a review by Nalini Haynes
Blood of Dragons is the fourth and final Rain Wilds Chronicle by Robin Hobb. I’ve previously reviewed Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven and City of Dragons, books one, two and three respectively. If you’re considering reading this series, I recommend you read the review for Dragon Keeper instead of this review as there are spoilers for the earlier books.
The dragons have remembered the secret of liquid Silver that imparts magic, sentience and long-life to themselves and their elderlings. They demand their keepers find and repair the Silver well, pushing the keepers to risk life and limb. Malta and Reyn’s sickly babe is dying for want of Silver to repair his body. IceFyre, the oldest dragon, arrives at Kelsingra at death’s door, calling for dragons to avenge his poisoning by humans.
Tarman and his crew return to Cassarick to confront corruption and bear a warning to the traders of the Rain Wilds.
Rapskal changes considerably due to absorbing the persona of Tellator; he pushes Thymara to choose him and to become Amarinda, Tellator’s lover from their previous life. Hest Finbok’s confrontation of his former wife, Alise, and lover, Sedric, alters then reinforces relationships and character growth in all concerned. Hobb’s portrayal of intimate relationships is confrontational with surprising scope and depth. Hobb writes a fine line: tension in intimate relationships, including abuse, is contrasted with positive growth. Romance never devolves into melodrama, pace and plot are never sacrificed in favour of mawkish sentiment or unnecessary intimate scenes. This, THIS is the kind of ‘romantic element’ in fantasy that I really enjoy.
Blood of Dragons is a riveting conclusion to the Rain Wilds story. My heart was in my mouth from about 80% to 95% of the way through the book because my determination not to risk spoilers left me uncertain as to whether this story would conclude in Blood of Dragons or if I’d have to wait another year or so for the conclusion. Finally seeing closure in sight, relieved and satisfied I finished reading the climax before basking in the well-rounded closing scenes and epilogue. I highly recommend this fantasy quartet.