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Full Version: Dragon Keeper discussion (WARNING: CONTAINS UNMARKED SPOILERS)
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Well, I set up this thread for those of us who have finished the book. Spoilers are unblocked here, so if you haven't finished the book yet, go back now.

So. I really liked the book. Reflecting upon it, I noticed that not all that much actually happens in the book - misifits get together and start herding dragons - but it's still interesting to read. It's all about the characters here.

I liked seeing old characters such as Althea, Brashen, Paragon and Malta again. As I've said before, though, I'm a little annoyed that we do not learn the name of Brashen and Althea's son.

Another thing that I noticed was the portrayal of the Chalcedeans. In all books thus far, they have been little more than faceless enemies. all we ever learn is that it is apparently a harsh land where people keep slaves. And that's about it. The Outislanders were kept vague in The Farseer, but were given much more depth in The Tawny Man. But the Chalcedeans? It's something that just bugs me. They're mean, they clash with the Six Duchies and with Bingtown, and that's about it.
I loved the bit about Clef, when Alise said he'd been introduced as the ship's boy but was treated more like the captain's son, and he was little Ephron's* play thing. I thought that was nice, seeing that he'd basically become one of the family.

* I'm calling him Ephron until we get information indicating otherwise. It's easier than always saying "Brashen and Althea's son".
Speaking of the Brashen & Althea scene, I really liked the description of Paragon. The way she described his face of a young man, attractive but strong. I had forgotten about how Amber had carved Paragon's face into a likeness of Fitz. It made me smile thinking about that.
I think my favorite part was the great descriptions of Trehaug and Cassarick. The Rain Wilds have always fascinated me, so hearing more about them was really cool. A swaying city of twilight among the trees...it sounds amazing to me.

I also really enjoyed hearing and seeing the Trell Family as well as Malta. I was surprised that they stayed close to home (traveling between Trehaug and Bingtown) because I assumed they would travel abroad and do what they wanted. Maybe they got that out of their system in the years that passed...
It was nice to see how happy they were and how well they were doing. I did find it a bit sad that Malta has yet to give birth to a healthy baby, but that is the price the Elderlings pay I guess.
On the subject of the dragons, here are a few thoughts:
Sintara = Sisarqua. Confirmed in the book.
Mercor = Maulkin. I think this is pretty much agreed upon.
Kalo = Kelaro. Both are said to be the biggest in size. Similar names.
Sestican = Sessurea. They have similar names, which seems to be an emerging pattern in the dragons. They're also both blue, though this is a little shaky as evidence because colour seems to change from serpent to dragon.
Veras = Shreever. Stretching it a lot here, but one name ends with VER and the other starts with VER.

This would leave us with Ranculos, Fente, Arbuc, the copper, the silver, and some (unnamed?) others.
You have forgotten Heeby!
Oh so I have! Oops!
I loved Dragon Keeper! Great characters, as always. And the descriptions of the Rain Wilds were to die for. This sounds cliched, but I really felt like I was there. I heard birds cawing in the forest and the gentle susurrus of the river the whole time I was reading.

My only problem with the whole thing was the publishing. There's no indication anywhere on the book, dust jacket, etc. that this is just part one of a two-part book. I can well imagine a new reader picking up the book and going "That's it? Where's the ending?" Seems like a big oversight on the part of the publisher.

And a map! Where is a map? I mean, half the fun in fantasy stories is following along with the adventurers, and wondering what lies just off the edges of the map. (though in this case, it would be less "There be dragons" and more "Here be dragons" P ) Especially for a story where a major plot thread is that the characters are seeking up the river into unknown lands in search of a lost city. It just begs for a cool map.

I'm crossing my fingers to get a neat map for the US edition. I know that they've been different between the US and UK editions in the past.

On a side note, I live in the US, in Alabama. I imported the book from Amazon.co.uk because the shipping wasn't too bad, and I couldn't wait another six months for it to come out. Is anybody else here from the States?
Yeah, the lack of a map is annoying. Considering that they don't even cover that much new ground in the book (and showing exactly where the Dragons' journey will lead them to might constitute a spoiler) they could even have used the map from The Liveship Traders.

But the fact that this is part of a series was clearly marked. How much clearer that "Part one of the Rain Wilds Chronicles" can you get?
I just spent the whole day reading Dragon Keeper, and I've finished it with mixed feelings. I absolutely adore the assassin, liveship and tawny man trilogies but after reading the first Soldier Son book I was so disappointed I couldn't bring myself to read the others. So, I looked forward to The Dragon Keeper with mixed anticipation and dread, eager for another installment in the realm of the elderlings but afraid it would fail to meet the standards of the earlier books. As it is, on finishing Dragon Keeper, I have to say that I found it an enjoyable read if not quite as impressive as the liveship books. I found the first half of the book pretty slow and filled with lengthy descriptions and not enough action, the book finally got going about half way through and from there on I did find it quite gripping although there was still relatively little happening: it pretty much dwelt on Alise deciding again whether she should stay or go every second page and Thymara realising that Greft isn't a nice guy. So I have to say that overall I think this book could have been a lot shorter than it was, I enjoyed the characters but got a bit tired of the repetition of the same thoughts over and over again (Poor Alise never expected to marry and then it was such a let down, does she have the courage to follow her dream? Thymara should not have survived but can she be accepted now?.). Don't get me wrong, I'm a major Hobb fan and I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment but I just feel that this book, though satisfying, doesn't live up to the likes of Ship of Magic or Assassin's Apprentice.
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