Reading Roundup – 29th August 2014
Book Reviews , Reading Roundup / August 29, 2014

So, I’m back from my vacation at last!  I didn’t read a whole lot – I spent time with family – but I did get through a few things.  My review of Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Assassin was published yesterday – go check it out if you like slow burning character driven epic fantasy. I also finished the Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet.  It had been on my TBR list for a while, but I found it slow going because I had been watching the YouTube video series in sync with the book.  I gave up on that and breezed through the book.  I thought it was an excellent companion to the web series, and enjoyed reading it very much.  The trouble is, it’s spoiled me now for The Austen Project series of modernisations of Austen’s works.  The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved are just so cleverly written and adapted, nothing else can come close. [book-info] One book I picked up this week and breezed though was Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods.  This is written from Percy Jackson’s point of view and in it he tells the stories of the Greek gods in his own inimitable style.  It was…

Holiday packing
Miscellaneous / August 14, 2014

Tomorrow I leave for a week’s vacation, including two long coach trips. More difficult than deciding what clothes to pack is deciding what books and audiobooks to download to my Kindle Fire for the trip.  I only have 16GB on my Fire – next time I will go for 32GB at least! – and I’m not certain what internet access I will have during my trip.  So I need to decide what books I’m likely to want to read/listen to over the next week. The first book I have chosen is, of course, Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Assassin.  Having reread much of the Realm of the Elderlings series, I’m anxious to know what she has in store next for Fitz and the Fool.  That’s the one I intend to start as soon as I board the coach. Before embarking on my reread of Robin Hobb’s works, I’d been listening to Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.  I will certainly continue that this trip if I get the chance. Continuing my cutesey romance change of scene from epic fantasy, I have also downloaded Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss.  It’s supposed to be excellent and I look forward to that one. On August 26th…

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Final Update
Book Reviews / August 13, 2014

[challenge-progress for=”Realm of the Elderlings” bg=”black” font=”white”] [book-info title=”Fool’s Fate – Canadian Audiobook” author=”robin-hobb-2″] Progress: Fool’s Fate 100% complete. Challenge 100% complete Today I finished Fool’s Fate, the final book in the Tawny Man trilogy and the last of the five books I was reading in my Realm of the Elderlings challenge. I was right in my prediction yesterday that the section I read today was very much a wrap-up.  Other than the expected resurrection of the Fool it was all about ensuring that the good guys were recompensed for their heroism.  Fitz gets his Molly (sigh), Dutiful gets his Narcheska, Tintaglia gets her Icefyre and they all live happily ever after and raise lots of children. The scene with the Fool and the Rooster Crown wasn’t as I’d remembered it.  It was a beautiful scene, but it doesn’t quite reach Perrin and his Hammer for epicness.  The secret of the Rooster Crown was very Fool-like.  Some readers have wondered why Fitz didn’t learn the secret of the Fool’s gender during this whole process, but I  easily understand why he didn’t even consider breaching the Fool’s trust in this manner. The writing of the Fool’s character development with his resignation…

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 18
Book Reviews / August 12, 2014

[challenge-progress for=”Realm of the Elderlings” bg=”black” font=”white”] [book-info] Progress: Fool’s Fate 71% complete. Happy book birthday to Robin Hobb and Fool’s Assassin which was published today!  The Kindle and Audible version hit my download queues overnight and I had to exercise great strength of will not to dive in immediately but to complete my reread of the Realm of the Elderlings series first.  Actually, that reminds me; those of you who have read Fool’s Assassin, please would you let me know in the comments if it contains spoilers for the Rainwild Chronicles?  Thanks!  I was also exceptionally pleased that Fool’s Assassin is Whispersync for Voice enabled.  Yay!  It’s one of those services that you don’t think you’ll need or use, until you have a book/audiobook combo without it. Speaking of audiobooks, after my whining yesterday about the North American version of Fool’s Fate not being available until the end of the month I was astounded to find it available on today.  Mutter, mumble grumble.  I wish I’d known that before I bought the UK version.  I gave in and completed my collection.  I am used to the Audible app and prefer using it to the music app for audiobooks….

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlngs Update 17
Book Reviews / August 11, 2014

[challenge-progress for=”Realm of the Elderlings” bg=”black” font=”white”] [book-info] Progress: Fool’s Fate 50% complete. OK, confession time.  I was disappointed that Brilliance Audio isn’t releasing Fool’s Fate in audiobook format in Canada until later this month so I used an iTunes UK gift voucher from my parents to pick up the book from iTunes UK.  The narrator is different – Nick Taylor rather than James Langton – and I would have preferred to have had them all the same.  Still it does mean if I don’t quite finish in time I’ll be able to finish the book during my coach trip on Friday. I may still pick up the North American one just so I have the set. This was another hard slog of a section, mirroring the hard journey our intrepid hero undergoes to reach the dragon Icefyre’s icy lair.  Lots of being cold, miserable, and hiking through treacherous snow and ice.  We’ve finally arrived at our destination, so hopefully things will start to happen soon. Only a couple of things to note: we still don’t know who our antagonist is yet.  We’re half way through the final book of the series!  It’s becoming more strongly implied that it’s the…

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 16
Book Reviews / August 9, 2014

[challenge-progress for=”Realm of the Elderlings” bg=”black” font=”white”] [book-info] Progress: Fool’s Fate 23% complete. So, onto the final book of my reading challenge, Fool’s Fate.  The audiobook hasn’t been released yet, so the cover art shown is that from the Kindle book.  This cover is clearly reminiscent of the date the novel was first released. This first section is pretty depressing.  It’s all about the Farseer contingent’s ship journey to the Outislands and Thick’s sheer misery during the voyage.  It does highlight Nettle’s Skill with dreams and shows the likely way in which she will aid the quest for Icefyre’s head.  I did feel this section could have been compressed considerably. The politics of the quest are starting to be discussed now.  Why did the Narcheska place such a demand on Dutiful?  What did she hope to gain?  Or is she being manipulated?  Of course, I remember the answer to that from my reading years ago! As I’m still shipping Fitz and the Fool, I did love the section where the Fool joins the Skill lesson and connects with Fitz.  Definitely more than plumbing!

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 15
Book Reviews / August 9, 2014

[challenge-progress for=”Realm of the Elderlings” bg=”black” font=”white”] [book-info title=”Golden Fool” author=”robin-hobb-2″] Progress: Golden Fool 100% complete. Woohoo, four books down, one to go!  Next up: Fool’s Fate.  I would just like to say thanks to everyone who has been following along with me on this reread. So, a lot happened in that last section of the book I just finished.  Here are some of the highlights. Dutiful’s Coterie is formed.  I loved this particular section.  It was beautifully written how Chade, Dutiful, The Fool and Thick all came together in the Skill to save Fitz’s life, with each of them bringing something to the table.  Chade’s arcane knowledge, the Fool’s love for Fitz, Thick’s sheer strength in the Skill and Dutiful’s skill at bringing it all together.  I believe they are making a big mistake in shutting The Fool out of the subsequent Skill lessons, which they may find to their cost. The rapprochement between The Fool and Fitz after their argument about love vs plumbing.  I can’t believe Fitz didn’t see that the reason The Fool was shutting him out was because of the deep, deep hurt he felt at Fitz’s reaction.  I hope the rapprochement continues. The revelation…

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 14
Book Reviews / August 8, 2014

[challenge-progress for=”Realm of the Elderlings” bg=”black” font=”white”] [book-info title=”Golden Fool” author=”robin-hobb-2″] Progress: Golden Fool 68% complete. So, as I guessed, Amber’s friend Jek’s arrival in Buckkeep caused the Fool’s Amber and Lord Golden personae to converge.  She also revealed to Fitz the depth of the Fool’s feelings for him.  Yep, still sailing that ship. I was very interested by Fitz’s reaction to all of this.  His thoughts were more along the lines of “oh no, everyone thinks I’m sleeping with my boss!” and “oh no, how could the Fool have had a totally different life about which I knew nothing?”  Not once did he think “oh no, the Fool’s feelings for me are deeper than I realised; how can I let him down gently?”  Nope, never goes there.  Clearly, Fitz doesn’t want to deal with his own feelings towards the Fool.   I suppose now is as good a time as any to address the whole issue of the Fool’s gender and sexuality in general in Hobb’s world.  At no point is it confirmed to which gender the person known as the Fool/Amber/Lord Golden belongs.  Right from the very beginning when we are first are introduced to the character in…

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 13
Book Reviews / August 7, 2014

[challenge-progress for=”Realm of the Elderlings” bg=”black” font=”white”] [book-info title=”Golden Fool” author=”robin-hobb-2″] Progress: Golden Fool 43% complete. I don’t actually have a great deal to say about today’s reading.  It’s more setup.  I was interested in the beginnings of Dutiful’s Coterie with Fitz, Dutiful, Chade, Thick and Nettle clearly being setup for that.  I was less involved shall we say in the whole Hap/Jinna subplot.  Hap’s pure raison d’être was to act as a comparison to Dutiful – both of Fitz’s “sons” need him and he’s struggling to balance the two and also to highlight Fitz’s own youthful indiscretions. I was glad that Hobb made it clear that Fitz really didn’t return Jinna’s affection in any meaningful way.  I’m still completely shipping Fitz and the Fool, but in any case Molly is still hanging around in the background <sigh>  In terms of the pairings, I’m a little frustrated that Hobb isn’t sticking to her “Molly is Fitz’s youthful fling, there’s someone (i.e. the Fool) in his future for a deeper relationship.”  I remember that Fitz ends up with Molly at the end of Fool’s Fate, so I hope that’s reversed in Fool’s Assassin. Speaking of the Fool, from the name of…