Dragon Keeper is the first book in the Rain Wild Chronicles quartet, which also marks the beginning of the fourth out of five subseries within Hobb’s The Realm of the Elderlings series. The entire storyline in this book took place in the Rain Wild section of the world and plot-wise, the first book has a very simple premise. The Dragon Keepers have to herd the dragons to find their lost legendary city, Kelsingra. That’s it, that’s seriously the plot of this book. There’s no complexity in the story so far, it’s completely a setup for the next three books. There are no climax sequences or tense moments, completely zero actions here; even less than all Hobb’s previous books. The climax sequences—if you can call it that—revolves around the Dragon Keepers fighting over an Elk’s meat to share. Yup, you heard that right. Fighting over an Elk’s meat. Bloody intense, bruh, I’m shaking in my boots. I’m not sure but I heard this is the publisher’s fault as this was supposed to be one giant book but the publisher decided to divide it into two instead and it makes the book to not have any sense of ending.
We follow the story from the perspective of five new characters: Thymara, Alise, Sedric, Leftrin, and Sintara. As I said before, this is just a foundational book. Although it’s almost 600 pages long, almost nothing actually happened in the story, it’s all about laying the groundwork for future books by doing characterizations first. The characterizations were great but I’m still not charmed by them like how I was with Fitz or the characters in the Liveship Traders. The problem is I felt the characters felt a bit too childish or YA-ish, even the way Hobb wrote them felt different to Hobb’s usual complex characters. Plus, the dragon’s POV was boring. I’m a fan of Hobb’s Liveship Traders trilogy but even there, one of my minor complaints were the Serpent’s PO; the Dragon’s POV was practically the same thing as that. If you enjoyed the Serpent’s POV in Liveship Traders you might not face this problem.
The main highlight of this book for me was the Liveship Traders characters cameo. They didn’t appear a lot but when they do, I was overjoyed but their appearance, Hobb has written something really great about her characters in the Liveship Traders in my opinion.
Hobb’s prose here also felt a bit different. It still captivated me and the characterizations were great, but it’s simply not as great compared to how she wrote Farseer, Liveship Traders or Tawny Man trilogy. I usually end up highlighting a lot of passages/quotes in her books, there’s absolutely none here which I found memorable.
Overall, Dragon Keeper is a good foundational book but it’s certainly Hobb’s weakest start in her gigantic series. I’m still hopeful that the foundation laid here will bring a great result for the next three books in this quartet.