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Mini Book Review: Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb

Title: Blood of Dragons

Author: Robin Hobb

Series: Rain Wild Chronicles #4

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

The Overview: The dragons’ survival hangs in the balance in the thrilling final volume in the acclaimed River Wilds chronicles fantasy series. The dragons and their dedicated band of keepers have at last found the lost city of Kelsingra. The magical creatures have learned to use their wings and are growing into their regal inheritance. Their humans, too, are changing. As the mystical bonds with their dragons deepen, Thymara, Tats, Rapskal, and even Cedric, the unlikeliest of keepers, have begun transforming into beautiful Elderlings raked with exquisite features that complement and reflect the dragons they serve.

But while the humans have scoured the empty streets and enormous buildings of Kelsongra, they cannot find the mythical silver wells the dragons need to stay health and survive. With enemies encroaching, the keepers must risk “memory walking”- immersing themselves in the dangerously addictive memories of long-deceased Elderlings – to uncover clues necessary to their survival. And time is of the essence, for the legendary Tintaglia, long feared dead, has returned, wounded in a battle with humans hunting dragon blood and scales. She is weakening and only the hidden silver can revive her. If Tintaglia dies, so, too, will the ancient memories she carries – a devastating loss that will ensure the dragons’ extinction.

The Mini Review:

I can’t say enough good things about Robin Hobb. If she’s not my favorite author, she’s at least in my top three. Blood of Dragons concludes her Rain Wild Chronicles, a series which takes place on the periphery of her FitzChivalry books. My favorite thing about these “spinoffs” is the expansion of the world I love and the most excellent portrayal of dragons. Many authors write dragons with human personalities, desires, and motives. Hobb’s dragons are bestial and almost alien in their behaviors and thoughts; in my opinion, every bit as authentic as good dragons should be. It was awesome! I don’t know that we’ll see a continuation anytime soon, but after finally learning more about Elderling lore (often alluded to throughout the entire Farseer saga and finally just scratching the surface of possibilities here) I can’t see her just leaving it at that. If you’re a Hobb fan, The Rain Wild Chronicles is a must-read. If you’re a fantasy fan, this author is well worth your time! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a new Fitz and the Fool tale to dive into…

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey

Dragon songTitle: Dragonsong

Author: Anne McCaffrey

Series: Harper Hall Trilogy #1

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

The Overview: Every two hundred years or so, shimmering threads fall, raining black ruin on Pern. The great dragons of Pern hurl themselves through the beleaguered skies, flaming tongues of fire to destroy deadly Thread and save the planet. It was not Threadfall that made Menolly unhappy. It was her father who betrayed her ambition to be a Harper, who thwarted her love of music. Menolly had no choice but to run away. She came upon a group of fire lizards, wild relatives of the fire-breathing dragons. Her music swirled about them; she taught nine to sing, suddenly Menolly was no longer alone.

Dragon song 2

The Review:

This is going to be a fairly short review for a really great dragon book. I don’t know that I can honestly claim to have a Dragon Obsession with out having read at least a few McCafferys (although I’d like to note I eventually plan on reading all them). Even though Dragonsong is only the first book of the Harper Hall Trilogy, I can already tell it’s going to be just as good as the original Dragonriders of Pern series.

As with Pern, I initially had trouble getting into the flow of the story because of the writing style – it’s not exactly what I would call accessible. McCaffrey uses a rather high-brow language that can sometimes make you feel as if you’re trying to read a textbook. While I think the more readers you can retain with your writing the better, this particular writing style is part of what makes these books unique, so they get a lot of allowances where other books might not. I only had a difficult time focusing at the beginning of the book, but once I settled into the flow of the language, the story came alive.

I absolutely love Dragonsong’s storyline – it’s about a teenaged girl who accidentally enthralls a bunch of fire lizards with her remarkable music. The main character, Mellony, was as charming as she was atypical. She is not a petite, helpless little waif but a tall, strong, capable young woman who knows what she wants out of life (even though she doesn’t always get it). I found her incredibly likable because of how humble, hard-working, compassionate she was – I can totally see why the fire lizards were drawn to her.

I liked this story so much that I’m kind of kicking myself for not continuing on straight away. I’m eager to see where Mellony’s story takes her next and am secretly hoping for some sort of love story to develop. Overall, if you like McCaffery (or dragons in general) I think you’ll enjoy Dragonsong. It takes place chronologically after Dragonquest of the Dragonriders of Pern series, but right before The White Dragon, so you may at the very least want to read the first two of that trilogy to avoid spoilers. In trying to figure out what order to read the books in, I found the lists on this website very helpful.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

seraphinaTitle: Seraphina

Author: Rachel Hartman

Series: Seraphina #1

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Overview: Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high. Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

The Review:

Since I featured Shadow Scale in a recent WoW post, I figured I should probably get around to writing my review of Seraphina. As someone who openly professes to have a Dragon Obsession, I’m surprised it took me as long as it did to read this one. Well, I guess it’s not too surprising. You see, I initially found the overview a bit dry and didn’t think the cover was particularly appealing (and still don’t even though there’s nothing technically wrong with it). Even so, it’s a YA dragon book, so I knew I still wanted to read it… eventually. So, when my Escape Reality Book Club voted it in as March’s selection, I was thrilled to have the excuse I finally needed to pick it up.

As I’ve implied, I’ve read quite a few dragon books in my day, and  Seraphina was not quite like any one of them. The unique take on dragonkind, specifically how they interacted with humans, was as refreshing as it was different: as accomplished scholars, some dragons take the form of humans and more or less integrate into their society. What I liked is that, even though the dragons were in human form, their behavior was anything but human. It was nice to see them stay true to their nature and I especially loved seeing how they interacted and coped with everyone around them. Overall, I think the book had a great atmosphere – some of which was due to the voice and setting, but most of it stemmed from the quirks of these cool dragons.

While the storyline was unique, I have to say nothing particularly epic happens. It’s honestly a good thing the atmosphere, characters, and dragons were interesting because otherwise the story would have really been a drag. In fact, even with all of those cool elements, there were a few places I found a bit boring… specifically the dream sequences. I should point out that I have very little patience for dream sequences in general, which definitely affected my overall rating of the book. I doubt many other readers would be bothered by them, so take what I’m saying with a grain of salt.

Anyway, I enjoyed Seraphina enough to be interested in seeing where it goes next in Shadow Scale, although I’ll definitely be at risk of forgetting key elements by the time it comes out in 2015.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Dragon Obsession – The Visual Files

Meet Kapsall

IMG_4716IMG_4717Adopted in December, this little guy was given to me by my best friend (who always knows exactly what to get me). Although he may not look as foreboding as some of my other “pets”, he has been known to throw fiery tantrums if you try to take away his treasure. As you can see, I’ve settled him in all nice and comfy, so hopefully he won’t be a hazard anytime soon. Although I do kind of miss my favorite necklace… Does anybody have a fireproof suit can borrow?

Seriously though, how cute is he? All I have to say is: my place is always open to any dragon in need of a good home.

by Niki Hawkes

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Dragon Obsession – The Visual Files

dragon1

 It has been a while since I’ve indulged in a Dragon Obsession post, but I found this guy while searching for some clipart and I thought he was too cool not to share! What I love about it is the unique shape of the wings and the beautiful use of color. I think this one would be really for fun to paint if I ever get the time. I tried to figure out who designed it initially, but all that kept coming up in my research were free wallpaper pages, so I guess it’s fair game if any of you want to use it as your desktop photo. :-)

by Niki Hawkes

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Dragon Obsession – The Visual Files

IMG_3144 2  Meet Vetch, Kashet, and Tala

 Named after my second favorite dragon series of all-time (Dragon Jousters by Mercedes Lackey), these little guys have been with me for more than five years. Now, most people would see these displayed in the store and choose just one to take home. I tried to do this, I really did, but I the ones I left behind kept looking at me with those cute little faces… what’s a dragon-hoarder to do? They make me smile every time I see them, so it was totally worth it!

 Think they are as cute as I do? You can still buy them here. :-)