How to get Skara the Drachenhueter

Dragon keeper from Robin Hobb

Series: The Rain Wilds Chronicles, Vol, 1

Review by Christel Scheja


Megan Lindholm is actually much better known under her pseudonym Robin Hobb than under her real name. The author, who was born in California in 1952, has made a name for herself with her two “far-sighted” cycles and the series about the “Magic Ships”. Now another story from her pen has appeared in Germany. "Drachenhüter" turns out to be the first volume of the "Rain Wilds Chronicles".


In human legends, dragons are still wise and majestic creatures, far above mortals, sharing the wisdom or knowledge of their age with only a few. But the reality looks different now. The number of powerful creatures has shrunk because their descendants have to come to terms with the changed conditions in their ancestral areas. Only a few sea snakes - hatched from the dragons of the eggs and spent years at sea - manage to reach the place where they can pupate and transform.

But when they hatch after a good year, most of them are helpless and crippled. So they are all the more dependent on the people who have dedicated themselves to their help.

Among them is the tracker and hunter Thymara, who struggles with deformities more than many others of her people and, as an outsider, develops a heart for the newborn beings. She and other young people become one of the dragon keepers who look after the hatchlings' welfare and food, even if they are rarely thanked.

But movement in the fate of the dragons, which most people only see as an annoying evil, only comes through the merchant Alise. Trapped in a loveless marriage, she just wants to fulfill a wish and see the essence of the legends - but is appalled by their fate and treatment and decides to take them to an old city that is deeper in the rain, but safer for she is.

Then there is Sinantra, a young dragon who has the knowledge and memory of her ancestors but is trapped in a crippled body.


These three “women” become the key characters in the adventure story, which starts off very slowly and takes a lot of time to introduce the characters and their everyday environment, to describe the setting and to provide initial clues as to the further course of the plot. They only meet in the middle of the book and the events take their course.

This is portrayed very imaginatively and vividly, but not always captivating, because the characters remain at a distance despite all the descriptions and you can't really feel anything for them, so that the reader takes an interest in their fate. While they are characters with rough edges, weaknesses and flaws, something is missing to make them really personable. They don't really manage to break away from the classic images that one quickly makes of them.

The description of the area is, as usual, imaginative. You almost think you can dive into the rainforest, which seems to have its own magic, especially since it breaks some clichés. This also applies to the dragons, whose power and beauty they are thoroughly dismantled here, but still give them the arrogance of wanting to stand above mortals, which gives them an interesting note.

So that the tension increases a little, one of the supporting characters in the background is also working against the trader's goal in order to enrich himself - you will see how far he gets with it.


All in all, "Dragon Guardian" is a typical fantasy novel by Robin Hobb, very sophisticated and rich in images, but this time it doesn't really create tension and sympathy among the readers for the characters. So you have to be patient to really enjoy the book, because it has a lot of unnecessary length, especially in the first two thirds.


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Dragon keeper

Series: The Rain Wilds Chronicles, Vol, 1

Author: Robin Hobb

Heyne Verlag, April 2012

Paperback, 703 pages

Translation from English by Simon Weinert

Cover picture by Volkan Baga

ISBN-10: 3453529189

ISBN-13: 978-3453529182

Available from: Amazon

Kindle Edition

ASIN: B00739NI5K

Available from: Amazon