Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fool's Errand Book Review

by The Wanderer

Author: Robin Hobb
Publisher: Bantam
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: Tawny Man Trilogy Book One
Pages: 672

Buy on Amazon!

Destiny Not Fulfilled ... Yet

(Spoilers for the Farseer Trilogy and Liveship Trader's Trilogy are below).
Not since Lord of the Rings has fantasy seen as perfect a bittersweet ending as the Farseer Trilogy. I often asked myself what a sequel to Lord of the Rings would have looked like? The optimist in me would say, "it would've been great, it's Tolkien", the purist in me would have said, "don't mess with perfection." While we never got a sequel to Lord of the Rings, Robin Hobb has crafted her first sequel trilogy for FitzChivalry Farseer and the rest of the Six Duchies.

Fifteen years have passed since Verity carved a dragon from the skill and unleashed a horde of them upon the Red Ship Raiders. Regal gave up his power, and was eventually assassinated. Kettricken has taken up the throne to rule until her son come's of age. For Fitz, the world believes him dead, and he would like it to remain that away, even if it means never seeing his true born daughter Nettle, or the love of his life Molly, or the one true father figure in his life, Burrich ever again. Living in isolation after a number of years traveling, Fitz and Nighteyes are now enjoying a quiet life in a small cabin in the woods.

Robin Hobb is a master at characterization. She in particular excels at writing dramatic conversations, between well developed characters. I'm particularly fond of the conversation between Chade, Burrich, and Fitz at the beginning of Assassin's Quest. Well with three Farseer books, and six Realm of the Elderling books under her belt, Hobb can begin with the emotionally intense conversations right away.

Little time is wasted before Fitz is visited by Chade, Starling, and eventually the Fool ... who rides in on a beautiful new horse named Malta - the first of many subtle references Hobb uses about her equally brilliant tie in series, The Liveship Traders. These conversations nearly make up the first third of the book, and the intensity and revelations of what all of the Six Duchies characters have been up to for the last fifteen years - no matter how small - not only sucks you back into the world, but rekindles an old wound about the more bitter aspects of the Assassin's Quest ending. 

As surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, Fitz finds himself once again entangled in the problems plaguing the Farseers and the throne.  Fool's Errand, is very straight forward, but following Fitz and company into a new storm of political intrigue is no less harrowing. Fitz is ever mistrustful of everyone he knows, except Nighteyes. It may strain his relationships with everyone he knows, but the conversations between wolf and man remain a highlight between a true friendship, or dare I go as far to say a true partnership. The Fool has matured into a much more enjoyable personality, especially when he slips into his new guise as the narcissistic noble Lord Golden.

By the end, Fool's Errand may not the best Farseer novel, but it opens the door to a new story, with many moral ambiguities. 

Score: 8.9

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