I was recently reading the first two books of Robin Hobb's new Rain Wilds Chronicles series and I am writing this short piece as a review. I first got interested in Robin Hobb as a fantasy author when I read her Farseer trilogy. I found it to be one of the best fantasy series that I had ever read. The continuation of the Farseer trilogy was the Tawny man trilogy which built upon the characterizations and the worlds that she had created. One of the most striking aspects of these books was Hobb's writing style and the way she infused her character with human emotion and gave them a sense of mysticism. Her characters are all too real. We identify with them strongly as they display adult emotions both in a negative and positive sense. Her writing style is intellectually satisfying because of the many facets of her characters.
After reading these two trilogies, I moved on to the Liveship Traders books. Again, Hobb surpassed my expectations for a great fantasy tale but for some reason, the series after that â€“ The Soldier Son trilogy really missed the mark. I was not very satisfied with this series and I felt that the author was off her game when she wrote these books. In the Soldier Son Trilogy, Hobb's writing becomes bloated and her characters become one sided. They seem to display dreary darkness and strong negative emotions. She explores unusual themes of Obesity and Tribalism and the sheer incompetence of the protagonist makes you want to tear your hair out. After some reading, you just want to give up on the main character. But then she came back into top writing form with her newest Rain Wild Chronicles.
This series begins where the Liveship Traders series left off. Tintaglia has successfully shepherded the sea serpents to the mouth of the Rain Wilds River and then does not make another appearance. The newly hatched dragons are malnourished and deformed. They have to be fed and taken care of by an unlikely band of human misfits. In the first two books, the dragons are shows to have their own internal struggles as they seek out their long forgotten glory. The author explores themes of societal rejection and emotional longing. Her characters regain their multi-dimensional aspects and once again we see an amazing tale of adventure and deep struggles.
This book is also about a little girl and her friends. Thymara, who is the main protagonist, is shown to be an outcast from her society of Rain Wilders. She is deformed as well and instantly takes to caring for the dragons that mirror her own physical and mental state. There are also very interesting side stories about marriage infidelity, cruelty and even homosexuality that makes this series full bodied and robust. The wine metaphor is apt for these books because you can truly immerse yourself in them and consider it time well spent. The author weaves different stories into one beautiful tapestry and that is what makes a Robin Hobb book what it is. I am eagerly awaiting the third part of the series.