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May 9, 2019

Fool’s Fate, the final book in Robin Hobb’s Tawny Man Trilogy, ends by being kinder to its protagonist than I expected.

The preceding Farseer Trilogy battered Fitz in body and spirit, scarring him with everything from a grievous arrow wound to losing his first love. Fool’s Errand, the first book in the Tawny Man Trilogy, wasn’t much easier on him when it deprived him of a beloved companion. And The Golden Fool saw him take another nearly fatal injury.

But in the same book, fellow mag...

April 3, 2019

After finishing Robin Hobb’s Golden Fool, my general reaction was that, in the best way possible, I’d been here before.

The second book in Hobb’s Tawny Man trilogy bears more than a passing resemblance to Royal Assassin, the second book in her Farseer trilogy. In each, Fitz juggles multiple responsibilities while trying to face down a variety of potential threats. (In Golden Fool, the threats take the form of Piebald radicals from the previous book, Outislanders who preyed upon the Si...

March 15, 2019

Reading some authors (Jim Butcher, for example) is like downing a shot: the experience is fast and fiery, with no time to catch your breath before you’re done. Reading other authors is like sipping something mellower and savoring the flavor. Robin Hobb is my favorite vintage for this.

I loved her Farseer Trilogy, but I’d been delaying starting her next one because I knew how fully it would suck me in. Waiting didn’t lessen its hold: I read most of Fool’s Errand, the 670-page opening t...

August 6, 2018

Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Quest marks the end of what has become one of my favorite fantasy trilogies.

The story picks up where the second book, Royal Assassin, left off. The king is dead, slain by treachery. Fitz is thought to be dead too, and he’s broken again, this time in mind as much as body. (Hobb is rather fond of battering her protagonist.) After a long convalescence, Fitz sets out to avenge the king and find his true heir.

But the pacing remains slow, with a clear goal and som...

July 10, 2018

I still can’t put my finger on why I like Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy so much.

Sure, the magic system is fun. In Royal Assassin, the second entry in the series, we learn more about the Wit (telepathy with animals), the Skill (telepathy with people), and various other magics. And the world-building is intriguing. Hobb does an excellent job of weaving in legends of the mighty Elderlings so that, when they finally become a story focus, pursuing them doesn’t seem forced.

But there’s no...

June 2, 2018

What if names were designed to be destiny, determining which traits people had and how they acted? And what if you didn’t have a name, and people just called you “Boy” and “Bastard?” Who would you become?

That’s the initial question posed by Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice, an excellent epic fantasy. Commoners in her story don’t get directives for names. Royalty do, though, and strive to live up to them. King Taker was a conqueror, King Shrewd a clever ruler, and Prince Chivalry a...

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I write mostly speculative fiction. Usually fantasy, with historical elements mixed in. Sometimes there's a bit of mystery too, or (shhh!) even a little romance.


But it's weird—it's always weird. Consider yourself warned.