I’m a big fan of Robin Hobb’s work, having read over the last several years the ‘FitzChivalry Farseer’ stories and connected works, The Rain Wild Chronicles, The Liveship Traders and The Tawny Man trilogy. To say I had been excitedly awaiting the release of this book was an understatement. Previously I’ve not had to wait for the publication of a new volume for the continuation of a story, with the exception of GRR Martin. (Take your time Mr Martin)
I was a relative late comer Robin Hobb’s work; after reading about the people who inspired Fiona McIntosh to write fantasy. This meant that I happily consumed every book of every series voraciously – only waiting for my library holds. By some extraordinary luck I also managed to read them in order, but trying to think about it now, I can’t remember the order I read them in. In case you are wondering yourself ….
What order should I read Robin Hobb’s Elderling Series?
Now writing this blog post I’ve realised that it has been large number of books and series which all have links in Assassin’s Fate. I think it is worthwhile if possible to have read these stories as it gives greater depth to the characters and stories of The Fitz and The Fool Trilogy. So for my future benefit and also yours if you are interested, here is the correct order as declared by Robin Hobb herself (here’s a link to her blog):
- The Farseer Trilogy
- The Liveship Traders Triology
- The Tawny Man Trilogy
- The Rain Wilds Chronicles
- The Fitz and The Fool Trilogy
The end of the Fitz and The Fool story or is it?
My tears flowed freely for the last quarter of this book, I won’t provide any spoilers here. Those who have read and enjoyed Robin Hobb’s grand adventure, read forth with safety.
This is the final volume in the Fitz and The Fool trilogy which follows the story of Fitzchivalry Farseer who has been living as Tom Badgerlock, now a widow and with his young daughter Bee taken. This book again travels on parallel stories in each chapter, following Fitz and the Fool as they pursue vengeance against The Four and Clerres. They are unaware of and assume the worst for Fitz’s daughter Bee’s fate.
Meanwhile little Bee spends her time plotting escape and gradually coming to a greater awareness of her powers. Bee is still a very young child and mostly ignorant of how her powers work, but at the same time there is a thread of suggestion of Bee’s potential powers and knowing – she knows that she should not share her dreams even at a cost to herself. It is Bee’s history of people underestimating her that protects her from fates worse than she already suffers. Bee is also in the companionship of the wit magic of ‘Wolf Father’ and it was a sentimental part of the story to that manages to effectively carry the sorely missed character of ‘Nighteyes’ throughout this story.
The additional characters in the story are all so well fleshed out and provide a purpose to the story, perhaps some will continue into other stories to come from Hobbs. The use of the Elderling and Rainwild characters in the story was particularly well done, Hobb’s has woven all of them in the most relevant and non-convoluted manner. Some may seem a little sentimental, but it is also meaningful and within context.
Oh and Tintaglia, IceFyre, Paragon, Tarman, Heeby ……
I have only one very small criticism of the book, there was a few chapters in the middle of the book that were a little slow. Usually I find I couldn’t put the book down, but I needed to walk away a few times. I did finish it in 5 days, so it wasn’t that much of a delay. Bee’s story does involve quite a bit repetition, with the ever present menace of Vindeliar, violence of Dwalia and the constant escape and capture left me a little tired and possibly with a level of dread for what was to happen.
I was so very sad to come to the end of this book and I’m not sure what Robin Hobb has in store for us readers in the future. Today she has posted on Facebook that it might be a good day to write …. I’m keeping everything crossed.
In the meantime perhaps I will read all the books again – it is tempting in my current emotional state, but a groaning to be read pile stares at me accusingly each night on my beside cupboard.
Keep dreaming ….