“Dragon Keeper” by Robin Hobb

Me and Emily from Embuhlee liest are back at it again. WE’RE READING ANOTHER ROBIN HOBB BOOK!!!! 😀 😀 And so far it’s great, of course!

Genre:

Fantasy

Series:

Rain Wild Chronicles, book 1

Realm of the Elderlings, book 10

Pubbed:

2009

Quick summary:

The dragon eggs have hatched! Finally the skies will be filled with dragons again…or so the characters hope. Despite the efforts of the dragon Tintaglia and the people of the Rain Wilds and Bingtown, the serpents that cocooned themselves in the Rain Wilds were too weak, too small, and too late to hatch as full grown dragons. Instead, they are deformed, weak, and unable to hunt to feed themselves. Tintaglia abandons them and leaves the responsibility to the people of the Rain Wilds to care for the deformed dragons (so it seems), but the dragons are a nuisance to their human neighbors, so the Rain Wild Council devise a way to get rid of them that would also purge the Rain Wilds of folks considered undesirable.

Meanwhile, the leader of Chalced is ailing. Someone whispered in his ear that dragon properties — scale, blood, stuff like that — can help heal him, so he’s pressured his sailors to secure some for him. In turn, this causes an obstacle for the people of the Rain Wilds who realize that the Chalcedeans are devising deceitful ways to infiltrate the Rain Wilds and get at the dragons.

And while all this is going on, a young Bingtown woman with a keen interest in dragons is considering what the future holds for her. She foresees that she will become an old maid because of her plain looks, abundant freckles, and family status, but has resigned herself to such a fate if only she can study dragons and become known as an expert on dragons. But one day, she receives a marriage proposal that’s too good to be true or to believe. Not only can she marry into a wealthy family and appease her parents, especially her mother, but she can continue to pursue her study of dragons, afford expensive scrolls, and maybe even visit the exotic Rain Wilds one day to see the newly hatched dragons to study them. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Oh man! It’s good to be back in Hobb’s world. I was a little ambivalent about this book because the Liveship Traders ones took a while for me to get into because the writing there felt a bit overworked and difficult to digest, but in Dragon Keeper, the writing reminded me of the Farseer and Tawney Man books. It went down easy despite being descriptive and full of imagery that made me yearn to see a picture of the Rain Wilds or visit the place myself.

I enjoyed reading Dragon Keeper though it was obvious that it’s function is only to lay the foundation for the larger story to come. We are introduced to new characters, the majority of whom are native to the Rain Wilds, and even glimpse some characters for the previous books like Malta and Althea and the liveship Paragon, who still seems conflicted but less so.

Of the characters, I immediately took a liking to Alise Kincarron. I think I’m going to love watching how her character develops as the story progresses because already I admire the chances she has taken and her ballsiness. I love how dedicated she is to studying dragons and that she’s stronger than the Bingtown folk imagine her to be. Of course, I hate her husband. He’s a fucking asshole who needs to be dropped in the Rain Wild River when it’s flowing white as milk.

Another favorite character is Rapskal. We don’t get much of him in this book, but I believe he will become more important later. I like how light-hearted and carefree he seems to be and his dedication to his dragon. I think he’ll get his dragon to fly very soon. And Tats, Thymara, and Leftrin aren’t bad either. Sedric Meldar, however, needs some sense knocked into him and what he does at the end creeped me out so much that I was reminded of Sam’s addiction to demon blood in Supernatural. (I wonder if the story will go that way.)

Of the dragon keepers who are accompanying the dragons up the Rain Wild, I find it very interesting how quickly the keepers begin to mirror their dragons, or vice versa. I wonder how this will play out later in the story and how it will affect mating among the dragons and among the humans.

There’s not much else to say because Dragon Keeper is all setup for what’s to come, but it left me craving more story and with a bunch of questions, like what’s Tintaglia up to and has she really abandoned these dragons? Will all the dragon keepers become Elderlings? Will Alise bond with a dragon? Will she divorce her horrible husband? Can she divorce him? What will happen when they all get to Kelsingra, which I think is the place where the stone dragons are made? And will my favorite characters Fitz and the Fool pop up in this series? Will Fitz bond with a dragon? That’d be so cool!!

Overall: ★★★☆☆ ½

It was a good read and I can’t wait to see what’s gonna happen next. Emily and I are so impatient that we’ve already started on the next book, Dragon Haven. Speaking of which, I need to catch up on my reading now. Ttyl.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

If you’re reading the books in order, like me, and love the story, also like me, then you might as well just Buy the books. Treat yo’ self! 😊

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Comics Roundup #27: Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet, bks. 1-4

I tried Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet series for the first time back in 2015. I was introduced to him through the Harry Potter books because he’s the illustrator of my favorite editions — the 15th anniversary editions. I love the illustrations, the scenes Kibuishi chose to highlight, and his use of color to tap into the emotion and tone of a scene or to highlight certain things. This made me want to sample more of his work, so I tried The Stonekeeper, the first book in his popular middle-grade fantasy graphic novel series.

I wasn’t blown away by The Stonekeeper, but I was interested enough to want to return to the story and, finally, I have. Recently, I reread the first book and read books two, three, and four — The Stonekeeper’s Curse, The Cloud Searchers, and The Last Council, respectively. With each installment, my interest in the story grew until I read book four and was left wanting more since I don’t have the fifth book.


Amulet, bks. 1-4 by Kazu Kibuishi (illus.)

Genre:

Middle-grade fantasy

Pubbed:

2008-2011

Series:

Amulet

The Stonekeeper (book 1)

The Stonekeeper’s Curse (book 2)

The Cloud Searchers (book 3)

The Last Council (book 4)

Quick summary:

Emily and her brother Navin move to their old family home with their mom after their father died in a car crash. While fixing up the house, which is in dire need of repair, Emily and Navin find a peculiar necklace that Emily takes a liking to. One night while sleeping, the family is woken by a noise that the kids’ mom investigates. She’s kidnapped and taken to a different world where Emily and Navin encounter queer creatures such as monsters, robots, and talking animals. There, the kids learn more about their family, Emily learns about the necklace she inherited, and they make new friends who help them to rescue their mother.

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“Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen

It was morning. As always, I was rushing to catch my bus to work but stole some time to look up an audio book to listen to on my way there and while working. Work is boring. Traveling to work on public bus can be aggravating. I needed a distraction.

I pulled up my Overdrive app and scrolled through audio books. I couldn’t find any available for books I’ve already read, which is the best way for me to consume audio books because it’s hard for me to remember or focus on new-to-me reads on audio. Then I said fuck it. Let me just download a random one. I pulled up a list of popular audio books and downloaded the one that snagged my attention first — the black and white cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. I didn’t even know who the dude is, but I knew that a lot of people raved over the book. It could be good, I thought as I popped in my headphones and hopped out the door.

Genre:

Nonfiction — autobiography, music

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“The Book of Hidden Things” by Francesco Dimitri (transl.)

Atmospheric and suspenseful with prose that transports you to Puglia, Italy, The Book of Hidden Things is one of the most well written books I read this year. I was drawn to it because of this interview with the author. Both it and the book’s title made me wonder what exactly the story is about.

Genre:

Fantasy, Literary

Pubbed:

June 2018

Quick summary:

Francesco Dimitri is an Italian author who has written several books in his native language and has now done a superb job of writing a fantasy novel in a foreign tongue — English. The Book of Hidden Things is his debut English novel that he translated himself. It’s about four friends — Fabio, Tony, Mauro, and Art — who made a pact at the end of high school to return to the same spot in their home town in Puglia, Italy, every year on the same date. But this time, Art, who instigated the pact, does not show up.

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“The Invisible Man” by H.G. Wells

I decided to revisit The Invisible Man a few weeks ago when I saw it on a feature shelf at my library.

I’d first read it when I was in high school and was so hooked on the story back then that I completed the book in a day. I wanted to know if my experience with the story would be the same or if the intervening years had dried the story for me and made it a bore, so I gave it another read.

Genre:

Sci-fi; Classic

Pubbed:

1897

Goodreads summary:

This masterpiece of science fiction is the fascinating story of Griffin, a scientist who creates a serum to render himself invisible, and his descent into madness that follows. (Goodreads)

My thoughts: (spoilers)

In short, I enjoyed the story. Again I was hooked just as I was when I first read it. But unlike my high school years, I now have responsibilities that claim my time, so it took a few days to complete the story, which is quite short at under 200 pages.

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BBC #4: Autumn Colors

This edition of BBC, a meme I started where I feature books with beautiful covers, will focus on the robust colors of autumn.

I love autumn colors. They are rich and majestic. When I walk among trees donned in fall colors, I feel as if I’m walking among royalty about to partake in autumnal festivities. I love the mustard yellows, dark greens, plums, burnt oranges, maroons, and rich, warm browns. Ahh… Autumn. It hasn’t yet fully arrived in my part of the world, but I feel tendrils of it in the air as it slowly creeps in.

To herald it’s coming, here are some book covers in autumnal covers.

Before the Feast by Saša Stanišić, trans. from German by Anthea Bell

cover art by Claire Scully

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Illustrated Books: “Sky High” and “Spot, the Cat”

I’m surprised at myself that I haven’t read much illustrated books or comics so far this year. I wonder what’s going on with me. These two books bring me to a total of 4 illustrated children’s books read so far. Hopefully I’ll read a few more before the year is done.

Both of the books I’ll discuss in this post where cover buys. I love looking at illustrations of architecture and both books have illustrations of buildings on their covers. Naturally, I picked them up, ran my hands over the cover, and convinced myself to purchase them. I bought them at two different independent bookstores and I’m glad to now know that both were good purchases.


Sky High by Germano Zullo, illus. by Albertine

Genre:

Children’s Humor

Pubbed:

2012

Goodreads summary:

In this charming illustrated tale, two competing neighbors begin embellishing their mansions, only to find themselves caught up in a race to build the tallest, most decadent skyscraper featuring solid gold doors, diamond-encrusted pillars, grand ballrooms, expensive paintings, live tigers, and indoor swimming pools—with consequences inevitable, and not. Kids will love spotting the funny details hidden in this witty take on an age-old moral, while their parents—particularly any who’ve ever undertaken a remodel—will chuckle with recognition. (Goodreads)

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