Robin Hobb is one of my favourite authors, and it’s a shame it’s been so long since I’ve read one of her novels. I lost the will to go on after finishing the first two books in her Soldier Son trilogy. I still loved her writing in those, but I just really grew to hate the plot. The whole story was ridiculous and painful to get through. After deciding to abandon that series (a decision that took years), I unfortunately stopped reading her completely, despite having the Liveship Traders and Rain Wild Chronicles books to still read.
When I saw another Fitz-centric series was released, I had to pick up the first book. I really should have read a synopsis before starting this, because I apparently forgot a lot of what happened in the previous two trilogies. The first two hundred pages of this was a journey of discovery for me. I was constantly going ‘oh, right’ at things I really, really should have remembered, but to be fair it has been nearly a decade since I picked up one of these books.
Fitz is living his life away from the scheming of the royal court, and is trying desperately to keep that distance, fighting against the constant pull to return. In his own life, crazy things are happening, and he has to balance new responsibilities with those from his past. I don’t want to give anything away, as I went into this blind and really think that’s the way to do it, but I’ll just say that I loved this. Hobb had me hooked immediately, and even though not a lot of action was happening, as with all of her books, she brings these characters alive in a way that most authors can’t quite achieve.
You really feel everything they go through, the joy of every success and the pain of every setback. It’s amazing how she pulls this off. I’ve read other novels where the protagonist is beaten within an inch of his or her life, and I’m somewhat saddened by this, but in Hobb’s books someone can subtly speak behind the protagonist back in an unfair way, and it cuts me deep in my soul. It’s impossible not to care for these characters.
I’m currently awaiting for the paperback release for the next book, Fool’s Quest, but we’ll see if I last that long.