City of Dragons is the weak link in the otherwise fantastic Rain Wild Chronicles. It suffers from weak pacing and a short length, but is easily forgiven by the strengths of the other books and the inclusion of Sedric and Carson. At the time of this review, I have already finished Blood of Dragons, but I’ll keep my knowledge of that book from coloring my perception of this book.
Let’s get the pacing issues out of the way because I love this series and want to forget about the negative aspects as soon as possible. This book is short for both the series and fantasy novels in general, a full hundred pages shorter than the final book. The length is not a problem on its own, but it’s compounded by too many perspectives. In this book we get to hop in the heads of Hest, Sedric, Alise, Leftrin, Tats, Thymara, Malta, Selden and the Duke of Chalced. This averages out to about 36 pages dedicated to each character’s perspective. At this point you might as well be reading a collection of interrelated short stories. Most of the characters are in different physical locations, so the story crawls along. At least it seems to push them all together for the final book. The pacing problem would have been enough to drag this book down to a three for me had it not been for Sedric and Carson.
In a mainstream fantasy book, it is so rare to have a homosexual couple whose major purpose seems for them to be the well-adjusted couple of the group that I forgive any other issues I have with the relationship. Most of their relationship development happened off page and every time they had even the tiniest squabble they had resolved it by the next time we saw them. Yet, we rarely get happy, well-adjusted gay couples in mainstream fantasy who don’t die. If anyone has book recommendations that meet the above requirements, please send them my way. I would love for nothing more than to read them too.