Author: Robin Hobb
Number of Books: 17
“When you cut pieces out of the truth to avoid looking like a fool you end up looking like a moron instead.”
― Robin Hobb, Assassin’s Apprentice
“Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there any more.”
― Robin Hobb, Fool’s Fate
I have, after years of reading, finished The Realm of the Elderlings, and it has been the best journey ever! We all have given out 5 star ratings to books in our lives. But I think that we all have those books that are in a class of their own to each of us. So here I’ll do my first 6 star review, and it is for a whole series. I’ll try to keep it short and not drone on and on with this declaration off love for the books.
Story and Characters:
A few years usually pass in-between the five series, so the reader really gets to see the characters grow up and change during the years. I don’t want to say too much about individuals, because the books are very character driven and therefore their progress or lack thereof might spoil the journey for those who’s not read the books. So I’ll settle for telling you how I feel about them.
In the The Farseer, The Tawny Man and The Fitz and the Fool Trilogies you get to follow FitzChivalry (Fitz for short) trough his life in a place called The Six Duchies. Starting when he’s around six years old, and ending the journey when he’s in his sixties. Let’s just say that his life will not be an easy walk in the park, but there will be many interesting characters walking in and out of it. And after reading these books; to say that I’m very close to him is an understatement. I love Fitz, even when I want to punch him in the face. He can be so stupid sometimes, and all I want is for him to find happiness. And my heart breaks and fills with joy for him every time something bad or good happens.
In the ”Liveship Traders” you’re in other parts of the world. Some of these places are called Bingtown, the Pirate Isles and a city named Trehaug in the so called Rain Wilds. Pretty much everywhere else but The Six Duchies, because most characters works on or with boats, and each place has their unique feel and customs. In ”The Rain Wild Chronicles” you’ll meet many of the same characters, but mostly new ones, while they explore he Rain Wilds further. In both series you’ll experience multiple POV’s and be in everyones head. Love them or hate them, you get to know them. And it has been a wild ride! There’s absolutely no filter to their thoughts, and that has given me many laughs, tears and one case of extreme rage that no fictional character have ever managed with! FYI; this was a little girl in her early teens named Malta, and I wanted to bash her head in with a rock for an entire book and a half! But if you’ve read my reviews before, you know that when I feel this strong about a character there’s some damn good writing at work!
Aside from the characters, the slow pace and change of main settings for each book let’s you see exactly how events in one country affects other parts of the world. And how the world changes with time in small ways and nothing really stays the same. Like fashion for example. Small spoiler; Fitz in the last books had a real issue with the abundance of ornamental buttons on clothings because they had no function, which was ridiculous to someone who grew up with a more subtle fashion in style.
On a side note; I recommend reading The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince after finishing the other series because it tells the story of events from long before Fitz came into the world. Reading it before would take away some mystery to the main books concerning the Witted folk (people who can communicate with animals).
World and Writing:
Medieval world, people who can talk to animals, obscure magic (mainly around telepathy and emotions), sword fights, complicated political situations, many different countries and customs.. Dragons! You name it, these books probably have it! And Hobb truly is a master with words and has given everything so much thought that it’s almost ridiculous. Everything feels believable! Even the conversations with animals are spot-on every sentence.
Reading these books has been a project of years with heartbreak, joy, putting the books down because of emotional overload and procrastinating to continue because I just didn’t want to say goodbye to the characters I’ve come to love (and hate) so much. I don’t regret a single moment of reading them, and I can’t wait to start it over again. If you love high fantasy, do yourself a favour and start reading these books as soon as you can.