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02 August 2009 @ 06:37 pm
The Dragon Keeper, Robin Hobb

First off, this book makes little sense without first having read the Liveship Traders and Farseer Trilogy, so it follows that any discussion will involve them.

Secondly, I inhaled this book. It was immensely enjoyable. However ... and thirdly ... her standards are slipping.

I read this avidly because I'm genuinely curious as to the fate of the dragons and all the characters from the other books.

I nearly cried when Alise turned out to have red hair, as I thought it was an attack of the inevitable feisty, redheaded heroine, but in fact she's timid and homely. A bit too timid, actually. Her involvement in the quest depends on her overcoming her fear of Hest and Sedric and choosing her own path. If she gave into her misgivings there would be no story, so the repeated bouts of 'OH NOES WHAT AM I DOING LET'S GO HOME' got slightly ... well, repetitive. As all her of her interaction with Hest is written in flashback, he loses much of his power as an intimidating figure. I saw nothing of the frustrated helplessness that Althea and Keffria felt towards Kyle, which makes Alise even more irritating - because I know Hobb could do it if she tried. As for Sedric's relationship with Hest, WELL DUH. Hobb wrote them so coyly she obviously thought no one would see it coming until she wrote the (flashback, of course) sex scene in the snow. In the snow. Because snow is so conducive to sexy times. Not.

I also wish she'd made up her mind before she started about where Thymara/Greft/Tats was going. Greft could work really well as a creepily insinuating power player, but Hobb keeps throwing in red herrings about how attractive he is. I sure wouldn't mind if he and Sedric got together and in so doing learned to be less assholeish, but I don't trust Hobb's treatment of gay love. Look how she knocked over all our hopes for Fitz and the Fool. She also hates fanfic, and the only fanfic anyone would ever want to write is Fitz/the Fool, because they ARE the Great Doomed Romance That Wasn't. I don't know, Hest came off as such a caricature of the devious, hedonistic gay man ... we'll see, I suppose. (Sedric/Greft OTP!)

There was much evidence of carelessness in her writing. Repetition of words within the same paragraph: that really bugs me a whole lot, and it happened so often. It was clear she wrote out of linear order and went back to fill in the gaps - but in that case, she should have read through the original parts and deleted the filler explanations. Because it got - wait for it - repetitive. In fact, repetitive is the key word for everything that's wrong in the book. In one case it led to a huge plot hole, wherein Alise didn't know Malta was originally human, but further on references 'humans turning into Elderlings' like Malta, Reyn and Selden's origins were common knowledge. One or the other, dude!

That being said, I really entered in to the spirit of the narrative. I didn't want it to end, and I want the next book NOW. I guess that's a sign of success in spite of great odds, eh?

P.S. It should have been 'dragon keeperS.' But I digress.

Previously, on Book Glomp 2009:
He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope |The Bostonians, Henry James | For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway | For Esme - with Love and Squalor, JD Salinger | The Outsider, Albert Camus | The Princess Diaries: Ten out of Ten, Meg Cabot | The Vicar of Bullhampton, Anthony Trollope | Molesworth, Geoffrey Willans | Villette, Charlotte Bronte | The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James | The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler | Cecilia, Fanny Burney | The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger | The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark | Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut | Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann | Siddhartha, Herman Hesse | The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga | The Duke and I, Julia Quinn | Brave New World, Aldous Huxley | North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell | Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee | Catch-22, Joseph Heller | Bright Shiny Morning, James Frey | Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck | The Demon's Lexicon, Sarah Rees Brennan | The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton | jPod, Douglas Coupland | 'Are these my basoomas I see before me?', Louise Rennison | Faro's Daughter, Georgette Heyer | Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman | The Accidental Sorcerer, K.E. Mills | Ethan of Athos, Lois McMaster Bujold | V., Thomas Pynchon | The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway