Robin Hobb's books set in the Elderlings universe.

Robin Hobb, "Blood Of Dragons"

2014-10-24 · in Books, Realm of the Elderlings · 77 words

This is either the thirteenth Realm of the Elderlings book, or the fourth Dragon book, depending on how you look at it; it's the conclusion of the story about the resurrection of dragons that began back in the first Fitz trilogy. The writing and characterisation hers is up to Hobb's usual standard; good stuff.

I wonder which universe we'll get a book from next — it'd be nice to hear more about the Soldier Son world…

Robin Hobb, "City of Dragons"

2013-12-21 · in Books, Realm of the Elderlings · 30 words

Excellent -- again -- there's a lot going on at once in this series now! (And we are twelve books in...)

The side story about the bird keepers works well.

Robin Hobb, "Dragon Haven"

2013-12-20 · in Books, Realm of the Elderlings · 6 words

Excellent stuff as usual.

Robin Hobb, "Realm of the Elderlings" series

2011-03-13 · in Books, Realm of the Elderlings · 236 words

Third in this decade's programme of reread fantasy series: Robin Hobb's Assassin-Ship-Fool metatrilogy. I read the first series back before I started writing reviews.

  • Assassin's Apprentice (2011-01-09): the first Farseer book, telling the story of Fitz's childhood and his first mission for the Farseer court. Things happen rapidly in this book, almost to the point of the ending seeming rushed; the pace is less hectic later on in the series, as tends to happen with epic fantasy. The other striking thing is how small a part the Fool plays, given his later importance.
  • Royal Assassin (2011-01-12): I'd forgotten just how much fun Nighteyes is as a character.
  • Assassin's Quest (2011-01-17): I didn't like this one very much the first time I read it (too much time spent travelling). I had more patience on the reread, and it turned out I remembered more of this one than I did the later (Fitz/Fool) books.
  • Ship of Magic, The Mad Ship, Ship of Destiny (2011-03-13): no particular comment this time round.
  • Fool's Errand, The Golden Fool, Fool's Fate (2011-02-26): well, these make a lot more sense when read after the Ship novels (as I failed to do last time; it appears to be a common problem, talking to friends). It's made clear that they happen chronologically after the Dragon books, though.

Robin Hobb, "The Dragon Keeper"

2011-01-03 · in Books, Realm of the Elderlings · 60 words

Hobb continues where the Liveship trilogy left off, with the triumphant return of dragons to the Farseer world — or not, as the case may be. It's nice to find out more about Rain Wilds life, and the new characters are certainly worth meeting.

I'm not sure she needed to be quite so coy about Hest and Sedric's secret...

Robin Hobb, "Ship of Destiny"

2006-08-07 · in Books, Realm of the Elderlings · 9 words

(See the review of Ship of Magic.)

Robin Hobb, "The Mad Ship"

2006-08-04 · in Books, Realm of the Elderlings · 9 words

(See the review of Ship of Magic.)

Robin Hobb, "Ship of Magic"

2006-07-31 · in Books, Realm of the Elderlings · 291 words

(I'll review all three books here, since they're very much parts of a single story.)

Another trilogy in Robin Hobb's Elderlings universe, and the point at which it became obvious I was reading the series in the wrong order -- these come between the Assassin and Fool books. It doesn't really matter that much, but there are several bits in "The Golden Fool" that make rather more sense after reading this series, and a few spoilers going the other way.

The setting's great; Bingtown's a self-contained town with an interesting history that's being forced to deal with the war brewing around it, and the liveship mechanics are rich enough to drive the plot along without feeling contrived. (They're also a nice twist on the magic we've seen elsewhere in the series.) While other reviewers comment on the nautical bent to this series, I don't think it's an especially big deal; it's an important and well-handled element of the setting, but this is fundamentally a book about the bigger issues of the world, and not a Hornblower-style shipboard procedural.

While I greatly enjoyed this trilogy, I didn't think it was as compelling as the books written around Fitz; it's written in the third person, switching between multiple concurrent (but converging) plotlines, and there simply isn't room to develop all the characters that we follow in the same detail as Fitz. The format allows Hobb to use narrative techniques that weren't possible in the first-person Fitz books -- switching perspectives mid-conversation, for example -- but I found myself reading some chapters less carefully because I wanted to find out what happened to the interesting characters. That doesn't make it a bad series, though; it's still head and shoulders above most other fantasy.

Thoroughly recommended.

Robin Hobb, "Fool's Fate"

2006-07-22 · in Books, Realm of the Elderlings · 90 words

The final instalment of Fitz's story in the Elderlings universe. I found the telling of the expedition to find Icefyre more effective than that in "Assassin's Quest"; Hobb concentrates on the characters rather than on the setting. There's some extremely moving stuff with the Fool and Fitz, and the extraordinarily comprehensive ending is satisfying without being cloying. Thoroughly recommended; I didn't want it to end! I see Robin Hobb's started a new universe for her latest two books; hopefully she'll come back to this one at some point.

Robin Hobb, "The Golden Fool"

2006-07-22 · in Books, Realm of the Elderlings · 83 words

Following the exposition-development-expedition structure of the first trilogy, this second book follows Fitz as he struggles with events both inside and outside Buckkeep. The setting's one we're thoroughly familiar with by now, but the politics is thoroughly convincing, and the changes in the characters we know are handled skillfully. I was particularly impressed with the sensitive portrayal of Thick here; he's an interestingly flawed character (as are many of Hobb's) in a genre that's traditionally replete with strong heroes.

Strongly recommended.