Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Size: 688 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy
Source: eGalley from NetGalley
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley. I was a huge fan of both the Farseer Trilogy and the Tawny Man trilogy. I enjoyed Liveship Traders but not as much as the other two. I started reading the first book in The Soldier Son trilogy and really hated it. So I was ready to give up on Hobb until I saw that this continued the story of Fitz-Chivalry and the Fool. It ended up being a very slow, yet very engaging story.
Fitz-Chilvary, now known as Tom Badgerlock, spends his days running the holding of Withywood, which his daughter Nettle technically owns. Tom is enjoying being a father to Molly’s children and having Molly as a wife. But age is taking it’s toll on Molly and she is starting to fade. Tom still remains healthy and spry as a result of events in his past. This is when strange white messengers start arriving with a desperate message for Tom. Tom has been trying desperately to stay out of Farseer business, but despite his best efforts he gets drawn back in.
This was a very slow moving book but very well done. This is a hard book to review because much of the second half is told from the perspective of a character that has not even been born yet at the beginning on the book.
Much of the book deals with Tom Badgerlock’s (FitzChilvary’s) day to day running of Withywood Holding. Tom occasionally gets drawn into Farseer issues but tries to stay away from Buckkeep Castle and the intrigue. Tom and Molly are hoping for a quiet life, but of course that wouldn’t be interesting to read about, would it?
Woven throughout this are strange incidents of pale messengers that try desperately to reach Tom but never quite making it. Very far into the book (over half way through) we find out that the Fool has been trying to contact Fitz about a very pressing issue.
The story is very well written and flows nicely, I love reading Hobb’s writing style. However, it does move very slowly. There is very little action, lots of intrigue, and lots of day to day living types of things.
Fitz-Chivalry does end up taking on two new characters to his household, both of them are FarSeer bastards. There is a spoiled noblewoman named Shun and a failed apprentice from Chade named Fitz-Vigilant. I am not completely sure what their part in the story was meant to be…beside to add some discord to Withywood. However, I am hoping they will play a more important role in future books.
It was a long book and it felt long, the story was not very tight but kind of wandered and rolled out gradually over time. We hear mostly from Fitz-Chivalry/Tom, some from Molly, and a lot from another POV which I won’t mention because…you know spoilers.
It was still an excellent read despite it’s slowness and I did enjoy stepping back into this world and reading about these characters that I know so well.
I will also mention that there are large jumps in time between the first few chapters, this is not made clear and was a bit confusing at first. Also there is no designation as to who’s POV a chapter is being told from…so sometimes you have to read into the chapter a bit to figure out who you are listening to.
Overall I was pretty happy with this continuation of the Fitz-Chivalry story. The book moves slowly and wanders a bit, but it is very engaging. We get a chance to read about some of our favorite characters and meet some very intriguing new ones. I would definitely recommend reading at least the Farseer Trilogy before reading this book. I would also recommend the Tawny Man trilogy. Both provide a lot of background that affects what’s going on in this story. Recommended to those who love epic fantasy.