Category: Book Reviews

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 16

Realm of the Elderlings: 5/5

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Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 16Fool's Fate by Robin Hobb
Series: The Tawny Man Trilogy #3
Also in this series: Fool's Errand, Golden Fool, Fool's Fate - UK Audiobook, Fool's Fate - Canadian Audiobook
Format: eBook
Pages: 928 pages
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunes

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

Realm of the Elderlings: 5/5

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Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 15Golden Fool by Robin Hobb
Series: The Tawny Man Trilogy #2
Also in this series: Fool's Errand, Fool's Fate, Fool's Fate - UK Audiobook, Fool's Fate - Canadian Audiobook
Format: eBook
Narrator: James Langton
Length: 25 hours and 56 minutes
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: five-stars

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 of The Fool’s tattoos and the moral dilemma which faces Fitz should the Fool go to Asjeval.  It appears Fitz will have to choose between his loyalty to the Farseers, a trait which has defined his whole life up until now, and the Fool’s life.  Tough choice.

So, onto Fool’s Fate, the longest book in my challenge.  The audiobook has not yet been released in North America, so I will be reading only.  I guess we’ll find out what happens next.

Join me then!

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 14

Realm of the Elderlings: 5/5

100%
Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 14Golden Fool by Robin Hobb
Series: The Tawny Man Trilogy #2
Also in this series: Fool's Errand, Fool's Fate, Fool's Fate - UK Audiobook, Fool's Fate - Canadian Audiobook
Format: eBook
Narrator: James Langton
Length: 25 hours and 56 minutes
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: five-stars

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 Assassin’s Apprentice his gender is in question.  He presents himself as male and is referred to as male even though the character is distinctly androgynous.  The Fool is often seen as refusing medical aid, perhaps to conceal his true nature.  As Amber he adopts a female persona and as Lord Golden male.  Starling is the first to suggest the Fool is female.  Whenever anyone asks him directly he tells them it’s none of their business.  Hobb uses the male pronouns when referring to the Fool or Lord Golden and the feminine ones when referring to Amber.  

At one point, (Assassin’s Quest, chapter 30) Fitz and the Fool are discussing love and sex and Fitz suggests that two men cannot love each other in the way that a man and woman do.  The Fool’s response: “you’re confusing love with plumbing”  Nicely done, Fool, nicely done.  However, my ship is rocked somewhat by Fitz’a insistence that true love does require a physical relationship and that he could never be physically involved with someone of the Fool’s perceived gender.  

In other news, at 50% of the way through the second book, we FINALLY get onto the quest for this series’ McGuffin, the quest for Icefyre’s head.  Yay.

I’m also enjoying the way Thick is slowly becoming better understood by both Fitz and Dutiful.  

More tomorrow

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 13

Realm of the Elderlings: 5/5

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Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 13Golden Fool by Robin Hobb
Series: The Tawny Man Trilogy #2
Also in this series: Fool's Errand, Fool's Fate, Fool's Fate - UK Audiobook, Fool's Fate - Canadian Audiobook
Format: eBook
Narrator: James Langton
Length: 25 hours and 56 minutes
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: five-stars

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 the next chapter, “Jek,” I have the feeling that his Amber and Lord Golden personae are going to collide drastically leaving Fitz with a real “WTF!?!” moment.  We shall see tomorrow!

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 12

Realm of the Elderlings: 5/5

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Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 12Golden Fool by Robin Hobb
Series: The Tawny Man Trilogy #2
Also in this series: Fool's Errand, Fool's Fate, Fool's Fate - UK Audiobook, Fool's Fate - Canadian Audiobook
Format: eBook
Narrator: James Langton
Length: 25 hours and 56 minutes
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: five-stars

Progress: Golden Fool 19% complete.

So, onto a new book, Golden Fool.  Once again I must comment on the cover art – isn’t it gorgeous?

Once again, at the beginning of the book there are lots of lovely character moments rather than fast plot progression.  I particularly appreciated Kettricken’s meeting with Fitz to share his grief at the loss of Nighteyes.  I’m so happy that Fitz – and the reader! – were given space to mourn this wonderful character.  

Other notable character moments were Dutiful’s being torn between reaching out to Fitz as a father figure and maintaining his princely decorum.  I also look forward to seeing more of Chade’s servant, Thick.  If memory serves, he has a large role to play in the story.

The seeds were also being set for the political intrigue around the Narcheska and who is really behind the marriage offer.  I look forward to seeing how that is developed.

At this point I really should mention how incredible it is that I have been able to marathon Hobb’s writing to this extent.  Normally I like to change up my reading – I often have several different books on the go at once – but Hobb’s marvellous world and characters have been able to retain my interest effortlessly.  That says a heck of a lot right there.

five-stars

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 11

Realm of the Elderlings: 5/5

100%
Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 11Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb
Series: The Tawny Man Trilogy #1
Also in this series: Golden Fool, Fool's Fate, Fool's Fate - UK Audiobook, Fool's Fate - Canadian Audiobook
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: James Langton
Length: 24 hours and 47 minutes
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: five-stars

Progress: Fool’s Errand 100% complete. Progress: Golden Fool 7% complete

Woohoo, three books down, two to go!  

I have finished Fool’s Errand, the first in the Tawny Man trilogy.  Farewell Nighteyes, fictional wolf of my heart.  I miss him as much as Fitz does.  This last section of the book I finished was far more plot focussed than character driven unlike the earlier sections.  The smelly stuff really starts to hit the fan as Fitz, the Fool and Laurel must extricate Prince Dutiful from the Piebalds and return him to Buckeep to fulfil his royal duties.  Much as I enjoyed the adventure I did actually miss the quieter character moments.

I noticed many little references to other books in the whole Realm of the Elderlings trilogy.  Icefyre, the Narcheska and the Pale Woman will have significance later on the Tawny Man trilogy (if memory serves me right).  There are also references to Bingtown and clearly the beach where Fitz and Dutiful were deposited by the Skill pillar was the Others’ beach of the Liveship Traders.

It was only now that I realised the overarching theme of the entire Realm of the Elderlings was DRAGONS!  I’m not sure why I didn’t spot that before.  In the Farseer trilogy, Verity seeks to wake stone dragons to come to the Six Duchies’ aid.  Aiding the serpents in their struggle to reach their cocooning beaches and become baby dragons is a major motivator for the Liveship Traders trilogy and of course we will have Icefyre and his fate for the Tawny Man.

So, on with Golden Fool tomorrow.

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 10

Realm of the Elderlings: 5/5

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Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 10Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb
Series: The Tawny Man Trilogy #1
Also in this series: Golden Fool, Fool's Fate, Fool's Fate - UK Audiobook, Fool's Fate - Canadian Audiobook
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: James Langton
Length: 24 hours and 47 minutes
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: five-stars

Progress: Fool’s Errand 83% complete.

Today is a public holiday in most of Canada (except Quebec where I live) which meant it was very quiet.  I was able to listen to my audiobook of Fool’s Errand while waiting on work to come in and so got a large chunk of the book read.  (if my boss is reading this, I was working – honest!)

In this section of the book the adventure really takes off.  Fitz, the Fool in his Lord Golden guise, Nighteyes and Huntswoman Laurel set off to find the missing prince Dutiful. Old Blood politics plays a large part in this section.  Of course when they finally catch up with Dutiful, he isn’t very enthusiastic about being “rescued.”

As a cat lover, I was amused at the difficulties Hobb describes in creating a Wit bond with a feline.  Clearly, cats in the Realm of the Elderlings are equally as independent and strong minded as here!

On a more serious note, there were some interesting points raised about the way Dutiful was manipulated into the bond with the cat – almost like a brainwashing cult.  

Hopefully I should be able to finish the book tomorrow.  

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 9

Realm of the Elderlings: 5/5

100%
Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 9Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb
Series: The Tawny Man Trilogy #1
Also in this series: Golden Fool, Fool's Fate, Fool's Fate - UK Audiobook, Fool's Fate - Canadian Audiobook
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: James Langton
Length: 24 hours and 47 minutes
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: five-stars

Progress: Fool’s Errand 45% complete.

Excellent progress on Fool’s Errand – I wasn’t working today so was able to spend quite a bit of time reading or listening to the book. It is the shortest book on my challenge at 672 pages.

My first comment is that it took until about 36% of the way through the book before we were actually presented with the main quest of the book – Prince Dutiful has gone missing. The first part of the book was spent reconnecting with Fitz and the Fool, learning what Fitz had been up to in the intervening years. I do feel this could have been compressed considerably.  On the other hand, I did enjoy watching Fitz and the Fool’s first meeting again.

Much of the setup also focussed on the Wit.  Clearly, this is going to have far more importance than it had in the Farseer trilogy in terms of the Six Duchies society, not just in how it affects Fitz personally.

It’s clear that Nighteyes is not the wolf he once was – it’s definitely preparing us for the book’s ending <sniff>

More tomorrow.

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 8

Realm of the Elderlings: 5/5

100%
Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlings Update 8Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb
Series: The Tawny Man Trilogy #1
Also in this series: Golden Fool, Fool's Fate, Fool's Fate - UK Audiobook, Fool's Fate - Canadian Audiobook
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: James Langton
Length: 24 hours and 47 minutes
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: five-stars

Progress: Fool’s Errand 18%

So.  Onto Fool’s Errand.  The first thing I’d like to comment on is, isn’t the cover art for the audiobook simply gorgeous?  I don’t normally pay much attention to covers, but that one really drew my eye. The lighting and the mysterious figures are beautiful.  They are much preferable to the paperback or hardback cheesy images.

Secondly, with moving onto a new series I’m moving onto a new narrator for the audiobooks.  While I’d nothing against Paul Boehmer who narrated The Farseer Trilogy and Anne Flosnik of the Liveship Traders, James Langston seemed to me to be of a completely different calibre entirely.  Of course, that could be that he gave Chade a burr in his accent which reminded me of my childhood!

Here’s a sample

I am reminded that Hobb’s trilogies are VERY, VERY slow to start.  Fitz’s desire to shut himself off from his old life and those he loves to lead a quiet, sedentary life is beginning to annoy me now!  Let’s just get on with the adventure please.  I’ll need to bear that in mind when I start Fool’s Assassin that I’ll need to be patient while the story gets started.

I’ve just finished reading of Fitz’s first meeting with the Fool after 15 years of absence and once again I’m shipping them soooo hard.  It’s beautifully written how Fitz is unaware of the depth of the Fool’s love for him (at this point at least) and also of his own love for the Fool.

More tomorrow.

five-stars

Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlngs Update 6

Realm of the Elderlings: 5/5

100%
Reading challenge – Realm of the Elderlngs Update 6Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb
Series: Liveship Traders #3
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Anne Flosnik
Length: 33 hrs and 38 mins
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne's rating: five-stars

Progress: Ship of Destiny 76% complete.

I made good progress today on Ship of Destiny.  In the section I read today, Amber all but stood up waving her arms and shouting “look at me, I’m Fitz’s Fool!”  At one point she says “I’ve been called a Fool and a prophet,” which is pretty clear.  Now, it’s been a while since I read the Realm of the Elderlings for the first time, but I seem to remember not picking up Amber’s true identity at this point.  I can’t remember when I did first pick up on it, but I do remember it coming as a complete shock.

The subject of rape is also dealt with in this section, specifically Kennit’s rape of Althea.  The whole question of the victim’s not being believed, as well as the rapist having been raped himself.  It certainly wasn’t a comfortable passage to read.

More tomorrow!

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