Posts Tagged ‘robin hobb’

Fools Assassin

Okay, it is without a doubt, a fantasy brick. It’s a good 4cm thick, over six hundred pages, and the first of a new sequence in an on-going series. But it didn’t take nearly as long to read as I expected. There’s something about Robin Hobb’s prose that just draws me in and makes me want to keep reading. Her characters really come alive for me, and there aren’t so many of them that the reader becomes confused. Nor does she insist on killing them off just as soon as they get interesting! People die, certainly, but only when their part in the story is done. Her narrative is linear, it doesn’t duck and dive all over time and space, even though she chooses to use two narrators in this novel. Oh, and she does nice maps, too!

The tale returns to the Six Duchies and focuses on FitzChivalry, now well into his middle years, and known as Tom Badgerlock, lord of the country manor called Withywoods. To say who else the story belongs to would give away about a quarter of the plot, so I’ll leave it at that. Suffice it to say that the title does finally make sense around about p560 – which is not coincidentally about where the excrement hits the air conditioning… the pace picks up rapidly and things head towards a shocking climax, and ends on something of a cliff-hanger. Suffice it to say that I really am going to have to find the next part when it comes out, because I do need to find out what happens next. If there is any criticism one could back it is simply that it does take perhaps a few too many pages to get there, although I would be hard-pushed to suggest what might have been edited out. All in all, a great read, and I doubt seriously that fans of the Fitz will be disappointed.

Harper Voyager

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

blood of dragonsIt is said, Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!” – and Hobb is not afraid to let her characters prove this quite literally. There is a scene around p428 where one particularly nasty individual is bitten by a big one in a manner distinctly reminiscent of the fate of a certain lawyer in Jurassic Park. Absolutely brilliant!

But if you think that makes this an especially violent novel, you’d be wrong. Hobb does not even go into detail about her climactic battle, but prefers to skip the gory bits, cleverly telling the story through the characters retelling of events. And it is the climax of not just one book, but of what is described as a four-volume novel, and that resolves issues that have been brewing across more than one series. Yet it works.

As does Hobb’s world. I’m not sure which, if any, of the Rain Wild Chronicles I’ve read, though I do remember enjoying all of the Liveship Traders. Missing a few books wasn’t really a problem. Hobb draws the reader into her world with consummate skill. No dodgy continuity here, but solid plot development instead. That same skill is applied to the construction of that world, and hers are maps that work. Her characters are complex and interesting, and as they evolve and come into conflict they very much drive the story. And as for her dragons… Not since the days of McCaffrey’s best work have dragons been so cool! Suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed “Blood of Dragons” and that I’m seriously tempted to go back and find the earlier books in this series!

Harper Voyager

Supplied by Harper Collins NZ

Reviewed by Jacqui