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Fool's Fate is the third book of Robin Hobb's Tawny Man trilogy, and the ninth and concluding volume of the Fitzchivalry Farseer saga, one of the best high-fantasy series of the turn of the millennium. Fitz is the bastard son of the royal family of the Six Duchies, which he serves as assassin, guardsman, and Skill-magician. Fitz also serves the White Prophet as "Catalyst," the unique person who may enable the White Prophet to change human destiny for the better. In Fool's Fate, Fitz must accompany his kinsman, Prince Dutiful Farseer, to a distant northern island, where the prince must slay the world's last male dragon to win the hand of the Out Islands princess Elliania, the woman he loves. However, not even Elliania wants the dragon dead; why, then, does she require Dutiful to kill Icefyre? Are darker forces manipulating Elliania? Even worse, if Icefyre dies, the White Prophet foresees not only his own death, but a grim future for humankind. The prophet's only hope of changing the future is his Catalyst. --Cynthia Ward
A heralded writer of epic fantasy, Robin Hobb has given readers worlds within worlds in her heroic Farseer and Liveship Traders trilogies. Now she takes the final step in the breathtaking trilogy of the Tawny Man, as the tale of FitzChivalry Farseer comes to an epic end. Rife with boundless adventure and unforgettable characters, Fool’s Fate is destined to become a classic of the genre.
Assassin, spy, and Skillmaster, FitzChivalry Farseer, now known only as man-at-arms Tom Badgerlock, has become firmly ensconced in the queen’s court at Buckkeep. Only a few are aware of his fabled, tangled past—and the sacrifices he made to survive it. And fewer know of his possession of the Skill magic. With Prince
Dutiful, his assassin-mentor Chade, and the simpleminded yet strongly Skilled Thick, FitzChivalry strives to aid the prince on a quest that could ultimately secure peace between the Six Duchies and the Outislands—and win Dutiful the hand of the Narcheska Elliania.
For the Narcheska has set the prince on an unfathomable task: to behead a dragon trapped in ice—the legendary Icefyre, on the island of Aslevjal. Yet not all the clans of the Outislands support the prince’s effort to behead their
legendary defender. Are there darker forces at work behind the Narcheska’s imperious demand? As the prince and his coterie set sail, FitzChivalry works behind the scenes, playing nursemaid to the ailing Thick, while striving to strengthen their Skill—ultimately bringing his unacknowledged daughter into the web of the Skill magic, where the truth must finally unfold.
The quest emerges amid riddles that must be unraveled, a clash of cultures, and the ultimate betrayal. For knowing that the Fool has foretold he will die on the island of ice, FitzChivalry has plotted with Chade to leave his dearest friend behind. But fate cannot so easily be defied.
From the Hardcover edition.
- Not a very good ending.
I first read the Farseer series and it completely amazed me. I experienced every emotion humanely possible while reading the series almost non-stop. Then I came to the ending and was shocked. It was just sort of chopped off and incomplete. Then I discovered the Tawny Man series and was thrilled, although I did think 15 years was a long wait for Fitz to return to Buckkeep, but I understand why when taking into consideration the characters needed for the plot.
Once again, in this book she captures the reader's imagination and draws you deep into the book. Well written with strong growing characters. She has a way of giving the reader very intrinsic details and drawing on the readers emotions to make them almost real. Detail alone would be boring. She should have stop shortly after the dragons were free because she killed the ending. I just didn't feel the love in this series. In the Farseer series it was intertwined and part of the story. I could actually feel the love between him and the other characters, especially Molly. This series, and more this book, lacked that emotion. She made issues concerning love as mostly a glancing pass but never strong enough to pull you into it. Like saying the prince loved the princess, and that was it. (Not in exactly like that, just trying to make a point) In the end it seemed that she was tired of the series and wanted to end it. Through both of these series she was able to grab the reader by the collar and pull you into the story. In the last 200 pages it felt like she was trying to push you away. I would have liked to see the same detail put into the developing relationship with his daughter, and even Molly again. In the end it made me feel cheated and wanting more. I guess that's what happens when you want to kill a trilogy.
- This was not the ending the series had built up to...
This book is a good read on its own, and I think fans will enjoy most of the story (though with considerable reluctance to accept the ending).
My main problem with the story is that the author ignored earlier character development for the sake of a "happy ending" and an attempt at closure.
*** SPOILERS ***
You could see where the author was originally going to take the story towards the end when Kettricken told Fitz to take initiative with Chade and take his rightful place as Sacrifice until Dutiful was mature enough. Fitz did just that, essentially becoming a shadow King. Yet, a few pages later, here comes Molly and Fitz the King is COMPLETELY forgotten as if it had been some minor development.
Also, besides Fitz and the Fool, the relationship between Kettricken and Fitz had the most buildup (in terms of closeness/trust/potential romance) yet was just shrugged off in the end.
When Fitz saw the lovemaking between Verity/Kettricken in Royal Assassin, he did not tell Verity to stop Skill-sharing, but instead went so far as to make love to Molly at the same time and came away remembering only blond hair and soft white skin. He was her closest friend, confidante and adviser. Nighteyes made a point of warning Fitz that his thoughts on her were not appropriate because she already belonged to Verity. Fitz can confuse his thoughts with Verity's, but Nighteyes would only comment on what Fitz himself was feeling.
He then spent half of Assassin's Quest with both his wit and arms wrapped around her, and she made a point of telling him that if she were not already married to Verity, there would have been something there. They shared a mutual bond with Nighteyes - certainly not a minor detail, and she actually felt him die. At the end of Golden Fool, she spent many nights holding his hand and sitting by his bedside in her nightgown, personally nursing him back to health. There was also abundant kissing (including several mouth-to-mouth) and much more, but that's enough detail to get my point across.
The entire 6-book story had led up to Fitz taking his place as a (shadow) Farseer King with Kettricken as his Queen (in all ways). Fitz had clearly decided that the "quiet life" was just him isolating himself from the many people he cared about (aka, more than just Molly), and that he would not do it again. He even held his father's sword and said that he would leave his mark as King. What, his mark was to immediately retreat to the countryside to pick berries and mend horseshoes?
I'm sorry, but Molly was portrayed very plainly as just a "love of youth and a simpler time" and not true love. Kettle, with her hundreds of years of maturity, pointed out (and Fitz agreed) that they fought at least as often as they played nice. It was true.. besides the times they were together in a bed, they did nothing BUT fight.
Just think about how it could have been. Intrigue and power struggles with Chade as King Fitz's adviser, secret love with Kettricken that could never be revealed (especially not to Chade or Dutiful), two children he had to pretend were not his yet see every single day and open his mind to during Skill lessons, giving his life to the throne while no one knew what he sacrificed, wondering when the Fool would return... these are the sort of things that we love about Fitz and what make him who he is. And he had finally accepted that life.
Instead, we have poor Kettricken knowing love for only ONE WEEK of her entire life, Dutiful making babies with a 14-year old girl and being a King at 15 (though no one thought he was mature enough), Burrich killed off just to free up Molly (leaving many things unresolved), the Fool permanently disappearing instead of just going off mysteriously for an "unknown" length of time, and Fitz deciding that he really didn't care about Chade/Kettricken/Dutiful/Thick/the people of Buckkeep/the Six Duchies/Web/Hap/Starling/etc. after all and instead wanted to go crawling back to Molly and leave everyone else on their own.
After all of his realizations and hard-earned maturity, there is no excuse for tossing Fitz off in the countryside where he does nothing at all and is isolated from all but one person he loves... and saying he's happy with it.
Hobb unfortunately wanted some sort of concrete ending, and moving Fitz away from everything he had built up towards and instead giving him things he obviously *no longer really wanted* was the best way to do that.
It's too bad, because this ending still doesn't end Fitz's story completely, and is much less satisfying than the one I described above (in my humble opinion)....more info
- Makes the whole series worth reading
After reading the prior Tawny Man books, I was really worried about finishing the series. My fear was that this was going to be yet another long book about how sad and pathetic Fitz's life has become because he is compelled by duty to wallow and wither away in the shade with grievous self defeating thoughts. I'm glad I read this book and restored is my faith in Robin Hobb's storytelling choices. This book was filled with adventure with several things going on at once, with a pace that kept me reading through at a fast clip. I loved the choice she made for Fitz at the end which merited his journey. His hero journey is now complete, his character 'arc' is finished with grand style. So many times, I was worried the tale would turn on its end, as I kept glancing how many pages where still left unread, fearing that Hobb would repeat the dismal ending she has employed many times throughout this series. This is definitely a book to read if you have journeyed this far in the series. Hope you enjoy and happy reading....more info
- Raw Beauty and Power!
I can honestly say that through my avid years of travels through the fantasy genre, I have never encountered a more beautiful, moving, heartrending, and overall wonderful book than Fool's Fate.
The Assassin and Tawny Man trilogies essentially ruined my life as a grad student for a month simply because they were so consuming! I continued to peruse the books after I'd finished them, rereading favorite passages and being just as moved every time. The characters, relationships, and interactions in these books are so skillfully crafted, I remain haunted by them.
It is evident to me that Hobb is one of the most masterful writers in fantasy. Well done!...more info
- The best of Tawny Man, a disappointing series
As a whole, the series was disappointing. While Fitz grew up, the other characters in the book had little wisdom or intelligence. The central krutz of this book is Fitz finally figuring something out that Chade or Prince Dutifull or the Queen or anybody else could have figured out 500 pages before Fitz figured it out. And then Fitz had to use his "magic", which DID NOT WORK.
On the other hand, going back and seeing FitzChivalry again was fun, and seeing him happy was great. I'm sad it took so long, and I'd quite understand how getting your painful memories back can make you more tolerant of risk. But I'm glad Hobbs gave Fitz some happy times....more info
- An excellent finale
I loved reading the Farseer Trilogy, despite the fact that upon its completion I wasn't at all satisfied with what had happened to its main characters. I was hoping that with this final installment, there would be a proper (and perhaps happy?!) ending.
I won't summarize the book, but here are a few of my thoughts.
I didn't enjoy reading some of the pages Hobb used to describe the party's journey to Aslevjal. I found myself rushing through these pages and slowing down once they reached the island. But the scenes that DO occur on the island are some of the best I've read from any of Hobb's series. Practically EVERYONE is involved somehow in the final scene on the island. Hobb also throws in quite a few surprises here.
After this major finale, Hobb spends the rest of the book neatly "tidying" up each character's fate. And she spends quite a few pages doing so. I believe that this was totally necessary, given that this is the conclusion to an epic series.
In the end I wasn't at all satisfied with what happened to the Fool. Hobb didn't truly reveal his eventual fate, unlike the other characters. But given the mystery that always surrounded the Fool, I suppose this was approrpriate. But Hobb DID finally give Fitz and every other character an appropriate end.
In conclusion, a great ending for this series!...more info
- Great ending to a great series
Robin Hobb is one of my favorite fantasy authors because her stories are unique and complex and she's a great writer. Her prose is pleasant and she is particularly good at characterization; When you get finished with her books, you feel like her characters are your friends and you hate to say goodbye! Her plots are absorbing and they move forward at a pleasant pace.
Fitz of The Farseer Saga is one of my favorite fantasy heroes. He is so well characterized -- I felt a lot of empathy for his situation. I was really upset when the first trilogy ended (things weren't so great for Fitz). Then I found out that his story continues in The Tawny Man Trilogy. I think that was one of the happiest days of my life. I was filled with hope for Fitz. I immediately sent my husband to the bookstore with a picture of the book and told him not to come home without it. I was happy with the way Fitz's story ended. It wasn't one of those rush, rush, and they lived happily ever after endings. It was a bit sad; it seemed realistic. It was wonderfully done. These are books that I'll definitely read again! ...more info
- Fool's Fate
I'm so glad I discovered Robin Hobbs! I'm a woman, but I am leary of female writers as they tend to get maudlin and too "tidy". I want pathos, action and unexpected plot twists! Ms Hobbs provides them all with admirable aplomb. I'm left wondering at the Fool's Fate. This cannot be all there is!! I hope Ms Hobbs can write more of the ever intiguing Fool, he is an ammazing character! I was left utterly bereft when this series ended. I was briefly saved when I read the Liveship series, but I'm adrift again. Please write more!...more info
- Disappointing Ending
Many hours have I spent, living in the land of the Six Duchies and marvelled at the manner in which the author kept her world together and mostly connected the main characters throughout.
This book was to be the last in the series and quite frankly it was time.(Jordan take note)
The Author took a lot of time and pages to intimately describe inate topics and people while relegating main characters to a distant,remote farewell.
A little less time with Thick and shorter travelogue to the Island would have allowed for more space devoted to a better climax than the one we got.
The Character of the Fool was magnificently portrayed throughout the entire series and I grew to miss him when the story evolved away from him. Reading the final chapters, I was saddened to see the ending of this huge character in a minor yet incisively quick thrust of a sharp pen.I think he deserved a better farewell.
I will read anything that Robin Hobb writes and sincerely hope she is readying us for another fascinating journey.
Will she be able to immerse herself in another world distictly different from the Six Dichies and Bingtown? I hope so.+
Perhaps the Fool will make a return in a totally different series.
If you have not read her material, do not start anywhere but the "Assasins Apprentice", then enjoy your journey....more info
- Finale of a great fantasy trilogy
I've decided in this review, to do all 3 books in the Tawny Man trilogy, (that being Fool's Errand, Golden Fool and Fool's Fate), as they are intricately connected (as you might expect) in the main characters, story line and writing quality.
I enjoyed this series but with some minor reservations... let me explain
The prose and story telling is of the highest quality with detailed description of persons, places and things. There is great character development throughout the entire trilogy; people you really like (or dislike) with a passion, and as with most fantasy novels, there is some magic and characters or creatures with special talents. The plot, although slow to develop, is interesting and intriguing; it grips you, making you eager to get back to these novels whenever you can. The writing itself has a nice, easy to read flow to it and follows in a logical sequence.
The cons: Two niggling concerns: (and loss of ? star)
1.)The main character; (Fitz) is best described as a reluctant hero with an overwhelming sense of guilt and continual self depreciation. In Fitz's opinion, everything that has ever gone wrong in this story can be traced back to the way he handled a situation in the past; and he is FOREVER agonizing about these thoughts (what he might have done (or not done) different... etc.) Needless to say, three novels of this, and this character trait starts to wear a little thin.
2.)Lack of action; I realize a great novel does not have to have "action", however having said that, I've always liked my fantasy novels to have a fair amount of "action" with some battles or combat (large scale or small). That is not to say this series has no action, because it does, but somehow I wanted more. The few skirmishes seemed so far apart, and I must admit this was somewhat disappointing.
Although it may appear that my "concerns" mentioned above appear huge, such is not the case. This is a deep, rich fantasy series of epic proportions; well written and detailed, but just misses the mark of true greatness because of the shortcomings mentioned above. 4 ? stars....more info
- A perfect end to Fitz's tale
I have reviewed other books of Hobb in the Fitz saga so feel free to read my comments. This was the last book in the magnificent Tawny Man series and I will keep my comments brief. If you have never read any of Hobb's books, yes you are missing out on an icon in fantasy literature. This series and this last book will not mesmerize you like Harry Potter or jolt you like GRR Martin's Fire & Ice series. However it will leave a lasting impression on you because more than anything else, character development is supreme in quality. The plot gets dry at times but the reader can't help being Fitz's friend in their head. The series leaves just the right number of unanswered questions for you to love it and yet scratch your head. The Fool is a prime example.
This is a brilliant book (and series) and strongly recommended....more info
- a Coup de Grace
Fools' fate is the third and final book of the Tawny Man trilogy from Robin Hobb and it closes out Fitzchivalry Farseer's story which began with the Farseer Trilogy.
Fool's Fate begins with the sole heir to the Farseer throne of the Six Duchies, Prince Dutiful, embarking on a quest to fulfill his promise to his betrothed Outislander princess, the Narcheska Elliana. Prince Dutiful has put himself in a very difficult spot by agreeing to bring her the head of a legendary Dragon named Icefyre, who failed to protect the Outislanders during the redship war. Not only is this quest seemingly impossible since no one has seen this Dragon for generations, but the challenge of a man versus a Dragon is seemingly insurmountable.
Fitz has taken the responsibility of Skillmaster for the Prince's very raw magical "skill" coterie consisting of Prince Dutiful, the Queen's advisor and Fitz' mentor Chade, and Thick the slow witted servant. As advisor and spymaster for the throne, Fitz has also discovered that there are some mysterious and unexplained forces motivating the Narcheska and her Outisland contingent. The Fool, established as the Jamallian noble Lord Golden has also explained to Fitz that he expects to die on this mission, completing his lifelong prophecy. On top of this, Fitz has found himself as a tutor to his Father figure Burrich's son in the "wit" magic, and neither Burrich nor his son are even aware who he is. Fitz finds himself trapped by who he was and unable to proclaim himself to those who are the closest to him.
This final chapter to Fitz' saga explores themes of faith, redemption, fate, loneliness, and unconditional love. Hobbs' characteristic metaphorical narrative style patiently flows from page to page, building in intensity until the climactic peak achieved at adventure's end. However, the transformative personal journey that Fitz undergoes through these pages is the true plot, and ultimately the most gratifying. For in Fitz one finds themselves, and that is the gift this book bestows.
As stated, Fool's Fate reaches the "adventure" climax about 3/4's of the way through, however it does not suffer for that. There are so many questions to be answered and storylines to be tied up that it rightly takes a number of pages to follow them up. Hobbs certainly does not rush this final chapter, resulting in a hefty 900 pages although these 900 pages went by faster than any other comparatively sized novel I have ever read.
I leave this book and Fitz' story edified, but ultimately with a bit of sorrow. It is said that lightning doesn't strike twice in the same spot, but Robin Hobbs did so an amazing six times. ...more info
- Fool's Fate misses the mark
I began the Tawny Man trilogy with much anticipation, having enjoyed the Farseer trilogy previously. The characters in both trilogies are very well-delineated as is the world they inhabit. I appreciate Robin Hobb's ability to create believable characters and that she does not shy away from hurting them. However...
In Fool's Fate I feel that any previous ideas Ms. Hobb had for the resolution of the relationship between Fitz and the Fool suffered a failure to launch. I believe the breakdown occurs when she allows the Fool to suffer such a horrible death. Even though she allows Fitz as the Changer to go beyond death to bring the Fool back, in doing so it is as if she decides that even their close bond could not overcome the way in which the Fool died. While I appreciated very much the scenes after the Fool's restoration where Fitz has finally accepted that he and the Fool have a love that transcends all differences, what I can't fathom is how Fitz can walk away from this knowledge and seek out a love relationship with Molly that is truly pallid by comparison. Fitz stayed away from Molly not just because his own "death" was an established fact for her, but because he knew she could not accept his bond with Nighteyes. His bond with the Fool, once acknowledged, is much the same: a love without limits between two individuals who are organically different. I for one do not feel that Fitz could walk away from that recognition and back to Molly without any indication of regret or understanding of why the Fool must leave. This is a glaring inconsistency to me. If it is the Fool's choice to withdraw the link he and Fitz share, then the Fool becomes the Changer. It is he who makes this decision. Would Fitz have chosen all those years before not to bond with Nighteyes simply because they are two different creatures with mismatched life spans? I realize this is what motivated Burrich to deny his Wit, but Fitz did not do so and never expressed any regret for his own choice, even when it brought him such grief. So why would the Fool pull away when it was he that always said that he placed no limits on his love for Fitz? I never got the feeling that the Fool feared for himself, so if he is trying to spare Fitz more pain then he is acting counter to his nature. He always trusted that Fitz would choose rightly and he knew that would mean suffering on Fitz' part. So why is it okay now for the Fool to prevent Fitz a pain that Fitz himself is willing to accept?
I agree with what some other reviewers have said. I think the Fool was supposed to be revealed as female at some point and that a very sweet, nontraditional romance was being suggested in the previous two books of this trilogy. But when Robin Hobb tortured the Fool and allowed Fitz to bring him back from the dead, there was no safe refuge for the Fool to flee to for healing as there once was for Fitz in his relationship to Nighteyes. That kind of experience was something the Fool had no resources for dealing with and it seems to me that making the Fool reveal himself to actually be female and therefore Fitz' true partner could not be done. It would not ring true to the Fool's death experience and the whole post-traumatic stress situation he manifests after Fitz brings him back to life. I am not actually sorry for that development. If the book had stopped after the scene with Girl on a Dragon and the Fool restoring to Fitz his early memories and pain, then I could probably give this book four stars. What irks me is the idea that once Fitz is "complete" through his bond with the Fool and his restored memories that he could then blithely take up a banal courtship of his lost love and be satisfied with that. He never expresses regret that he lost the opportunity to see the Fool one more time, nor does he show any distress that the Fool came looking for him while Fitz was lost in the Skill pillar. Does it mean nothing to him that his closest friend now believes he is dead, especially when that has been a thorn in Fitz' side with regard to all his loved ones believing him dead for 16 years? I suppose I could excuse this mysterious lack of emotion because of the transcendent nature of the bond between the Fool and Fitz. But once the Fool severed their Skill-link it seemed to me that what Hobb was suggesting was that Fitz felt once again as he did after Nighteyes died -- as if he were missing a part of himself. As indeed he is, because if he and the Fool complete one another then what the Fool does by removing their link is cruel. It is almost like a suicide. If the Fool is not supposed to effect change, how does he justify making this choice? It profoundly affects Fitz' future after all. It apparently renders Fitz blind enough to what he truly wants that he is able to accept the mundane traditional role of husband to a housewife as the epitome of happiness. I'm sorry, I just can't accept that as the "happy ending" to this epic. (And I state this as a happily-married housewife!!!)
There is also the problem of Fitz' place in Buckkeep. If he is willing to act as a shadow king, then why does he not do so after he finally recognizes and verbally accepts that role? If he is supposed to be Skillmaster, why are only a few token sentences given to that responsibility? Most of the ending of the book is an overly-detailed account of his correspondence with Molly and her boys, his obsession with courting her from afar, and how he travels to see her. If I am being forced to accept that Molly is Fitz' reward then I guess I see the point of making that the focus of the last 100 pages. But it left aside the political role that Fitz would have been playing behind the scenes of Dutiful's reign. Fitz is no Chade but I don't think he would have so completely lost interest in his responsibility to his Farseer heritage. Chade's Machiavellian attitude still needs balancing and it is as if Fitz has decided to ignore that fact in favor of pressing his suit with Molly. Yet another inconsistency that bothered me.
I am not sorry to have read this trilogy, but the inconsistencies and the ending of Fool's Fate left me feeling very dissatisfied....more info
- Happily ever after?
The Tawny Man series was phenomenal. Hobb built on the simpler foundation laid in the original trilogy, and made the story and the characters so much more complex and enriched. Fitz's continual rediscovery and reinvention of himself is a great read, and many other characters are revealed in a new light as all the bits of story begin to be explained and resolved in this final book.
I recommend this series greatly, as well as the original Farseer Trilogy which should definitely be read first....more info
- I love these books!
Robin Hobb is one of the most amazing authors whose books I have ever read, especially compared to modern fantasy writers. The characters are so complex and multifaceted and so are the plots. I found myself in fool's fate and in the liveship series completely emotionally attached. Honestly, I have to say that Fitz is not my favorite character. I love the Fool and I love all of the secrets that come with the Fool. I love the way that Hobb works all three series together. It's fantastic and a breath of fresh air for those of us who don't want to read 10-book long fantasy series that all follow the same format. I was sad when this book was over, because it really was the end.... Maybe Hobb will write about the Vestrits and the Liveships again??...more info
I read the first two books of the Tawny Man and was thrilled, but then I read the third.
It seemed to me that Hobb was leading us down a certain path with these books, but then at the end of Fool's Fate swurved and tumbled of a cliff.
The story is not in keeping with the previous books rhythm! We learn that the majority of his emotions thus far are because he "dulled" the edges of his world and he miraculously get them back and the world is once again crystal clear as is his love for Molly, whom was already described as just a youthful love. No, now it is true love and oh! since she's available now (strange coincidence)he can go get her back!
Angered? Yes I was, but I could have been fine with this upset that is until she dismissed the Fool. All that happens, all that they were put through and the sacrifices that they made for one another and yet in the end he is completely dismissed form Fitz's life as just another sad memory, another regret? No, that I couldn't stand. The Fool loved him, that was made clear long ago and yet now that they are closer than they have ever been he can simply leave? I understand that he was put under a trumendous ordeal, but even that pales to the sudden attitude the Fool has at the end and really the only word I can think of to describe it is exactly that "a dismissal".
Starting at the scene before Girl-on-a-Dragon and leading up to the cabin and Fitz's diparture the book begins to fall apart. It feels as if we are being led in a direction and then swiflty turned about the other rode forgotten as well as all the possiblities it held.
I dearly loved the Farseer Trilogy, in fact I still do, but this new trilogy has now spoiled it for me. I caution anyone who loved that trilogy as much as me and who loved the Fool, don't read these books. Simply stop at the last trilogy because you'll be dissapointed.
- Thank you for the magic!
This is the third and final book in the Tawny Man trilogy (after Fool's Errand and the Golden Fool).
Now that Dutiful has accepted the Narcheska's challenge, everyone is getting ready to sail to ice covered island of Aslevjal to slay Icefyre, the last male dragon. But the Fool wants to bring dragons back to the world and so he's strongly against the killing of Icefyre. Fitz is now torn between his duty to his future King and the love of his best friend the Fool. To cap it all, the latter has told him he's foreseen his own death on the glacier. Fitz and Chade have to do everything possible to prevent the Fool from accompanying them to the Out Islands.
The sea voyage to the city of Zylig, their first stopping place on the Out Islands, is not a pleasant one. Thick gets seasick and ill, and takes it all out on an already much guilt stricken Fitz, who's in charge of him. Day after day, the simpleton's Skill-music dampens the crew's spirits and threatens the whole expedition. Fitz will ask Nettle in her Skill-dreams to help Thick go through his ordeal.
They finally arrive at destination, to discover that the Out Islands political system is strongly matriarchal, with customs much different from those of the Six Duchies. There Prince Dutiful meets the hetgurd, a council of warrior clan chiefs and learn that they too are against the slaying of the dragon. Why then does Elliania want the dragon killed? Dutiful faces a terrible dilemma. Must he risk a political blunder? Finally the Prince decides be true to his word to his fianc¨¦e, and so they all set out to Aslevjal for a long trek to the heart of the glacier.
Again, what a fantastic, wonderful, amazing story! Of the ones that makes me wonder at the magic of books, and Robin Hobb's in particular: my eyes where following the words and lines and paragraphs, but my mind's eye was always elsewhere, holding on to the railing of a ship, walking on field of bright white snow, taking care not to fall into crevasses, in cold caverns of blue ice... I was seeing the events thought the characters' eyes, living the same emotions. I laughed, I cried of joy, I cried of pain and grief, I suffered with them. Like Fitz I grew fonder of Thick, I wanted to know more about Nettle... and I'm deeply in love with the Fool.
Oh Megan, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!...more info
- Stunning Conculsion for an Amazing Trilogy
A truly amazing conclusion to one of the best fantasy series I've read to date. Reading the Liveship Traders triology really enhanced it. ...more info
- Amazing, a great ending to a great series
A fantastic, all though a little sad, ending to a great series. I can only hope she writes another story with the Fool and Fitz. I skipped her Liveship series but after reading the Tawny Man series and I regret it. I got the distinct fealing I missed something. So to anyone looking for a good fantasy series, definetly read these....more info
- Utterly unsatisfying.
I wasn't going to write a review for this book. Honestly, I was trying my hardest not to. But hopefully this will give me some way of venting after this book has turned me into an emotional wreck. No exaggeration, since I finished this book near exactly 24 hours ago, I've felt a profound despair and listlessness of spirit.
The sharp observer will notice I have given this book five stars. I couldn't possibly give any of the books of Fitz's saga any less. I simply disagree with the ultimate conclusion; Hobb's writing, to me, is spectacular throughout--the most enjoyable fantasy I've read since Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragonlance novels (and hands-down the most believable) and likewise the Fool is one of my favorite literary characters since Raistlin Majere.
I'm not trying to prevent anyone from reading this series, truly; I loved every minute of the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies with the exception of the last thirty minutes'-hour's worth, and I think only a select number will share my feelings on the inappropriateness of Hobb's chosen ending.
I've read plenty of books with sad endings and accepted them with a few tears and a little remorse, but none with an ending that was so blatantly WRONG that leaves such an indescribable feeling of ... loss, depression, despair, regret or... something. It's a mixture of these sort of uncomfortable feelings and more.
I agree completely with an earlier reviewer who gave this book three stars:
"This book broke my heart ... The ending is so tragic to me that I can find little solace in it. I am unable to follow her train of thought to what she deems to be the "natural ending". I follow the trail originally set out by her and arrive at my own conclusions."
Beware spoilers from here on!
This is exactly, exactly how I feel. Six of the greatest, most unique fantasy novels in my experience were not building up to that worse than mediocre conclusion. Every time I think on the ending it profoundly depresses me. Why the bloody hell did Hobb bring the Fool back to life with all of the pomp we witness--events that quite obviously show the Fool's love reciprocated by Fitz--only to completely slap the reader in the face with the actual end?! I notice she conveniently left Burrich dead so Fitz could take up his place with Molly. I feel absolutely betrayed by the way Hobb leaves things. Better to have left either the Fool or Fitz dead; with both of them alive they should have been together. To inadvertantly quote the prophetic Mr. T, I pity the Fool. He deserved more and better.
I'm going to need counseling to get over this cursed book....more info
- Loved the book and the trilogy. Wish I'd read the other six first.
I don't normally read Amazon's recommendations for me, but I was looking for a new author to read, and noted that they had recommended this one to me based on my prior history. (Honest, this isn't an advertisement for Amazon.com.) In any case, I read the first book of this series, Fool's Errand, and was immediately hooked.
This last book of the trilogy was very well-written, thoroughly engrossing, and even had me tear up in a few spots. (Books VERY seldom make me do that.) I only wish that I knew that this trilogy had two trilogies before it, as I would have read them first. I now plan to go back and do so. The only downside is that, because of the necessary explanations in this one to cover prior history, you already know most of what's going to happen. Still, I look forward to reading how it DOES happen.
Wonderful book. If you haven't read any of Robin Hobb's books, I highly recommend starting with Assassin's Apprentice, which I am planning to read next. (It has been rated 4.5 stars by Amazon readers, so it seems to be as good as this one.)...more info
- Fool's Fate
The Tawny Man is by far Robin Hobb's best series and Fool's Fate is by far her best work. Highly recommended....more info
- Was the Fool a Man or a Woman
I really enjoyed the Farseer Trilogy and the Tawny Man Trilogy but felt some questions were left unanswered relative to the relationship between the Fool and Fitz. I had hoped the Fool was really a woman and they would get together in the end. It was somewhat disappointing in this regard....more info
- Awesome end for an amazing trilogy
Amazing end to the trilogy...the final denoument could have been a little more grand, but I am not complaining. This was a fantastic piece of work.
- Grey Haven Strikes Again
I've been reading Robin Hobb's books since Assassin's Apprentice first caught my eye. I've loved the world throughout and hope to see more of it in the future. I believe that we may have seen the last of some of our most Beloved characters and I am desperately sorry for that; however they must have their Grey Haven. There comes a point in any good story where it must end and Ms. Hobb's closes this one gracefully and in a manner that while unexpected fits the story. I was not too enthusiastic about the first two Tawny Man books and Fool's Fate sat on my bookshelf for awhile before I got around to reading it. I'm glad I did. I trusted Ms. Hobb to see all her finely drawn characters safely to the end of their tale and she did. She writes such real and vital characters at times I found myself sobbing on their behalf. At one point I put the book down in despair, feeling like Fitz must have at that same time (and no, I'm not telling - you'll just have to read the book). Anyway, the end is worth the wait. My only disappointment is the bittersweetness of the whole thing. I love the ending, but I will miss Fitz, the Fool and all the other so much....more info
- An engrossing and fantastic epic concludes with a somewhat disappointing ending (spoilers)
It's difficult for me to perceive of these series as two separate ones - I read the whole six volumes (the Farseer trilogy 1, 2 and 3 and the Fool's series 1, 2 and 3) one after the other, and the story is one continuous one for me.
What pulled me into these wonderful books were the very three-dimensional characters and their development.
The characters became so life-like for me that, even though some parts of Fitz' road got a bit hard to walk, because of the endless ways in which he managed to make a mess of things, the endless secrets, following misunderstandings, his self-imposed isolation and so on, I read on late into the night because I needed to know how he and the other people who soon got dear to me would progress through the story.
The problems Fitz, the protagonist faces are very human and recognizable and sometimes cut to the heart (sometimes I wanted to kick him too, hard, but if a writer makes you feel so strongly about a character, she does a really great job!). The same goes for the Fool, a wonderfully mysterious, and very moving character with many sides to his personality who, contrary to his name, is by far the most psychologically mature of them all. Shrewd, Verity, Chade, Kettricken, Thick and some others make very believable and human characters, and you grow to like them (and sometimes also loathe them) and know them and care about them.
The writer had made me care so much for so long, that the ending of the story left me feeling let down somehow. At the very end, it seems to suddenly come to a halt and fail to live up to the expectations I had build up as the story progressed all along. This happens in the 37th chapter, with only two more chapters to go, but for me, as the story moves on, things aren't set right again. For instance, I didn't expect a `happy ending' for Fitz and the Fool, but to leave the relationship between the protagonist and an important main character like that, was quite unsatisfactory for me. After everything you go through as a reader, suffering with the characters, loving with them, hoping for them...for six volumes in total (if you read the whole series, which I would recommend highly) and then finally the main characters miss out on having a good parting in the end (bitter sweet it would be, but surely it deserves some pages or even a chapter dedicated to it!) because of an unfortunate accident that seems to stop the story in its tracks and leaves the Fool thinking Fitz is dead. It didn't feel like a fair conclusion to a very long, very delicate and moving relationship. It deserved more, in my opinion. I also felt the ending as a whole, for all the characters and issues raised, deserved more.
And the courtship of Molly, his childhood love, though very well written, fails to really move me because she's been out of the story, and his life, too long - as a reader, I `d stopped emotionally investing in her, partly since their parting and even more so since Kettle pointed out the nature of their young, very adolescent love relationship. I had grown to care so much more for Fitz's relationships with the Fool, Nettle, Thick and Dutiful, and others.
And then the rest of the story is folded up and finished, without much further ado, and that's that. For me, it was an anti-climax, I discovered I'd really expected more.
All in all, though wonderfully written, exciting, and painfully moving for the most part, in the end this last volume left me feeling a little disappointed....more info
- Exceptional Trilogy
I have read the three books in this trilogy and without hesitation, I say that Hobbs' ability to take a story containing the ultimate in magical fantasy, including dragons, and make it feel as if it were reality. At no time did I feel as if the story went too far in taking me, the reader, into realms that could not possibly exist. All the events in all three books were true to their characters and the setting where the action took place.
What an amazing mind Hobbs has to create characters with flaws even as they take their place as heros. I loved this series and was disappointed to have it end. The entire atmosphere stayed with me long after I read the last page. ...more info
- Hollow ending for Incredible Epic
Hobb is now in my top 5 favorite authors. This is an amazing, wonderful epic story (the first 3 Farseers and the 3rd Fools books), very much worth reading. However,
I recently finished the 6th book of the Fitz's books and am soo disappointed by the hollow and emotionally stunted ending to a truly wonderful epic. I can only imagine that she did not, for some reason(s), have the emotional space to process a more appropriate and emotionally fleshed-out ending. How she deal with Burrich, the Fool and Molly in the end just didn't seem to fit... I put down the book with 'oh dear' and felt like something really valuable had been left out. I was so invested in these books, I wept over Nighteyes's passing... I expected to feel something more than "oh" at the end of this story. I wonder if she was just burnt out or if the publishers came down hard with a deadline to meet? What ever the reason, the other books are a 5 and this one a 3, for it was such a disappointment. However, she is a truly gifted writer....more info
- A Lousy End to a Great Series
I was excited to hear that Robin Hobb was bringing Fitz and the whole troop back for another series and the first two books did not fail to entertain.
However the final book really left me disappointed. The whole thing with the prince and the dragon to win the heart of this tribal girl really fell flat. They had zero chemistry when together and the Out Islanders really were not very interesting as a people.
Plus I don't think Fitz got the ending he deserves. I won't say one way or the other what that means, but suffice to say, he is not given his just rewards here.
It would have been better to toss the whole idea for the trilogy than let it end this way. ...more info
- Fantastic ending to a great trilogy. Queen of Fantasy?
4 aspect I will judge this story by, Story, Worldbuilding, Characterization and Emotional response.
Story: 4 stars
Emotional response: 5 stars
- Great book, bad ending
I have learned that I often don't like the endings to R. Hobb's books, but still while reading them they become my books, so I have to read them. And I will continue to read R. Hobbs books for the beginnings, which she does very well, and the middles, and hope that on some of the books she will let them go in the end. The ending for Fool's Fate was not happy, the last 100 pages was a dreadful slog that took almost the same time to read as the first 800, which I read slowly and savored. The ending was where she beat it to death so no one else could take it from her. I sometimes wonder if ego and inspiration fight for the same room....more info
- Tawny Man Trilogy, Book 3
The Tawny Man Trilogy picks up the tale of Fitz and the Fool some fifteen years after the Red Ship wars. Queen Kettricken is determined to secure her son's throne by arranging a marriage between Prince Dutiful and Elliania, the daughter of their old enemies in the Outislands. But the Six Duchies themselves are restless. The Witted are weary of persecution, and may choose to topple the throne of the Farseers by revealing that young Prince Dutiful carries an old taint in his blood. The Narcheska Elliania sets a high price on her hand: Dutiful must present her with the head of Icefyre, the legendary dragon of Aslevjal Island.
Meanwhile, to the south, The Bingtown Traders continue to wage war against the Chalcedeans, and seek to enlist the Six Duchies into the effort to obliterate Chalced. Bingtown's temperamental ally, the dragon Tintaglia, has her own motives for supporting them in this, ones that may lead not only to the restoration of the race of dragons but also to the return of Elderling magic to the Cursed Shores.
Fitz, in the person of Tom Badgerlock, will accompany the prince on his quest to secure the dragon's head. For reasons of his own, he decides that it is of the utmost importance that his old friend, The Fool, not accompany him. Chade agrees with him, and thus Fitz sets out without his companion, to face an enemy from his past and also decide what future he will claim for himself. ...more info
- Meandering with a totally unsatisfying finish (spoilers)
I'm surprised that this book has so many five star ratings, because I really thought it was the weakest of Hobb's efforts involving Fitz (six books). The writing is still good, and many of the characters interesting, but the book totally disengages itself from the premises laid by the others in the series. Throughout the entire course of the novel track, Fitz is supposedly learning about his responsibilities and his duties to his land and his people, gradually coming to terms with his place within that system. Yet at the end he just suddenly abandons it all, content with going back to a previously (and, in my opinion, correctly) dismissed young love. He basically does exactly what his father did, almost like relapsing into some sort of genetic predisposition for dullness.
There were so many more interesting options for this series to conclude with! I had always felt that Hobb was leading a romance between Kettricken and Fitz, and this to me would have been far more believable than running back to Molly given how well he actually knew either of them. I also agree with other reviews that the pacing of the book is too slow, and that Fitz is almost made peripheral (other characters are in fact responsible for most of the major events in the book). I could, however, tolerate a meandering storyline, and even endure reading about Fitz as a part-time nursemaid, if the ending were not so stupefyingly bland.
Maybe I just don't like the "a simple life is the best reward" perspective, but I really feel tricked in that we're being told that such simplicity was a false comfort the entire series, only to have it unceremoniously dumped on us at the end. Such a disappointment for such a great series. ...more info
- Not up to her usual high standards
In my review of Fool's Errand, I said that it took me a while to get into this series. Indeed, I had picked up that first book twice just to set it aside, so frustrated was I with its interminably slow pacing. In the end, I was glad I gave it a third chance, because the book held true to the promise that I felt any book with Fitz and the Fool should possess. It was a delight.
Fool's Errand finished with grand momentum, and that momentum didn't stall in Golden Fool. Yet, after reading 150 pages of this book, I found myself putting one of Ms. Hobb's books down yet again. Looking back at when I wrote the reviews for the other two books, I see that I set it aside for almost seven months. The first 150 pages of this book read like an encyclopedia. Every page felt like a chore.
Ms. Hobb is a meticulous writer, and I have always admired her for that, and been glad for it, as it has enhanced my experience as a reader. But here that meticulousness felt rather thin, and instead of necessary, things felt drawn out. I wasn't dazzled as I (eventually) was in Fool's Errand, nor was I as mesmerized by the myriad plot threads evident in Golden Fool.
This book tells the story of Prince Dutiful, Chade, Fitz, and his coteries, as they travel first to the Out Islands and the Narcheska's mothershouse, and then to Askeyvjal (sp?) Island so that Dutiful can carry out the seemingly childish quest that his bride-to-be, the Narcheska, has given him - to bring back the head of Icefyre.
There's a *lot* of traveling and complaining in this book. We go over seas, and trudge over glaciers. And Thick, Dutiful's half-wit and part of his Skill coterie, isn't made of stern enough stuff for this journey. The boats make him sick, and the snow makes him cold. His constant whining was annoying, and I found myself hoping that they would dump him off the boat, or let him slide down a crack in the glacier and just leave him there. He had a purpose, yes, and I recognize and understand the necessity of his character. However, he was an unlooked for burden. Both to those he traveled with and to this reader.
Granted, Ms. Hobb does surprise us. Many writers would simply give their readers a quest to go and fight a dragon, and that's what the characters would do. Not so here. There are many subplots to this quest, and they broaden, again, our understanding of the vast world that Ms. Hobb has imagined.
However, I didn't find myself surprised or delighted as much as I believe I should have been. When the main subplot announced itself, I thought - oh, cool. And that was it.
I'm of two minds on this book, and several on the ending. It was a *long* ending, similar to what happened in The Return of the Kingafter Frodo completed his quest and Gondor had its king. I appreciated the time that Ms. Hobb put into wrapping up some of her complex threads, especially the personal ones, and amongst those, prominently the relationship between the Fool and Fitz.
Their friendship is easily one of the most unconventional and startling ones in contemporary fantasy, and I applaud Ms. Hobb. Not many writers would tackle issues that could cause close-minded people to drop her book and write it off. She handled this so cautiously and carefully, and succeeded on crafting a love that has not, in my reading experience, been duplicated anywhere within this genre.
However, I found that when I put the book down, I was glad it was over. That's not the feeling I want after devoting so much time to reading somewhere around 1,800 pages of fiction. All the love and care and concern that I had for many of the characters was no longer there.
It seemed to me that, while Ms. Hobb didn't shortchange us on any of the threads that she tied up, she didn't spend enough time - or didn't have enough time to spend - editing. There were numerous rookie mistakes everywhere, the most common of these was to use the same word within the same paragraph more than once - like throne. In one paragraph, that word was used around four times, and there were better sentences that could have been constructed without using that word.
So while the threads were all tied up, it felt rushed because it didn't have Ms. Hobb's usual stamp of perfection on it, and the book in general was much drier than the previous two - indeed, the previous eight in this series. She left room at the end for sequels, but truth be told, I doubt that I'll read them.
To give this a 2 star review would be to say that I didn't like this book, and I can't bring myself, even with all of the objections I have, to say so. While not up to her usual work, I'd still read this over anything by Goodkind, Eddings, or Brooks. It may have been dry, but it was intelligent and well-crafted. So, 3 stars.
- Loved it.
I couldn't read this book fast enough, but it is impossible to read this book quickly. This is not an action book. It is a character driven novel, but that does not mean that it lacks action. Robin Hobb develops characters like few others. I found myself alternatively furious with Fitz and then cheering him on. I'm not a big fan of First Person narrative since it limits exposure to other characters, but this book couldn't have been written any other way.
This was an extemely satisfying ending to three very good series. All the characters evolve and grow as the pages turn and each one is satisfyingly complete when the book is done.
Before starting the book, my expecations for FitzChivalry's and the Fool's relationship were sky high. As I read, I felt a little let down by that devolpment, but when I wrapped up the entire book, I felt a real since of satisfaction. ...more info
- We're off to see the Dragon
Well, first I have to say that this was one of the top 10 series I have read in years. All the characters were real, in depth, people you know well and feel for. My biggest complaint is never really getting to know just who, and what the Fool really was. Poor Fitz was always just one step behind at life. I still can't understand why he went back to a woman who knew nothing about the real person Fitz, and had been married to another man for years and years with scads of children. Ah Well. The story was grippingly interesting right up to the end.(wich was 23rds of the way through the book, then it plods on with tying up loose ends that never really satisfied me. I can't imagine how afer all they had been through, the Fool and Fitz could just pull the plug and split. Huh! Secretly I hope there may be another trilogy to follow that picks up where their relationship left off. And, I was expecting Fitz to bond with one of the Dragons, that would have been a kick. ummm another idea for a sequal? Still, this is Hobb at her best, get it you will enjoy.
- Wonderful ending for the story of FitzChivalry Farseer
I'm not really going to give a plot synopsis, because it won't mean what it should unless you have read the Assassin's trilogy and the other two books in Tawny man. If you havn't read them, I seriously suggest getting to those first because this story is one worth while. Right up there with wheel of time, and if only they could have lasted just as long.
I was a bit apprehensive when I first picked up Assassin's Apprentice. The setting seemed a little more midieval than I cared for, but once I started reading, I havn't put it down, and havn't put any of the books down till I finished Fool's Fate this morning.
Fitz is a character that sticks with you. There were definately times when I started yelling "oh no" over and over again when certain things happened in Fool's fate, because after everything he has gone through, he has a hell of a lot more yet to go.
Basic points - Nettle is way more involved in this. The relationship between Elliana and Dutiful follows the predictable path. Something horrible happens to the Fool that almost made me cry and made my heart hurt nad you meet one of his Kin. You learn quite a bit more about dragons. Anything I say about Fitz would ruin the book, cept that he loses someone close to him....more info
- the final brick in a marvellous castle!
This is a masterpiece! Fool's Fate isn't just the end of a very good trilogy (The Tawny Man), but binds together Hobb's previous 8 books (that is the Farseer and Liveship Traders trilogies) in such an easy way that in the end it seemed to me that I read a single novel.
Praise also for the way characters like Fool, Wintrow or Chade were developed!
Personal comment on the story (spoilers):
in the end I was so sorry for Beloved that I found myself angry with Fitz!
Maybe Fitz shouldn't have had the chance to get back to Molly after all ...did he deserve it after all he did to her? And it seems to me that Burrich's death was there only to offer Fitz a "clean way out" without betraying the man who had raised him as a father (this death -the way it is- is maybe the only flaw I found in Hobb's trilogies)....more info
- Fantastic book, in spite of the ending being a letdown
And perhaps you won't agree. But after the roller coaster that is Fitz's life, and after you've learned to accept "good enough" for him all along, the conclusion seems trite. For this reader, it needed to be either stunningly good, or stunningly bad. After all, nothing in Fitz's life has been anything short of either one of those two extremes.
Ending aside, the book itself merits five stars. Much more active, interesting, decisive than the first two of the Fool trilogy, it's what I came to this series for. Something is constantly happening, which makes up for little happening in the two preceding books. You go new places with new and fascinating people and meet the antagonist behind it all. Fool's Fate is more tragic than the opening books of this trilogy, disturbing if you're squeamish, but in that sense, it's truer to the overall Fitz story.
All things considered, the series, in addition to the Assassin trilogy, has been a wild ride that I don't recommend anyone willingly miss. Robin Hobb herself rates five stars and she didn't let us down with the Fool books....more info
- If you've read the rest, you don't need me to tell you....
Any Robin Hobb fan kind of knows what to expect by the time they get to this book. A great story, good characters; you just know the dishes are going to back up and most of your life will be put on hold, most of your free time is going to be devoted to the book until you're finished.
And if you've never read Robin Hobb, don't start here. Go read the reviews on the Assassin books and decide if this is your thing.
- 4 stars for this book, 5 for the entire series.
Hobb is one of the most engaging fantasy writers to have emerged in the last ten years. I have been addicted to the story of FitzChivalry since he appeared in Assassin's Apprentice and have bought and devoured these books literally as quickly as they have appeared. It was certainly with mixed emotions that I picked up this last book. Mixed, because while I wanted to read it, I also did not really want the story of FitzChivalry to end.
Let me first say that Fool's Fate is a worthy entry in the series. It kept me reading and absorbed all the way through. There were times when the pages literally could not turn fast enough to satisfy my need to see what would happen next. Do not be afraid of being disappointed.
That said, I (like many reviewers here, I see) felt that the book finally failed at closing the story of the life of FitzChivalry in a manner that kept it in sync with the history of the Six Duchies. The book, to me, far too easily closed down aspects like Fitz and his Wit, the fate of the Fool, and the future of Nettle.
I think that I understand how Hobb wanted to end this book. I wanted that ending as a reader also. However, I felt that in order to get to that ending she sacrificed too many things that were both good and real in the life of Fitz.
For potential readers: Do not begin with the Tawny Man trilogy-- begin with the Farseer Trilogy. You will miss too much if you start with these three books.
For Robin Hobb: Please write more as quickly as possible!...more info
- I would give it 5000 stars if I could. Caution: Spoilers ahead.
I mourn the end of this book, I just finished reading the last page. I layed down for a moment, the book upon my chest, holding onto the adventures and the love that was shared with me through Fitz's eyes. I got up and looked online at all the reviews, just hoping to extend that feeling. Wow, I have never been so moved by a book. I cried ALOT. The poem the Fool wrote his beloved made me cry so much I kept having to stop, because my eyes blurred so. I missed him tremendously, and I was almost angry with Fitz for being happy, and that is when it hit me. Unconditional love, not bound in any way. The Fool would never stand for my being angry with Fitz for his happiness. As much as I was sad/angry for Fitz, and heartbroken for the Fool, he was happy for his Beloved, and who am I to judge them? ...more info
- Okay, did anyone else hate Molly . . .?
Because her presence sure ruined the ending of this epic saga. For me, anyway.
Having just finished this incredible series, I'm left feeling dumbfounded at how Robin Hobb totally blew the ending. To call it `bittersweet' or `anticlimax' is only to paint part of the picture. If only Molly had died earlier, in childbirth or had some kind of accident. . . the ending would probably have been much better.
Just to recap: Molly was stated over and over again to be only a youthful love of Fitz's, And that she had finally discovered true love with a MAN, Burrich, almost twenty years ago. Someone who could take care of her and give her a horde of children. For crying out loud, she wasn't even that developed a character. I chiefly remember her from the first series as alternating between crying and frowning while stamping her foot and arching her back in ecstasy while she dug her fingernails into Fitz back during lovemaking. Not a whole lot else there really.
What Fitz got at the end, was hollow and meaningless, even if it was `happy'.
I have a feeling the author chickened out a bit near the end of this story, and all of the groundwork laid for the identity of the Fool was just thrown out because she either couldn't or didn't want to deal with it.
The Fool was supposed to be a woman. Period. The books had so many hints!
First, Starling called it back in book 3, and it was so obvious after that, it made more and more sense as the saga went on. The dream with the Rooster Crown in which a WOMAN with the Fool's voice led some kind of festival. That vision was the first `warning' to Fitz that the Fool was totally different than what he visualized. Then, the story of their relationship in the Tawny Man became about Fitz not seeing the truth on purpose and the complexity of their relationship with the sexual tension building and nether one admitting the truth to the other. Other hints:
The fact the Fool never let him see him undressed.
The fact the Fool covered his chest when showing Fitz his tattoo.
When Jinna the hedge witch read Fitz's palm and said that his true love had been there in and out of his life for many years, and would come back to him at the end. I thought it was the Fool, it made sense. Molly was absent for almost 20 years.
The female visitor from the Trader's town who told Fitz point blank that he was a moron and not seeing `Amber' as she truly was.
The fact the all White Prophets and their Catalysts are male/female pairings.
The list goes on.
The Fool was woven in and out of his life and did come back to him. He was even named `Beloved' !
Instead, Fitz had to go back to Molly in a somewhat painful fashion. I literally cringed while reading the entire nauseating last 20 pages of the book. Ugh.
It was a horrible clich¨¦d ending to have given the readers, after the wonderful originality of the series and did not feel right, but forced. Come on, am I supposed to believe that Fitz pined for the memory of someone that basically either cried or b--tched at him for their entire teenage relationship? In between great love sessions, of course. And upon renewing their acquaintance, she isn't much changed except that she becomes a grandmother with more `womanly curves' while Fitz tries to woo her sorry a-s back to him. Also, they both just kind of sail past the complexity of Burrich in the mix and get over his death with almost painful relief. Burrich deserved better.
Fitz ends up kind of pathetic, really. What was so great about Molly was the nostalgic memory of her he had. The tripe about the Fool buying his memories back from Girl on a Dragon is a cop out to explain why a nearly 40 year old man never grew up in terms of romance.
I liked him with the Fool better.
Hobb built up a complex relationship and it was brushed out by `accident' that's very contrived, just like Burrich's convenient death so Fitz can finally have Molly. And frankly, at the end she's just not worth having.
Other points: Final reunions with people who thought him dead were glossed over. He and Burrich had so much to say to one another . . . this never really happened. The reunion with Patience was a little better, but the feeling of hurry begins to be more obvious at this point in the book.
I wonder if Robin Hobb was truly happy with the ending upon later reflection. If she was rushed, well - it shows. Too many pat and easy answers. Until the last half of this book, the entire saga was a masterpiece. But bringing Fool back to life only to have him walk away without saying goodbye was terrible and not at all what was so painstakingly laid out in the last 6 books.
All so Fitz could finally bag Molly after she sucked a bee stinger out of his ear. After 16 years. (not making this up)
And they lived happily ever after.
(I hope not!)
- Simply the Best
At last we have a really great fantasy series that ENDS effectively!
FitzChivalry Farseer is what Robert Jordan would call a "Ta'veren", the kind of character around whom history weaves itself, except that he has a special friend, the Fool, who helps to guide him through the changes he makes to his world. Robin Hobb has created these two characters so well that they are easily in the top 10 fantasy characters of all time. Magic is just a subtle flavour for this series, used to illuminate the moralities and intricacies of her world and the people who live in it, and as with all the best fantasies, it's use extracts an appropriate consequence from the user.
I don't want to go into the plot on the 9th book of the series -- if you've read the first 8, you have an idea what's coming and don't really need this review, if not, go get "Assassin's Apprentice" and get started! The Farseer Trilogy is where it all begins, where we learn to care about the characters and their world. It ends well, with only a hint that there could be more. I actually started to read Robin Hobb with the second trilogy, The Liveship Traders, which stood by itself so well that I could have stopped there, had I not been compelled by the excellence of Hobb's writing to go back to the beginning for more! The Tawny Man Trilogy, of which this book is the finale, is the icing on the cake. It's only drawback is that the love of the ships and the sea, which fairly oozed from the oakum of the Liveship Traders, is sadly missing from the naval scenes, but this is made up for by a fabulously imagined story which leaves the reader hungry for the next installment. ALL the loose ends are wrapped up, and there is no preface for another book at the end, so if Hobb intends to write more books in this world, she will need to (and easily could) go off on a tangent. Personally, I am keeping my copies so that I can read them through again in a few years, as they are the best I have read yet, of many, many series! As Fitz would say, "I am content"....more info
- Triumphant finale?
What can you say about the finale of a work of art which has spanned nine large volumes chock full of wonderfully detailed and passionate characters, whose actions and interactions are governed by their own agendas and concerns, but which is woven into a complete tapestry of love, hate, revenge, repression, honor, service, loyalty and betrayal? If you haven't read the Farseer series, you owe it to yourself to experience it at least once in your life. You will be richer for the experience.
Now if only we can get Ms. Hobb to write: "I looked back over my draggled writing with something akin to surprise, for this is the first time I was aware that I had veered from a factual recounting of the history of the Six Duchies into fiction. My own wants and desires, so long repressed, must have bubbled forth from the depths of my weary soul. Perhaps it was only the elfbark's depression, but I surely wanted a happy life with Molly. Alas, it was not to be..."...more info
- Is the tale all told?
Robin Hobb creates truly wonderful, engrossing characters whose lives and relationships are created with superb writing. Several readers have expressed dissatisfaction with the ending of the tale. But do you really feel like its an ending when you get there? Some do, others feel there are many things left just a little too tidy (and very bitter about it, they seem). However, people of the Fool's kind live a long time. Would it be fair that he should see his Beloved's death? Likewise, if you recall, Skillmasters tend to be long-lived. So what a twist of Fate, that Fitz would be in that role instead. And where do you think Fitz would go to live out the rest of his long, unambitious life? Lots of things left to think about. And write about. Maybe from the Fool's perspective? Now that would be worth reading....more info
- Huge Disappointment
Robin Hobb has an unquestionable position at the pinnacle of speculative fiction, having written not the one but the two best fantasy trilogies of the last generation. And even in the first two books of the Tawny Man trilogy she kept up a quite high standard. But something happened on the way to the conclusion. For sure "Fool's Fate" reads like a Robin Hobb novel. The dialogue is intelligent, the characters astonishingly real, the world-building careful and solid, and the writing good at a technical level. At a deeper level, however, Hobb has completely lost sight of what makes a good story.
The best I can say for "Fool's Fate" is that it's a nine-hundred page book which may have a decent three-hundred page book lurking somewhere inside. We left on in "Golden Fool" with our heroes anticipating their upcoming quest to slay the dragon Icefyre. In "Fool's Fate" they spend one hundred pages at Buckkeep packing and preparing, one hundred pages sailing to the Out Islands, one hundred pages dithering around on an island, and another hundred dithering on a different island. Four hundred pages gone before the plot is really in motion.
We often fear that successful authors simply include anything that comes into their head, and their editors aren't brave enough to hack off unwarranted text. Sadly that's exactly the case here. One obvious example: Fitz taking care of Thick. This consumes well over a hundred pages, with Fitz feeding Thick, dressing Thick, watching Thick be seasick, dragging Thick onto ships, arguing with Thick, fighting with Thick, etc... This hits the crux of the problem with "Fool's Fate". Hobb wants to say things that are true regardless of whether they're interesting. So yes, of course retarded people were often abused and mistreated in past eras and yes a good person should treated the mentally challenged with respect. But watching Fitz nursemaid Thick is like reading a novel about paint drying. Needless to say Thick ends up doing something important at the end and thus justifying his presence on the quest. But his role is trivially small. Hobb could have written Thick out of the book entirely, and should have. Like Jar Jar Binks, he single-handedly turns a decent artwork into a lousy one just by existing.
Thick, though, is merely a victim of a larger disease: the dreaded bloat. Conversations go on ten pages, fifteen pages, or more. We see events that have no place in the story, visit places we don't need to see, hear the same thoughts repeated over and over. We get a list of every character's emotions and facial expressions at every paragraph.
Even after all this, "Fool's Fate" might have been redeemed by a good climactic showdown. But that flops too. The largest problem with the entire Tawny Man Trilogy is that the villains are so lame. Laudwine was a paper tiger. The new villainess in "Fool's Fate" is a horrendous cliche straight out of a Terry Goodkind novel: evil, laughs maniacally, sex-crazed, tortures people for no particular reason.
Ultimately "Fool's Fate" collapses due to lack of planning and self-control. Without a goal worth caring about, without progression towards a well-defined conclusion, there's just no reason to keep reading. Several times I was on the verge of giving up; were this written by any other author, I most likely would have. We can only hope that Hobb will get back on track with her next project....more info
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