The Dragon Keeper

•October 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Illustration by Jackie Morris

Illustration by Jackie Morris

So Hobb is back and, dare I say it, in some of her finest form yet.  Another trilogy set in The Realm of the Elderlings, this time following the mal-formed dragons (the former serpents in the The Liveship Traders trilogy) on their journey to the legendary city of Kelsingra, and the human characters of Alise Kincarron Finbok and Thymara.  

I admit to struggling through Hobb’s previous trilogy, Soldier Son. Shaman’s Crossing felt like it went on forever and I couldn’t seem to connect with its characters. I had no such troubles with The Dragon Keeper; a book I completely ravaged as Sintara might an elk. The collection of characters that Hobb has created are charming, intricate, loveable and frustrating alike. From Thymara’s and Alise’s coming-of-age type storyline, to the dragons Sintara and Mercor’s struggles with their deformities and sense of destiny, The Dragon Keeper is a myriad of colour and personality.
I was sad when it ended, yet inspired to again delve into Hobb’s previous works to relive the amazing journeys this writer is capable of taking me on. I loved Thymara’s sweet connection with her father, Rapskal’s undying optimism yet obvious loneliness, Alise’s growing sense of self and Leftrin’s hopeless infatuation with the lady from Bingtown. By the end of the book I loathed Sedric in the way that only Hobb seems able to make me dislike a character, with a sense of personal affront and frustration.
I can’t stand reading a trilogy that hasn’t been finished yet almost as much as I couldn’t stand the thought of not immediately devouring every word that Hobb writes as soon as they’re available.  Thoroughly enjoyable, a few minor glitches that were easily overlooked, I can’t wait for number two.

Myrren’s Gift – The Quickening

•October 22, 2009 • 1 Comment

Artwork by Les Peterson & Mike Golding

Artwork by Les Peterson & Mike Golding

Myrren’s Gift was the first Fiona McIntosh book I read. 

I had not heard anything about her, nor her books. As I wandered through Dymock’s searching for a new story to whisk me into fantastical escapism, my gaze was arrested initially by the awesome cover artwork of McIntosh’s books. Similar, I thought, to some of Robin Hobb’s cover art. I picked the book up and turned to the blurb, only to read a recommendation from Robin Hobb herself. Sold! If Hobb likes it, I’ll like it, I thought. And I wasn’t disappointed.
The Quickening absolutely delighted me, not just because it was a freshly crafted narrative with intriguingly textured characters, but also because of the way in which McIntosh writes. Not overly elaborate, yet far from simple, her use of language is perfect. Reading her work is simply a pleasure. 
Wyl’s travels with his soulful and inexplicably intelligent friends; Fynch the gong boy and the beastly canine Knave, take him and the reader to consistently unexpected places in a world where magic happens- much to the ignorance of most of its inhabitants.
I was completely sucked into the story of The Quickening, which sometimes left me gasping for breath as it craftily changed direction again and again. I read the entire trilogy in about a week and loved it so much, I immediately went out and bought McIntosh’s first trilogy ‘Trinity’.  
Without hesitation, I recommend The Quickening trilogy to any fantasy fiction fan. If you like imaginitive stories with enigmatic characters, The Quickening is for you.  Enjoy!