I am warm and safe in the den, with my two siblings.
Have I told you lately how much a favourite Robin Hobb is of mine? That she’s the one I recommend whenever someone asks for a fantasy author? That using ‘epic’ isn’t too much of an exaggeration with her stories?
Well, now you know. If you want sprawling fantasy with tons of (casual) world building, filled with (mostly) human characters, cool kinds of magic and enough plot, with room to breathe. It doesn’t matter if a book is over 700 pages if you can race through it, powered by excitement (too much?).
Anyway, Fool’s Quest is the second book of a trilogy and connecting worlds and stories used in previous trilogies. There is an older Fitz now, and his calm life is pretty much over and gone, because his past and the people from it, can’t let him go. It moves him from his homestead to the big city to – well, there’s a map in front of the book for a reason.
You can read these books without having read the other trilogies, but just treat yourself with at least The LiveShip Traders besides this one.
Fool’s Quest; Book II of the Fitz and The Fool trilogy, Robin Hobb, Del Rey 2015
She rode the air currents easily, her legs sleeked tight against her body, her wings spread wide.
Tintaglia awoke feeling chilled and old.
These days fantasy seems to be synonymous to YA or nudity, making characters and world building second hand. It’s probably one of the reasons I call Robin Hobb one of my favourite fantasy authors. With her there is always characters and world building galore.
As I raced through both of the volumes in one go, I’ll judge them as one as well.
In volume three life starts to change when the dragons finally start to fly, in volume four it’s about building a new society with the neglect of other societies. Both can be read as stand-alone books, Hobb giving you a story without holes you have to fill yourself. But reading the entire series (and other relevant ones like The Liveship Traders Trilogy) will give you a created world that could be called Tolkien Extra Light (the languages are missing). Every city, every character, every dragon has a history and slots into each other like a huge 3D puzzle. The books are hefty (up to 500+ pages) but not a paragraph is unnecessary.
If you look hard, flaws can be found. The heroines are unlikely but turn out to be (gorgeous and) amazing, the bad guys are only close to being three-dimensional (but this changes for the better in volume four).
The world Robin Hobb creates is too brutal for me to want to visit, but I definitely want to continue reading more about it.
City of Dragons: Volume Three of the Rain Wilds Chronicles, Robin Hobb, Harper Voyager 2012
Blood of Dragons: Volume Four of the Rain Wild Chronicles, Robin Hobb, Harper Voyager 2013