A review of this — 5 years ago
At one point in my life fat fantasy was my genre of choice, but I’ve found myself moving more and more away from that. I decided to test the waters again with this Robin Hobb trilogy, and as much as I enjoyed parts of it I am sorry I did.
It starts off slow, and I only found myself getting into it toward the end of the first book. When you consider that’s already an 800 page investment, there are better things I could have been doing with my time.
A lot of the writing in this trilogy is just bad. An almost constant use of cliché (“her traitor mind” anyone?). Contemptible characters are made likeable with no believable character growth to get us from one point to the other. Other characters remain contemptible, but are cast by the author in a positive light anyway. Jane Austen misunderstandings abound in the third book to keep things going – I mean heaven forbid the book weight in at less than 900 pages after all.
For all of that, the ideas that make this a fantasy novel were solid. Original ideas, some interesting characters, a thought out society, historical background, etc.
The poor writing quality just left me questioning myself though. I previously read (and very much enjoyed) her Assassins books. Were they better written? Or did I just have poor taste then? Maybe I’m just over fat fantasy. Sure it’s interesting, but cliché is pretty much par for the course (boom-tcsch!).
Ultimately I’d say it’s 3000 pages of badly written prose and good ideas. In the same time it took me to read these three I could have read ten better books. That wasn’t time well spent.