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    Review of CITY OF DRAGONS by Robin Hobbs


    Harper Voyager, February 2012

    A group of stunted dragons and their human keepers have set up a village across the mighty Rain Wild River from the dead city of Kelsingra. Without the ability to fly, the dragons cannot hunt, and their human companions (servants/slaves/friends?) are gradually hunting out the large animals in the area. As winter approaches, it's essential that they get supplies, but any contact with the outside world brings danger. First, abandoned dragon cities are highly sought after and Kelsingra is the most complete and undamaged city ever discovered. Second, the evil Duke of Chalced is desperate for the dragon parts he believes can cure his diseases and restore his energy and life.

    CITY OF DRAGONS follows the lives of the dragons and their humans as they see the promised land across the river without the ability to reach it, and the efforts of merchants and nobility elsewhere to profit from the dragons. Romance has broken out among the human dragonkeepers, several of whom have escaped abusive relationships in the cities they left behind, giving them added reason to fear contact with others on the river.

    I've always loved stories about dragons and Robin Hobb is a strong author (see more reviews of fantasy by Hobb). CITY OF DRAGONS has its moments: I loved the scene where the city of Kelsingra partially comes to life, and the scenes involving the Chalced assassins are also strong. For the most part, however, I found this book to be too slow, setting up problems but not resolving much, flipping between characters too quickly to let us really care about them, and giving us dragons with a lot of potential but that are largely unlikable.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 1/02/12

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