Kelsingra’s new Silver smith. Couldn’t other people also have retrieved the Amarinda memories and learned from them? Why did it have to be Thymara, and how did Rapskal know?
🐲 What do you mean, we’re probably not going to get Rapskal back? 😭 Don’t tell me I’m going to have to deal with Tellator-Rapskal in even more books; he drives me nuts!
🐲 Oh wow 😳 The dragons’ revenge is… extreme. I’m glad Selden and Chassim got out, but what about all of the Chalcedean civilians? Surely there were people among them who didn’t deserve this! 😥 And if they needlessly had to die, why couldn’t Robin Hobb have made us care about them first? The only “important” characters who’ve died so far are Jess, Greft, Hest and the Duke of Chalced, and since I hated all of them, their deaths weren’t exactly heart-breaking. I want some pain!
🐲 I like the prospect of an alliance with Chalced under Chassim’s rule, though…
🐲 Wait – Brashen and Althea actually named their son Boy-o? 😳 What sort of name is that?? I do like the fact that Paragon is super possessive of him, though 😁
🐲 Just imagine being such a shitty person that nobody would even notice if a dragon devoured you and you suddenly went missing. What a sad existence 😇
🐲 Of course this book couldn’t possibly end without Thymara flying and **very unexpectedly** choosing Tats. I’m pretty indifferent on the latter, but will admit that the flying is pretty cool!
🐲 Tintaglia choosing Kalo over IceFyre gives me enormous satisfaction, though 😇 And I’m also glad that Mercor successfully courted Sintara because as the wisest dragon, I feel like he deserves it!
As you can tell, I was very invested 😂 At this point, I’m just so obsessed with this world that Robin Hobb could probably hand me Ronica Vestrit’s shopping list and I would eagerly devour it. I mean, even the Bird Keepers’ correspondence had me riveted!
Still, I really think this was good. Even though it had those incredibly annoying inconsistencies in City of Dragons, it probably has the most well-rounded plot after the Liveship Traders out of all five series. Unlike the Farseer Trilogy and the Tawny Man Trilogy, it had a satisfying ending, and unlike the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy, it didn’t leave a whole bunch of stuff unanswered. There was so much Elderling history! And the dragons! 😍 Watching them grow from crippled hatchlings who could barely walk or remember their names to fully grown, flying, self-righteous creatures was so rewarding, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The complex relationships the dragons had with their keepers were some of my favorite aspects of these books, and I’m so glad we got to explore them!
And, as always when reading Robin Hobb’s books, I simply got super invested in the characters! As we’ve already established, I loved the dragons, and, of course, Sedric 🥰 That sweet precious boy needs to be protected at all costs! Alise was such a nerdy scholar that I instantly related to her. Leftrin, though initially suspicious, soon won me over with his charming openness and continuous support for Alise and Tarman. Thymara’s stubbornness always made things interesting, even if I did sometimes feel like her storyline had been written purely so that Robin Hobb could shove a feminist stance on sex and pregnancy down our throats. I mean, I agreed with almost all of the points that were raised, but sheesh! Ever heard of subtlety?
Then, we had the point-of-view characters who had already appeared in previous series. I thought it was interesting to see how far Malta had come from the spoiled little girl she used to be, and Selden’s imprisonment in Chalced provided a fascinating window into the political workings of that country. Still, I just wasn’t as invested in their chapters as in the other characters’ – which I think boils down to the fact that so much of their character development was already concluded by the end of Ship of Destiny that it was almost non-existent here. Instead, their perspectives were a lot more plot-driven, and I’m just not a very plot-driven kind of reader.
Finally, we have Hest and Chancellor Ellik – both of whom I hated. Especially Hest. The amount of satisfaction I felt when Kalo ate him was unreal! Honestly, I almost felt a little guilty 😅 Their POVs, though? I loved them! Seeing how their messed-up minds worked was fascinating, and seeing events from their perspective added such a multi-layered touch to the series.
So yeah – even though I was initially kind of disappointed that Amber never showed up, the characters we did get to see more than made up for it. I found so many new favorites, and got to reunite with old ones!
Anyway, I think I’ll leave it at that. Since I’ve already read Fitz and the Fool at this point, I can’t really delve into theories without spoiling anything, and the rest of my thoughts should be pretty clearly discernible from my reaction logs. If not, you can always ask! All questions and comments are more than welcome!
Which brings us to the end of what might be my most monstrous Realm of the Elderlings review yet. I suppose I really should stop squeezing several books into one post because, as we’ve seen, I am absolutely incapable of shutting up about them… Then again, I feel like hardly anyone except me reads these anyway, so I’m just going to continue doing what I want 😁
Still, if you, by some miracle, haven’t had enough, you can find my thoughts on the previous books here:
- The Farseer Trilogy: Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin’s Quest
- The Liveship Traders Trilogy: Ship of Magic, The Mad Ship, Ship of Destiny
- The Tawny Man Trilogy: Fool’s Errand, The Golden Fool, Fool’s Fate
(Also, keep your eyes peeled for my thoughts on the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy, which will be coming to you very, very soon! 🙃)
And, please, talk to me! I would love to know what you thought of The Rain Wild Chronicles! Where do we agree, where do we disagree? Who was your favorite character? What would you have liked to see more of? Any thoughts on Elderling lore? I would love to know!