by Robin Hobb
Purchase on: Amazon, iBooks,
Add to: Goodreads
Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown.
But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic, and assassin. A man who has risked much for his king and lost more…
On a shelf in his den sits a triptych carved in memory stone of a man, a wolf and a fool. Once, these three were inseparable friends: Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool. But one is long dead, and one long-missing.
Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives to seek out Fitz, but mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing but a blood-trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger?
Suddenly Fitz's violent old life erupts into the peace of his new world, and nothing and no one is safe.
“Nothing warned me on that bright day that the darkest time of my life had begun.”
First of all, don’t be fooled by the #1 here : you CANNOT read this book if you haven’t read the two first trilogies. Trust me, it wouldn’t make sense AT ALL, because it’s Fitz’s journey you’re following here, and it started in Assassin’s Apprentice.
If you’re – even a little – accustomed to this series, you must know that every chapter is introduced by a short excerpt from someone’s memoirs – mostly Fitz’s. That’s why I chose to write this review as an outlet for my memories linked to these amazing books.
Fitz told his story. This is mine. Feel free to stop reading now if you can’t stand personal reviews.
When I started college for the first time, I screwed up. The truth is, I thought that I was ready to live in a dorm far from my family but I just… wasn’t. Soon I began to ditch class more often than not, completely locked in my reading bubble (which is so ironic because I was in literature. I mean, I could slap myself). Of course my parents were worried and angry and you know what? They were right to be, but my 18s self would have never agreed with this, because basically? She was a fucking moron. But move on. Anyway, I managed to convince them that I needed to live out campus because … well… less distractions let’s say, and moved in a tiny apartment some months later. I still remember the loneliness I felt this first night, on my couch surrounded by blank walls.
I still remember saying myself that I was wrong and didn’t make the good choice. I still remember feeling scared, so scared (don’t judge – I come from a 4 children family and never ever knew how to deal with silence – I didn’t know then, anyway)
This first night I grabbed Assassin’s Apprentice and never stopped reading. This first night I was hooked by Robin Hobb’s astounding writing which flows so easily that you don’t even realize that you just read 600 pages in one sitting. This first night was filled with Fitz’s despair, The Fool’s wit, Chade’s strange schemes and Regal’s cruelty.
I won’t deny it, I ate these books up in a week, stopping only to eat and (sometimes) sleep. What can I say? Fitz always had the power to draw me in, to make me feel his struggles, his doubts, his hopes. Don’t expect a perfect male-lead : It’s Fitz – I mean, I didn’t hide that he is my favorite character of all times but if you don’t know him, you need to learn that Fitz is a whiny, heart-wrenching, lonely, “I do mistakes for a living” kind of character. But oh, boy. How real he is. How incredible and complex the relationships are in these books.
Jump a few years. Picture a student in teaching, who barely has enough time to breathe, let alone read. Yes, it was a multiple year book slump. Yes, it was as horrible as it sounds. Now, imagine how I felt when I discovered that Robin Hobb had, in fact, written a new trilogy about my beloved Fitz
I felt dumb to not have learnt it earlier. Of course I was ecstatic. Of course I was full of hope, love, but damn, how worried I was! And the truth is, I was right to be, in my opinion anyway. Because this ending? I cried for hours after this – don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t angry at Robin Hobb for the path she chose for Fitz, because this bittersweet ending? It was so him, he who manages to screw up relationship faster than I say Wit. But I digress. I remember the day I finished it, in the middle of nowhere, fishing on a lake with my boyfriend (who was fishing. Mostly, I read and make coffee. I’m useful like that). I remember saying that it couldn’t be the end. IT COULDN’T BE.
I’m so glad to have been right.
Well, really, I’m always glad when I’m right, I mean, who isn’t? Huh?
“Do not agonize about yesterday. Do not borrow tomorrow’s trouble. Let my heart hunt. Rest in the now.”
If you’re still with me, first of all : congrats. I’m not gonna lie, before starting this book I was scared shitless : will this book be the one that would spoil the series for me? Will I love it as much as the others? Will I, will I…
So, did this book so awaited disappointed me? Not by a long shot. From page one I was tearing up, smiling, from page one I felt like coming back home. Do you expect some full action-packed book? Oh, no, no, please don’t. If you know Robin Hobb, then you are aware that as a first book in one of her trilogies, you have to wait for things to settle down before expecting real action. Of course I was never bored because COME ON, IT’S FITZ, and as always, his insightful but
way to late interpretations of the events of his life enthralled me. Anyway, I thought I should warn you : Robin Hobb’s books must be savored. In any case the pace definitely quickens in the second half and kept me captivated and yes, in awe.
However, what you do find are incredibly multi-layered characters (Can I say that I adored Bee and the changes she brings in Fitz? Yes? Also, this character evolution? Fucking perfect), an intricate web of complex relationships, a beautiful and stunning writing, and as always with this series, the need to be accepted for who you are despite your differences – the excruciating journey that can be life. Because what’s Fitz story but the expression of perseverance despite all the darkness lurking, all the rejections he faced?
I don’t care if the story can be seen as non eventful and boring – watch out, because loss, fear, sadness or joy can overtake you at any instant, suddenly and harshly as Robin Hobb masters it.
I don’t care because I’m home, and I’m overjoyed to be. This story is about family, the one we have and the one we create. And we readers are part of it, in a way.
Guys. GUYS! I feel like crying.
► Because these books? I never want to finish them – I dread their end, and again, Robin Hobb proved me that I was right to do.
PS : Because you KNOW you want to read these books (please do), here’s the order to respect : in italics, the books that aren’t mandatory to read, but it’s in the same world, and we understand things better^^
– Assassin’s Apprentice ★★★★★
– Royal Assassin ★★★★★
– Assassin’s Quest ★★★★
– Ship of Magic ★★★
– The Mad Ship ★★★★★
– Ship of Destiny ★★★★★
– Fool’s Errand ★★★
– Golden Fool ★★★★
– Fool’s Fate ★★★★★
4)RAIN WILD CHRONICLES (4 books)
5)THE FITZ AND THE FOOL
– Fool’s Assassin ★★★★★
– Fool’s Quest (released in August)