Author: Robin Hobb
Dragon Haven is book two in the Rain Wilds Chronicles. (Book one, Dragon Keeper, review is here.) In book one, it took nearly 200 pages for the action to get going, then ended nearly as soon as it began. Book two, however, jumps right into the story – picking up where book one left off. Dragon Haven is the story of the journey to Kelsingra (a legendary city of dragons and their symbiotic race, the Elderlings).
Much like Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven is a well-written novel with excellent distinctions in POV. The world is well crafted, if disturbingly misogynistic. If I had a complaint about the novel – the characters are difficult to like and root for. Sintara, the main dragon, is arrogant and ungrateful. She treats the humans as servants, not acknowledging that they have been feeding/cleaning her during the journey nor does she acknowledge that the bond that she shares with Thymara, her keeper, is improving her condition daily – Sintara’s deformities are being healed, she is bigger and stronger, and more reminiscent of a true dragon form. (In fact, none of the dragons seem to recognize the advantage they are receiving through their human keeper bond).
The two lead females, Thymara and Alise, are naïve. Sedric was spoiled and selfish in book one, and ironically, his incredibly selfish act at the book one ends up being his salvation, turning him into someone new and better (though he still had his selfish, hurtful moments) by the end of book two. These are the heroes, there aren’t any true villains – there are foils and other obstacles along the way, but there isn’t much of an antagonist – he exists for a little over a chapter.
Normally, when I dislike the characters, the book, movie, or TV show is doomed. Dragon Haven is so well done, however, that I had a hard time putting the book down. The most dramatic/tense moments were in the early middle of the book and never picked up to that level of tension again. I hope the characters come around in the future books – much like Sedric did in book two. If they do, the rating will increase.
WWYT Rating: 6.5
Goodreads Rating: 4.02/5