For fifteen years FitzChivalry Farseer has lived in self-imposed exile, assumed to be dead by almost all who once cared about him. But that is about to change when destiny seeks him once again. Prince Dutiful, the young heir to the Farseer throne, has vanished and FitzChivalry, possessed of magical skills both royal and profane, is the only one who can retrieve him in time for his betrothal ceremony--thus sparing the Six Duchies profound political embarrassment...or worse. But even Fitz does not suspect the web of treachery that awaits him or how his loyalties to his Queen, his partner, and those who share his magic will be tested to the breaking point.I had picked this book up at some point in time because I had heard good things about Robin Hobb, and this was the only book one that the bookstore had by her at the time. That was as far as it went at the time, though. I had always planned to get around to her and never did. The other day I was at the bookstore and I was talking to a friend of the person I was with. They read fantasy, the person I was with does not, so they were asking me for some recommendations. I asked for some back, and they said that their favourite author was Robin Hobb. That night I went home and collected this book from my shelves and decided to finally see what the fuss was about.
I did wrong. When I bought it, I did not look up her books, so I did not know that I should have read her Farseer Trilogy first. I know that now, and plan to backtrack to that trilogy before completing this one. It is the suggested method of reading her books, and I should have done it in the first place. My only big complaint with Hobb is that I think the book could easily have been shorter. The first part of the book lays the background for things, but I thought it was a lot of stuff that was not entirely necessary. That was my only really big complaint with the book, too long.
The trilogy follows FitzChivalry as he tells the story of both what is happening now, as well as recounting what has happened in the past. He was first introduced in the Farseer trilogy, which is why you should read it first, and is a very interesting character. It has been fifteen years since the events in the last trilogy, and by all accounts, Fitz has gone from one extreme to the other. He is leading a very calm and collected lifestyle with his pet wolf and his adopted son. Most people believe him to be dead, so it is very easy for him to hide out and not have visitors from the outside world. Things are changing, though, and suddenly he finds himself quite the popular character, as people from his past start to look him up.
Truth of the matter is, Fitz annoys me in the beginning. I mean, he is supposed to have such an interesting past, but he appears so ordinary in the beginning. He is very straight and narrow, and his lifestyle is not really anything to write home about. I understand that it is how people want to live, but it is dull at times to read about. To be honest, the book only really picks up when the Fool enters the story. An old friend from Fitz’s past, he livens the book up for several chapters, but then he goes away. You start to worry that the book is going to go downhill, whether it is worth keeping on with, but the back of the book says that something is going to happen, so I keep reading waiting for the events that it mentions to happen. Thankfully, I do not find that the book falters all that much after the Fool leaves. And, he comes back, so no worries there.
The real importance of this book is a story about a search for a kidnapped prince. The central thing that happens is Fitz and the Fool searching for him. The rest of the stuff that happens is just lead up so we get to know the characters and stuff. I can see this being a bit boring if you have read the other trilogy. Anyways, Fitz starts to be an interesting character after he has the chance to spread his legs a bit. Accompanied by his faithful wolf, which I will let the book explain the significance of, the book gets interesting. Overall, I think that Hobb has a lot of potential. She has also written a book about fear and prejudice that even if it is not about things present in our society, it is reflective of our own culture. I recommend Hobb for fantasy readers. She really did write a good book, even if I thought it was a bit too long. I look forward to reading more from her.