Review: Fool’s Quest

Review: Fool’s QuestFool's Quest by Robin Hobb
Series: Fitz & The Fool #2
Published by Harper Voyager on 13-08-2015
Pages: 740
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Amazon
Goodreads

'Fantasy as it ought to be written' George R.R. Martin
Robin Hobb returns to her best loved characters with the second volume in a brand new series.
Happy endings never last…
Years ago, they freed a dragon from the glaciers on Aslevjal. Then they parted ways, the Fool returning to far-off Clerres, while Fitz finally claimed a wife, a family, and a home of his own.
Now, betrayed by his own people and broken by torment, the Fool has made his way back to the Six Duchies. But as Fitz attempts to heal his old friend in Buckkeep Castle, his young daughter Bee is abducted from Withywoods by pale and mysterious raiders who leave ruin and confusion in their wake.
Fitz must find a way to rescue his beloved Bee. At the same time it is the Fool’s fiercest wish to return to Clerres with the best assassin he has ever known, to gain vengeance and justice.Can Fitz bear to take up the tools of his old trade again, even to avenge his dearest friend and save his child?

Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Addictiveness: ★★★★

When I read it…

I started this on August 5th 2015 and finished it September 21st (worth noting that my final MSc dissertation deadline was early September which probably explains what took so long).

What I’d heard before I read it:

Nothing – I never really read feedback on the latest Robin Hobb book until after I’ve read it to be honest.  My Robin Hobb process is pretty simple: I see the book is up for request, I request it, I wait hopefully with fingers crossed, I eventually read the book (proof or purchased), and then once it’s over I breathe a sigh of sadness that it’s over but also relief that I read it and loved it without seeing spoilers!

Assassins take no pride in fighting fairly. We take pride in winning.

What worked for me:

  • The writing: Obviously, I couldn’t have ended up with this much love for Hobb’s books if I didn’t like the way she writes, but I felt like there was something particularly beautiful about Fool’s Quest.  When the end of year survey came around and it was time to think of favourite quotes Fool’s Quest instantly came to mind, because I felt like we really truly connected with Fitz, and the writing is just so memorable, so poetic, so quotable!
  • All the feels: There are a lot of relationships I feel strongly about, but Fitz and The Fool hold a special place in my heart.  These two have been through so much, and their relationship is a complex, ever-changing thing that takes me on a rollercoaster of emotions every. single. time.  There were so many moments between these two that I adored, despite the fact they’ve come so very far from their roles way back in Assassin’s Apprentice.
  • The character development: Hobb’s characters are always amazing, and it’s why I love her books, but I especially loved the characters in Fool’s Quest.  I connected more with the new characters in the series, and I also felt like we got to explore more the changes in the characters we already knew and loved – Fitz is undeniably different from his early days in the series, and I felt like we got to see a bit more both about how he (and other characters) had changed, but also about how they felt about those changes.
If I enter the room as you are fastening your shoe, I can say, “There will be a lovely moon tonight,” and then you will call it to mind. But before I call it forth for you, you have forgotten the moon. One can swiftly understand that for most moments of our lives, we have forgotten almost all of the world around us, except for what currently claims our interest.

What didn’t quite work for me:

  • The hook: It took me quite a while to get hooked on Fool’s Quest.  It definitely didn’t help that I tried to read this over dissertation time, when reading time is of course limited, but even once my dissertation was finished, it took me a little bit of time to get engrossed.  I really do feel that this book – like the original Farseer trilogy – needed a bigger time investment to get hooked on than say the Rain Wilds Chronicles or the Liveship series.  Once I was hooked, I loved the story but I think it’s a book that suffers if you try to read it in short segments, whenever you’ve got a spare fifteen minutes.

Overall thoughts:

I really really liked Fool’s Assassin but it didn’t quite leave me with the same awe I’d felt from some of Hobb’s other books, which is why it only got four stars despite being a truly brilliant book.  Fool’s Quest had that extra something – the quicker pacing, the character development, the writing – to make it one of my favourite reads of last year, and to get me truly invested in this new series.  Hobb remains a favourite author and with good reason:  I loved Fool’s Quest now as much as I loved Assassin’s Apprentice the first time I read it, probably ten years ago.  I’m gutted that the third book won’t be out until early 2017… but I’m excited that it gives me time to re-read the first two books before then.

Other Reviews of Fool’s Quest: The Dinglehopper | Silver Petticoat Review | Once Upon a Bookcase

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