I love Robin Hobb. She’s an amazing writer, and from all accounts, a genuinely nice person. But she must have a mean streak somewhere, because she sure is good and making her characters – and through them, her readers – suffer! I’ve been reading the latest trilogy, Fool’s Assassin, Assassin’s Quest, and Assassin’s Fate. They have, like her other books, totally consumed me. I think these are her darkest yet, and some of the stuff was hard to get through, but I *had* to keep reading.
But they’re hard to review. These are the last three of a series of (depending on how you count it) up to 16 books, so if you’re interested or if you’re somewhere in the middle of the series, I don’t want to give anything away. Besides, I don’t even know where to begin. With this trilogy? With the series before it? Who can tell? Instead I’m going to offer my list of why I love – and hate – Robin Hobb.
- FitzChivalry Farseer. Also variously known as Boy, Holder Tom Badgerlock, Bastard, and a host of other names. Fitz, you stole my heart from page one. You are so amazing at practically everything you do, but so dumb sometimes. You are full of self doubt and the first to blame yourself, but when someone you love is attacked, you are fierce.
- Nighteyes, the wolf. Some of the best scenes are with Nighteyes. I would have read the book just for the two of them, Fitz and the wolf.
- The Fool. Also known as Beloved, Amber, Lord Golden, and more. What a great character. It’s just not fair that Hobb created THREE amazing friends like this, all in one series. This is how I want to write.
- The villains. Hobb’s villains are generally not of the slightly bad sort. They are just plain evil. Sometimes it takes a while to realize it, but they are so thoroughly bad. She has plenty of characters who are more gray, but the black-hearted ones are very very black.
- The worldbuilding. Wow, the time she must have spent and the thought that must have gone into this. There are TWO complete magic systems, several completely different cultures, it’s just awesome.
- The length. Robin, you are such a tease. You nearly killed me with that last book. Where we ever going to find out what happened? And then that brings me to
- The cliffhangers. See, I was smart enough to wait to start the series until it was done. I thought. But then you wrote three more books. And I had to wait! Not fair, Robin, not fair at all.
So if you’ve heard of Robin Hobb and you’re wondering if you want to give her a try, all I can say is be prepared to add A LOT of books to your TBR pile. But you will not regret it. 5 tremendous stars and a bunch of used tissues. You broke my heart.