Robin Hobb, . . Eos, $26.99 (473pp) ISBN 978-0-06-156162-7
Here be dragons—but debilitated, deformed, damaged dragons, hatched too soon, sick and starving, into a world that has mostly forgotten them. The first of Hobb's Rain Wild Chronicles, an absorbing extension of her Liveship and Tawny Man trilogies, introduces 15 young dragons who struggle to survive with the grudging help of mutant Rain Wilders. Eventually driven out by the Traders Council, the hatchlings decide to seek Kelsingra, their ancient home. Caught up by the dragons' plight and longing to escape unhappy families and the stifling Rain Wild culture, self-taught dragon scholar Alise Kincannon and teenage tree-dwelling mutant Thymara volunteer to accompany them on the quest, with the help of magnetic liveship captain Leftrin and a host of colorful characters. Hobb's meticulously realized fantasy tale is a welcome addition to contemporary dragon lore.
Reviewed on: 12/21/2009