Time for the monthly art exhibition 😉 I keep wondering when I’ll get back to drawing/painting and my best guess is when all my older fantasy-themed works are on the blog already. This time it’s Nighteyes from Robin Hobb’s Fitz and the Fool stories – my favorite wolfish character of all times (including werewolves).
Assassin’s Fate is the final installment in the acclaimed Fitz and Fool Trilogy, and the grand finale for all three trilogies about the two protagonists: The Farseer Trilogy, The Tawny Man Trilogy and, indeed, The Fitz and Fool Trilogy. But more than that, it is quite possibly the crowning achievement and the ultimate conclusion to all Hobb’s writing pertaining to the world of Elderling Realms: Six, sorry, Seven Duchies, Rain Wilds, Kelsingra and beyond. Let’s stop here for a moment and count those: four trilogies – because there’s also Liveship Trilogy – and one tetralogy about Rainwilds, newly hatched dragons and their keepers. Altogether sixteen books, each easily over 500 pages long. A solid piece of one’s life spent on reading – let alone writing! It’s not surprising, then, that Fitz and Fool and Nighteyes had become important persons in my life 😉 and that I was heavily invested in reading the end of their story.
And, before I say anything else, I must say that it is a worthy conclusion. As always, it’s heart-breaking, riveting, harrowing and rewarding, enthralling, cathartic, horrible and beautiful in equal measures, tragic and poetic and sad – and yet, still immensely satisfying and incredibly powerful.
It’s just a few months to the release of the final installment in Fitz and the Fool trilogy. And so it’s high time to review the middle book, Fool’s Quest. I must admit I’ve been putting off the moment of reading this book for a while now – and it was a planned and conscious decision. I didn’t want to wait too long for the grand finale, because I expected Fool’s Quest to be the perfect second installment, the Empire Strikes Back of Realm of Elderlings: harrowing, dark, full of sadness and anger and desperation… In short – the perfect foundation for the grand, all-encompassing conclusion to the long and extremely rich series of Realm of Elderlings – not only the three trilogies of Fitz and Fool, but also the Liveship trilogy and the Rainwild Chronicles.
And I was not disappointed.
Making lists is one of the favorite pastimes around the web – and probably not only there. Lists of best books in any given year or month, lists of worst zombie movies ever, etc… It’s as if structuring and prioritizing one’s experience or even group preferences became the best source of available information. Show me your list and I’ll tell you who you really are.
We’ve been mentioning our own lists on the blog at least several times already – the TBR lists, mainly. The problem is, my personal lists are few and far between, and they are not even proper lists with any discernible hierarchy. I have rather sets of items, where each item holds more or less similar position to any other. And even of those I have only two worth mentioning: TBR and TBB.
It was to be expected; more, it was inevitable. After reviewing the two previous multi-novel sequences focused on FitzChivalry and Fool characters, the Farseer Trilogy and the Tawny Man Trilogy, there had to come a review of the newest works by Robin Hobb – the first installment in the Fitz and Fool Trilogy. From the muddy sentence above it would appear that Hobb writes nothing but trilogies; not true. She did write a tetralogy once – the Rain Wilds Chronicles :P. Continue reading
The Tawny Man Trilogy is the second trilogy set in the realm of Six Duches. It starts 15 years after the events depicted in the Farseer Trilogy and approximately at the same time as the Liveship Traders Trilogy. Here we finally meet Fitz the narrator of the first three books – the man who in the course of events described in the Farseer Trilogy has not only matured, but has become tired of life and deeply disillusioned. Almost broken, more than once, Fitz has gotten old beyond his years, and now lives in equal measures of constant pain and promise of bliss, both caused by his addiction to Skill.
A rosy beginning, is it not? Living incognito in a small village, as far from court politics as possible, Fitz pretends to be someone else than a royal bastard turned assassin turned mage. He assumes the name of Tom Badgerlock, he even adopts an orphaned boy named Hap, and he tries his best in farmland and parenting. Needless to say that in both he fails rather miserably, to the reader’s constant glee. The only thing he excels at is writing his story, as we know from previous books – but even this is not what he exactly wanted to do, as he planned to write a history of Six Duches instead of describing his personal endeavors. But the old wounds won’t heal, old memories won’t let him rest, and thanks to them instead of the boring, dry chronicles we have been given the emotionally wringing, touching and unforgettable Farseer Trilogy.
I remember seeing these books for the first time – way back in 90’s. The covers were in typical American style, informative but rather ugly (which is why they are not shown here at all 😉 – check this entry if you want a taste). What drew my attention to them was the name – Robin smacked of Sherwood and outlaws and all things Medieval. Yay! 😉 But those were the times when I still chose books based on their cover, so the Farseer Trilogy had to wait for its turn to be read for another decade.
When I’ve finally started reading Assassin’s Apprentice I couldn’t stop. I devoured the next two books and went looking for more. Fitz and Fool quickly found their place among my favorite characters. And they’re still there.