As mentioned in a previous post, I will be on the move soon and since I do not know if I will be able to get access to physical copies of these books (for borrowing purposes, I will probably never have the patience to re read them). This self-imposed timeline means I have three more huge tomes to work my way through soon and I have high hopes.
I started this review intending to do an individual analysis of each and realised that having read them in three days straight (almost), the lines blurred, and it was hard for me to point out something specifically from any one book. Then I scrapped the foolhardy plan because I was not really doing a good enough job of showing how much I enjoyed this despite (or maybe) because of my apprehensions. The first book did not endear me to this collection, but I had to keep going just to make sure I have all the required information and am armed with all the cogs that make this world go around. This will not make much sense to many who have not read the author’s books but I recommend skimming through my review just in case something catches your eye and you might be tempted to try the series. A friend of mine testified that it brought her back into a regular reading pattern even if she paused after the first three because of the emotional weight that comes with the book.
As many will know if you look at my previous reviews, I am one of the few who enjoyed the Liveship trilogy more than Fitz ones (core followers of the author would know what I am talking about). My primary interest in the world of wizard wood and dragons was the enormous growth arcs of all the people introduced to us. Every character begins with a very specific trait and then given the hardships they endure, they change – either for the better or, the worse. A friend brought up this fascinating insight into how the Liveships are genuinely like the children of the family, which runs it since they literally pour their blood into forming it. The fully formed (or the malformed ones in this case) dragons are the opposite end of the spectrum. They have no emotions to spare for any but themselves. The sole reason they hang together is because of their dwindling numbers, and the need to preserve the species.
In this instalments we have growth arcs for the dragons themselves, some are just passing names whereas others play a much more prominent role in shaping the events around them. Closely connected are their keepers, driven out of their homes for one reason or the other, they set out on this journey with different goals in mind. Their minds and bodies are to be literally shaped during the unravelling of this tale. Finally, we have all the ‘humans’ who act as connectors, making sure that all the essential pieces fit together for a better future. I liked one book more than the other two, but since I can no longer tell them apart, I will uniformly give them all four stars.
If anyone has been following the Elderling series in the proper order (as I continuously insist all the people I suggest it to to do), this should not be skipped for what it brings to the world-building. The dynamics of politics in the various kingdoms as well as what the Elderlings were (and could be), as well as the role dragons, once played. There is a lot of sentimentalities here, maybe to balance the casual callousness of the dragons that will not go away or even temper to mild disdain, however hard the reader might wish. The relationships are well done, but there are a lot of them, this may not appeal to those who like a streamlined, few protagonist narratives ( Like in the Fitz half of the Elderling series, which incidentally, I do love)