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The Tawny Man #3

Fool's Fate

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The triumphant conclusion to the Tawny Man trilogy, from the author of the bestselling Farseer and Liveship Traders trilogies. The moving end to the tale of the Farseers, in which kingdoms must stand or fall on the beat of a dragon's wings, or a Fool's heart. A small and sadly untried coterie - the old assassin Chade, the serving-boy Thick, Prince Dutiful, and his reluctant Skillmaster, Fitz - sail towards the distant island of Aslevjal. There they must fulfil the Narcheska's challenge to her betrothed: to lay the head of the dragon Icefyre, whom legends tell is buried there deep beneath the ice, upon her hearth. Only with the completion of this quest can the marriage proceed, and the resulting alliance signal an end to war between the two kingdoms. It is not a happy ship: tensions between the folk of the Six Duchies and their traditional enemies, the Outislanders, lie just beneath the surface. Thick is constantly ill, and his random but powerful Skilling has taken on a dark and menacing tone, while Chade's fascination with the Skill is growing to the point of obsession. Having ensured that his beloved friend the Fool is safely left behind in Buckkeep, Fitz is guilt-stricken; but he is determined to keep his fate at bay, since prophecy foretells the Fool's death if he ever sets foot on the isle of the black dragon. But as their ship draws in towards Aslevjal a lone figure awaits them...

914 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2003

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About the author

Robin Hobb

272 books96.3k followers
** I am shocked to find that some people think a 2 star 'I liked it' rating is a bad rating. What? I liked it. I LIKED it! That means I read the whole thing, to the last page, in spite of my life raining comets on me. It's a good book that survives the reading process with me. If a book is so-so, it ends up under the bed somewhere, or maybe under a stinky judo bag in the back of the van. So a 2 star from me means,yes, I liked the book, and I'd loan it to a friend and it went everywhere in my jacket pocket or purse until I finished it. A 3 star means that I've ignored friends to finish it and my sink is full of dirty dishes. A 4 star means I'm probably in trouble with my editor for missing a deadline because I was reading this book. But I want you to know . . . I don't finish books I don't like. There's too many good ones out there waiting to be found.

Robin Hobb is the author of three well-received fantasy trilogies: The Farseer Trilogy (Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin’s Quest), The Liveship Traders Trilogy (Ship of Magic, Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny) and the Tawny Man Trilogy (Fool’s Errand, Golden Fool, and Fool’s Fate) Her current work in progress is entitled Shaman’s Crossing. Robin Hobb lives and works in Tacoma, Washington, and has been a professional writer for over 30 years.

In addition to writing, her interests include gardening, mushrooming, and beachcombing. She and her husband Fred have three grown children and one teenager, and three grand-children.

She also writes as Megan Lindholm, and works under that name have been finalists for the Hugo award, the Nebula Award, and the Endeavor award. She has twice won an Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Readers’ Award.

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Profile Image for Petrik.
654 reviews39.9k followers
March 2, 2018
My review will most likely contradict my rating but seriously, this is not an easy book for me to review. I have several problems with it and yet I can’t help but love this book.

Fool’s Fate is the conclusion to the Tawny Man trilogy and as far as I know, it is by far the most highly praised book among Hobb’s big fans. Honestly speaking, the praises did affect my expectation on this installment a bit. Considering how the majority of the fans—especially booktubers—claimed this is by far Hobb’s best book, I expected more out of it and I was slightly disappointed by how it turned out for me. Don’t get me wrong, my rating should speak for itself already on how much I love this book despite the flaws and slight disappointment. Regardless of the negativities, let it be known first that I love this book, just not as much as I expected to.

“When people look most vicious, what you are seeing is not their animal side. It is the savagery that only humans can muster.”

Fool’s Fate continues immediately from where The Golden Fool left off. Fitz and the gang embarked on a quest to Aslevjal, located in Out Islands in order to kill a dragon. The premise may sound simple but a lot of things happened during this quest. Every character and their own mini factions have their own hidden agendas and motivation in this quest. We as the reader know what each of them is and waiting for the moment when they all will clash was worth it. Fool’s Fate is also the first book where I think Hobb finally nailed writing great action sequences. When you think about the sizes of this book, the action sequences lasted for less than 100 pages but it was thrilling and gripping while it last.

Picture: Fool’s Fate by Dagmara Matuszak

This installment has made The Fool one of the best characters I’ve ever read. His developments, his personality, his love towards Fitz, I really can’t stress this highly enough. The world building was also fantastic in where Hobb interweaved all the lore and plotline from the all the previous eight book with this one. The scale of the story is quite epic, with one large scale battle, a huge cast of characters, mythical creatures, and a LOT of magic usage; it’s seriously a high fantasy. Prose-wise, once again Hobb improved her writing (insane, I know). I really think that when it comes to prose, Hobb is one of the best writers in the genre. Her ways with words are just incredibly immersive and evocative.

“Sometimes it seems unfair that events so old can reach forward through the years, sinking claws into one's life and twisting all that follows it. Yet perhaps that is the ultimate justice: we are the sum of all we have done added to the sum of all that has been done to us. There is no escaping that, not for any of us.”

Now I’m going to mention the parts that didn’t work for me. There are three major points and remember, I still love this book despite these.

First, once again, pacing and repetitiveness. Chapter 6-12 were repetitive and draggy for me. Here’s how it goes, Thick get seasick, they arrived at one destination, Thick tried to recover from seasickness by resting and meanwhile Fitz and the gang do some talking and dreaming (literally). After that, they go on a boat again and Fitz has to drag and force the not-recovered yet Thick. Thick doesn’t want to but end up being dragged anyway. Thick got seasick, angry again, arrive at a destination, Fitz and the gang do some shit and dreaming, goes on a boat dragging the angered Thick again. This goes on for 200 pages (UK paperback edition), it was just unnecessary long, it could’ve been easily done within 100 pages at most, heck even 50 pages. Once Fitz and the gang arrived at Aslevjal in chapter 13, this is when the book’s quality became golden until the end (see what I did there?)

Next, The Skills. I wish there was less focus on this magic system. This isn’t Brandon Sanderson level of magic systems, oh yes it’s intricately written and it has been explained more than a thousand pages throughout the series on how it works but I still can’t get over the concept that this magic is a deus ex machina plot device. No matter how many rules were put, Fitz always somehow able to bypass them all. I love The Skill so much more when it was used only as a magical telepathy: holds conversations from far away and influence other people’s thoughts. Now? It has become an Inception and don’t even get me started on how uber powerful Skill-Healing is. The concept of Skill-Healing can be tweaked easily by Hobb and if she wanted to, this magic system could prolong the series up to an infinite number of books. It IS that powerful. I’m more of a fan of Wit magic system, the repercussions seems to be more evident in comparison to Skill.

Finally, the ending, this is where I’m so damn conflicted. I loved and absolutely disappointed with how it ends. Hobb obviously wrote this book with the fool intention (see what I did there?) of ending Fitz’s storyline here. I mean, the ending itself goes on for more than 100 pages and it concludes everything that started since Farseer trilogy. It’s overall a satisfying one, beautiful, poignant, and everything has been resolved, Hobb even goes out of her way to tell what happened to each supporting characters in this trilogy, which is something I absolutely appreciate.

“Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there any more.”

But do I like it in overall? Yes and no. I can’t tell you much without giving away major spoilers, the most I can give is that the relationship that revolves around this female character is just one of the most disappointing and aggravating relationship I’ve ever read, out of anything. It’s even a bit disgusting in my opinion, I’ll even take reading Lannisters incest relationship over this, at least with the Lannister I know they’re not right in their head since the beginning. Let’s just say that I’m delighted that Hobb decided to continue the series because I don’t think this is the perfect end for Fitz's story.

As I mentioned several times already, I have a lot of problems with this book but I still love this. It’s extremely well-written and I think the majority of Hobb’s fans will easily think of this book as a 10000000/5 stars book. I didn’t expect this to become one of the very few 6/5 stars books on my personal shelves, but I did expect this to deserved a full 5 stars rating. However, I simply can’t. The last time I felt this conflicted about a book was probably for The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Same as that book, despite the flaws I had with it, I loved it regardless. I have a very high criteria for putting an author on my favorite author list, there's no doubt that Robin Hobb is a fantastic author but considering that I’ve read 9 books + 1 novella in her Elderling series and only Fool’s Errand received a full 5 stars rating, I just can’t put her into my favorite list yet. I hope the last two series in her series, Rainwild Chronicles and The Fitz and the Fool can change this situation. I’ll be taking a one or two weeks break before diving back into this world.

Picture: My copies of Tawny Man trilogy

Series review:

Fool's Errand: 5/5 stars
The Golden Fool: 4/5 stars
Fool's Fate: 4/5 stars

Tawny Man trilogy: 13/15 stars

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for oyshik.
182 reviews644 followers
December 8, 2020
Fool's Fate (Realm of Elderlings #9 Tawny Man #3)
This is a wonderful end to The Tawny Man trilogy. It's a great story with lots of interesting twists and turns. I would highly recommend all of Robin Hobb's books. Great read. Begin with the Farseer Trilogy and get the whole story.
Ours was a ragged and uneven parting. Each of us had intended to see the other again.

I am content
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,099 reviews44.1k followers
June 13, 2018
All friendships go through rough patches, and in this Fitz’s relationship with the Fool is pushed almost to breaking point.

Fitz has begun to have doubts which come from even stronger feelings of fear; he fears for the future, a future that may not correspond with the Fool’s crazy ideas.

A dragon lies between them, one Fitz has to slay and one the Fool wishes to save. Friendship becomes the problem and the answer, as Fitz begins to realise that everything that has ever happened to him is because of the Fool’s touch. For the first time in this series I thought their time together may actually come to an end.

The Prophet’s Chosen One


Fitz is the Fool’s oldest, and perhaps only, friend. He is the only person he has ever granted the knowledge of his true name, but he is also his tool: his catalyst. Fitz may doubt his friend, and ignore his kindness and guidance, but he can’t ignore his power. He has shaped Fitz’s future, and he intends to shape the future of the world by resurrecting the remnants of a dying race: the dragons. Fitz can’t realistically stop such an individual; he should stand by his friend always.

Chade is guiding him on the opposite path; he wishes to extinguish the race because, well, they’re dangerous. But so are men. And Fitz is stuck in between the two men who have shaped his life. However, as frequent readers of the series will know, Fitz will always follow his own mind; this normally changes in the heat of the moment, as the assassin has learnt to adapt the most carefully of laid plans as circumstance warrants.

Neither Fitz, the Fool or Chade were fully ready for what awaited them in the dragons lair. And neither was I. Inside Robin Hobb revealed how complex her fantasy world actually is and how much more we are yet to see.

An ending that Fitz deserves?

Fitz doesn’t seem to get any real lasting happiness in his life; he has had more than his share of heartache, and it is only going to get worse as the story progresses, so it was wonderful to see him get a glimpse of something at the end of the story. He has sacrificed everything for the Farseer throne, his blood, his youth and even his life have been shed so it seems only appropriate to see him sheath his daggers and hang up his axe even if it is for a short time.

This had a great ending, one that allows the story to move even further forward in the future as Hobb protagonist enters a new stage of life.
Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
843 reviews1,687 followers
August 30, 2018
Finally I am done crying (thanks to Ms. Kate Daniels) and now I can jot down my thoughts on this fantastic finale of Tawny Man.

As I said in my earlier reviews, Hobb is getting better and better with every story. She once again spun a tale stretching over 900 pages and yet I never felt bored. True, there were moments when I felt few of the events are being mentioned repeatedly but once I got over that hurdle, it was a fantastic story. A story that just put a spell on me and didn't let me go until I turned that last page.

Story picked up right where Golden Fool ended and we see Fitz & Co. making arrangements to embark on the journey to kill the dragon. Making a plan that would leave Fool in Six Duchies to prevent that fate that Fool has foreseen for himself. But fate has other plans for this party and they find themselves amid an enemy that is invincible.

I am in awe of Ms Hobb for how she intertwine different threads to move the story forward. She will keep throwing all the possible fates at the characters, all the while making characters realize that they can't just pick any one as the future of the world depends upon that one decision, so that they can't make a mistake. So they don't have any choice but to trod on the path that will test them the most, and hence the patience of the readers.

I loved how she ended this book and the trilogy. She tied all the loose ends but expense for that in opinion was high as I have to say good bye to few of my favorite characters. I am glad that there's another trilogy waiting for me after this, had this been the end of Realm of Elderlings I would be devastated.

I had high expectation from this book and this gave me everything. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Adrienne.
235 reviews30 followers
September 29, 2012
If you've made it this far, you probably know what you're getting into when you start a Robin Hobb book. I certainly did, and it doesn't change the fact that my soul is now a heap of shreds on the floor. Oh, is that melodramatic? I don't care! I can count on one hand the number of books that have made me cry, and this is one of them -- twice, in fact, and a few times afterward. My poor soul!

That is not to say that this was a perfect book. I thought the beginning started out rather slowly, so at first I had no trouble sticking to my 50ish-page per day limit as a futile attempt to stave off the inevitable post-book blues. But then, once everyone got to Aslevjal, that idea collapsed and there was no way I was putting the book down until I realized it was one in the morning and the words were swimming before my eyes and I'd stubbornly read the same paragraph five times without comprehending any of it BUT OH MAN .

I also thought the ending was too rushed. There was a lot of catchup and reforged connections, and a number of events fell into place without Fitz making active choices. Some of the changes in Fitz's character between the two series are made more clear, but I didn't have enough time to adapt to that revelation. It's therefore hard to reconcile the ending with lines like The only way I can make sense of it is if I decide that Fitz . In any case, I broke down again during the penultimate, pre-epilogue chapter, and cried for .

However, these books also present one of the most complex relationships I've encountered in fiction, with a lot of commentary about relationships, friendship, love, gender, and sex woven in. It would probably take me a few pages to describe it, and there's not really any good solution to the problem. Now I'm flailing around trying to disentangle what the characters think they want, what I think they want, and what they actually want. Basically, I just want everyone to be happy, and I can't figure out how that could ever occur. Damn Burrich and his line about the horse and the two saddles.

Final note: line up all three books of this series on your bookshelf and look at them. Then think about how a certain character changes throughout the series. AWESOME.
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,544 reviews2,931 followers
August 20, 2015
So... I don't know how I am supposed to begin writing up a review for this book because never in my whole life have I been as affected and devastated, happy and excited, lonely and angry as I was throughout the adventures of this book. This is my all-time favourite book. It's exceptional. It's leagues ahead of all others (except for The Mad Ship, also by Hobb, which was recently my favourite book... overtaken by another Hobb book!) for so many reasons, and trying to gather my thoughts and rein them in enough to write a cohesive review that not only convinces everyone to read this, but also shows just how special it is to me... it's going to be hard...

So, with all of that said, this book was great right from page one. As with all of the Farseer, Tawny Man and Fitz and the Fool books the main characters are once more Fitz, the bastard, and the Fool, a friend of his with some peculiar abilities. This book picks up not too long after the ending of book 2 when we're following Fitz, Chade, the Fool, Dutiful, Thick, the Narcheska and many more characters as they're about to embark on a rather grand quest. This quest is taking place because it will allow the young Prince the chance to prove his worth and slay a great beast, bringing the head back to the Outislander people and sealing an alliance between them.

This story IS epic, in all senses of the word. There's big long journeys, there's many different characters, there's magic of various kinds. We get to see creatures in the skies and seas who are mystical and magical. We see journeys through all sorts of terrain and waters (yeah, there's ships - I like ships!). We also get to see a lot more than just a regular epic fantasy because not only does it have all of these elements and more, but it focuses on the characters (it is, after all, by Hobb).

Robin Hobb has a way with words. Maybe even more than a way with words. She has an ability to create not only a world which is magic and a wonderful place to escape to, but she can convince me fully about this world. She is one of the few writers I have read where I can visualise all the scenes laid out before me and SEE what is happening as I read the words. The characters that Hobb creates and the scenes of dialogue between them all is fabulous because they make mistakes, they do stupid things, the apologise, they try again, and against all odds they try and get by in this crazy world. She's a master of making the characters become real people who you feel like you know and feel like you understand. She's got an ability to lay down all the words and from them you can draw out a living and breathing world within your head. You can imagine and see it all before you, and you're privy to all the dirty secrets, crude betrayals and strong tragedies and horrors that she unveils.

This story took me in from page one and it's fabulous to be able to say that I started at book 1 of the Farseers and have followed these characters through 6 books now (some characters even through more if they've overlapped with those in the Liveship books). I think the change in both Hobb's abilities and the characters as they have grown and evolved as people and as elements in the world has been superb to watch.

I have to say that I cannot even think of any way that this book could have been better. Every single one of the many, many storylines, questions and plots that Hobb was juggling she managed to tie off beautifully. I can see why, having read this, so many people (Hobb included) didn't think she'd ever return to this set of characters. That's not to say that this is a Martin book and everyone dies or anything like that, but there are some VERY emotional moments where I was sobbing my heart out (no joke, at least 20 times!) There were also so many moments of joy and happiness, redeeming moments and perfect, thought-provoking speech.

Another thing which I adore about Hobb is that she is not afraid of addressing issues. She's got the ability to slide in ideas about gender-equality, race, deformities, sexuality, standing up for things, differing customs and much more. She manages to integrate all of these 'big issue' topics into her books and make them a seamless part of the story, but she doesn't focus on them. The story itself is more about the characters themselves, who they are, what they do and the decisions that they make, but at the same time each of those character have different 'issues' associated with them or as a part of them and we're constantly exposed to these things without even realising it (whether it was her intention or not I don;t know, but she does it very well!).

This story was perfection. There are so many moments I want to tell you all about and cry over because thinking back on the read-throguh of this book it was truly wonderful. However, I don't want to spoil anything about it, all I want is for you all to go and enjoy the wonder of Hobb's world yourselves. If you've read this book I have no doubt that you know what it is I adore about her, and if you've not yet read it then please do try something by her, whether you're in for the long haul and you start at Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer #1) or if you just want to dip your toe in to her stuff and start with Ship of Magic (Liveships #1). Either way is a perfect start, but I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. I can say with certainty that this is my #1 book I've ever read. 100% highly highly recommended!
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,801 reviews454 followers
September 2, 2021
Satisfying ending to this trilogy!

Hobb is able to connect all the loose ends and make its conclusion a smooth one.

In the Fool's Fate, Fitz is trying to prevent the Fool from getting into the ship leaving for the island of Aslevjal. As per the last book, Elliana has asked Dutiful to bring him the head of IceFyre in order to seal their alliance. The Fool has confided in Fitz, the Fool knows he needs to save the dragon but traveling to the island means his death and Fitz will do anything to prevent his friend from dying.

During the voyage, things are not easy. Thick is seasick and with his Skill, he is making everyone feel miserable on the boat. Tempers are running high and Dutiful puts Fitz to the task of helping Thick who in turn asks Nettle for help. Yet, their dreams are invaded by Tintaglia who wants to learn more about IceFyre.

Before leaving for the frozen island where Icefyre is supposed to be, they learn of a legend involving the Black Man. Once on the island, someone is already waiting for them. Can you guess who?

The Skill and Witt coteries are in disagreement. One wants to slay the dragon, the other one wants to save it.

So many secrets are finally revealed including the Pale Woman, the Black Man, the dragons, the Skill, the Witt, Fitz, The Fool, the memory stones. I love the explanation we are given about why the Fool and the Black Man were able to change colors while the Pale woman was not.

The Fool and FitzChivalry's friendship and bond are unlike anything else. I love these characters together. I was also happy to see so many other characters reappearing and completing their circle. Yes, they were also some very sad moments that hurt me just as well.

I'm not sure knowing there are 3 more books involving the Fool and Fitz (after the Rainwild 4 books) is a good thing. I think I liked how this ended and I'm not sure I want to know what happens next. What am I saying? Of course, I need to know.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

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Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews583 followers
September 5, 2020
We are the sum of all we have done added to the sum of all that has been done to us.

Fool's Fate is a great conclusion to The Tawny Man Trilogy, after the disappointment that was Assassin's Quest I was scared this will be another even though Liveship Traders was amazing. This is one of those instances that I'm glad I was proven wrong.

This book started just where Golden Fool ended, the journey that they spent a whole book preparing for has finally arrived. It was quite slow at the beginning but picked up 20% in. There was friendship, love, loyalty, amazing plots and wonderful characters. There are also dragons in this, how cool is that, not to mention the revelations 🤯

All of life, is in our minds. Where else does it take place, where else do we add up what it means to us and subtract what we have lost? An event is just an event until some person attaches meaning to it.

The world building and writing is one of Hobb's strong point and she didn't disappoint, I thought the previous book was good, this is way better. 80% of the book took place on an ice filled island and this was well depicted. Just like it's predecessors, this is written solely in first person perspective of Fitz.

The skill and the wit the magic system of this series was finally explained here, they found lots of skill scroll that told them how to better use the magic, so now it's not only telepathy but healing and teleporting. I feel like the author is just adding that now, I still prefer the wit to skill, I wish Fitz used the both not just one at a time.

My favourite character still remain FitzChivalry Farseer, his character growth is tremendous. I remember how he was in Assassin's Quest and this grown up him. Not only is he no more whinny and pitiful he now stands up for himself, he's still loyal to the Farseers but there is a line now. I hope that doesn't change.

The Fool is also here, his friendship with Fitz is one of the highlights of this book for me. He loves Fitz more than everyone. I know more about him than I did before but not enough.

Dutiful is growing up to be a good king, he's so different from the other Farseers like Chade who is manipulative and old school.

Nettle and Elliania also played prominent roles in this. Thick is the character that surprised me the most. Despite being a simpleton he is smart.

Patience was just at the ending but her parts was wonderful as usual.

‘Much too soft. I’ll never be able to sleep on this. Do they think I’m a hen, setting in a nest?’ Then, as she lay back and I helped her lift her feet onto the bed she said, ‘You’ve quite ruined my surprise, you know. Here, I was all set to summon a grandchild to me and reveal to her that she was well born of noble blood, and pass on to her keepsakes of her father’s. Oh, help me take my shoes off. When did my feet get so far away from my hands?’

Burrrich and Molly with their brood of children were also here.

The plot follows Dutiful, Fitz, Chade and the rest of them to the Outislands to kill the dragon buried in ice. As usual things didn't go according to plans, not only was the dragon buried hundreds of feet in the ice that also have oppositions.

Spoilers Ahead
Molly Chandler, here's a character that I never got around to liking, I didn't like her in Farseer Trilogy and nothing have changed.

Like she married Burrich who is Fitz's adopted father few months after giving birth to Fitz's child, yes I know she thought he was dead but still couldn't she pick someone else? She did the same thing again when Burrich died she moved on with Fitz, does that mean she never loved Burrich or loved them both.

Burrrich is as guilty as her, he never gave any of them a choice. When Fitz was in a bad place after almost dying in Assassin's Quest, he needed a lifeline, Burrich should have told him then that Molly was pregnant with his child but he never did and vice versa he never told Molly that Fitz survived the dungeons so to her he died then, he is even more guilty than Molly. Hr had the guts to say he was the better man for her, no one is denying that if only he gave any of them a choice.
Profile Image for Kaora.
549 reviews279 followers
January 6, 2016
This series was all set to be my Robin Hobb all time favorite surpassing even Liveship Traders.

The writing is absolutely superb and the world Hobb has created continues to wow me in its complexity. It is a world I wouldn't mind spending forever in. And she has frequently brought me to tears with the beautiful moments she captures between her amazing characters.

All that night, I cradled him in my arms, as closely as if he were my child or my lover. As closely as if he were my self, wounded and alone. I held him while he wept, and I held him after his weeping was done. I let him take whatever comfort he could in the warmth and strength of my body. I have never felt less of a man that I did so.

If you had asked me at about 80% through I would have said there weren't enough stars on this site for this book.

But the ending ruined it for me.

Unfortunately the why is a bit of a spoiler, so read under the tag at your own risk.

Profile Image for Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun).
314 reviews1,955 followers
June 3, 2018
The emotional intelligence of this trilogy is staggering. My heart feels swollen looking back on the trajectories of these characters, and Hobb subtly weaves in so many broader ethical questions about the decisions that individual people make, and that humanity makes as a whole. She also plays with the advantages and limits of first-person narration in a way that’s so much fun for anyone who enjoys thinking about how stories are constructed. If you need more convincing I’ll be doing a spoiler-free video overview soon on three of Hobb’s trilogies, but for now I’ll say that Fitz’s story is phenomenal and I’ve loved every hour I’ve spent in his world.
7 reviews
March 18, 2008
For me, the love of a book comes from the sum of it's parts. Had it not been for the ending in this final chapter of the Farseer world...I would have given Fool's Fate five stars. However, I was sorely disappointed (possibly depressed) with how the story closed between Fitz and Beloved.

R. Hobb has an extraordinary gift for emotionally engaging readers into this beautiful, complicated world she has envisioned. This, perhaps...is why I find the ending so unforgivable. Had she not made the relationship between Fitz and the Fool so powerful and moving - I might have been less horrified to see him cast aside so frivolously. The final chapters with Molly felt empty and dull in comparison. Her character seemed petty.

Ironically, this has still been one of my favorite fantasy adventures....though I sincerely hope she changes her mind about not continuing the story. I would normally cringe at a series that lasts beyond 3-4 books...but this would be the rare exception. Too much was left incomplete.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lema.
191 reviews82 followers
March 21, 2018
"In that last dance of chances
When I know you'll not be mine
I will let you go with longing
And the hope that you'll be fine"

Started out great! actually started out not-so-great with sailing on ships and Thick getting seasick for like 400 pages, but I was still living for it because it's Robin Hobb and I'm a dedicated fan and it's Fitz and it's the Fool and it's going to chatter my brain completely and it did and my feels were all over the place... aaaaaand suddenly the train took a sudden swivel into NOPEville.

One week since I finished this and I'm still not over it

Well my style is to never write any spoilers (hidden or otherwise) in my review, and thank God for that otherwise I would be ranting for pages and pages. Let's get it out of the way why I'm so bitter about this effing book. Because its ending made me freaking uneasy and I felt it was completely wrong and completely untrue to the series' temperament. Not to mention that I hate it, HATE IT, when authors use death as a way out of having to solve problems like an adult, and the way everything else was handled in the aftermath was just a trainwreck and made me not like some of my babies as I used to.
What else grated on my nerves? The Skill and the Wit aka Dumb and Dumber (ok I'll tone down the salt, they are decent, just NOT IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE BOOK), when they are used in a pish-posh way that would just to serve the plot I call bullshit, some events (well mainly one event in particular) could have been handled in a totally different if the old rules or at least the way they've been handled in the past were to be used, but OH NO, that would not serve the stupid plot so let's change it! *sigh*


Ok I'm done with the rant, moving on to the positives... I haven't had such an emotional feelstrip (from a non-Hobb book) since I read The Nightingale one year ago... I swear there was this chapter near the end where I was despairingly sobbing my heart out one page and then I was smiling like crazy and joyously sobbing my heart out the next, TRUE STORY.
The interaction between Fitz and the Fool was always a delight to read, ALWAYS *full force shipping*.
Not to mention that no one can beat Robin Hobb when it comes to prose, the lady is boss and no one can change my mind -not even the drunken verbal diarrhea I had in the first half of this review-, I probably highlighted half the book.

"All of life, I wanted to tell him, is in our minds. Where else does it take place, where else do we add up what it means to us and subtract what we have lost? An event is just an event until some person attaches meaning to it."

Here is an example of the emotional disorder that Hobb infected me with... I would be reading peacefully and something humorous would pop it and make me laugh and think that life is all rosey...
"Dragons at a distance are amazing and noble creatures of legend. My closer experience of them makes me suspect they'd burp nobly after consuming me."
And then a sentence that is so meaningfully poignant (maybe not to all but it was to me as someone who had left their war-ravaged country) would come up that would resonate me with so hard, I probably was tearing up here at some point.
"Fitz, home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there anymore"

OK this is getting overly long, I'll wrap it up by saying, this wasn't the god-sent book that everyone on Booktube made it out to be, it definitely is not my favorite in the series, but the series is definitely still up there with my absolute favorites of all time.
Profile Image for Franco  Santos.
485 reviews1,326 followers
November 17, 2022
«Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there any more.»
Puedo decir con total seguridad que este libro es el mejor de Robin Hobb que he leído. Pocas veces una novela supera mis expectativas cuando sé que esta va a ser excelente, sin embargo, desafiando las probabilidades, Fool's fate me demostró que siempre se puede dar un poco más.

Aquí no terminan las aventuras de Fitz, todavía queda una serie más. Pero por ahora voy a saborear la vida que me fue devuelta con este cierre de The Tawny Man.
Profile Image for Tami.
Author 10 books2,578 followers
August 16, 2021
So viel Liebe!!🤧🤧❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Profile Image for Evie Byrne.
Author 5 books52 followers
February 6, 2012
I was very happy with this series (though I wouldn't recommend anyone read it without reading the Farseer trilogy first). I must have been happy because I read all three books within a week at the cost of many hours of sleep.

However, can I just say to those of you who have read these books that I couldn't really buy the Molly thing? Is anyone with me on this? I understand she represents home and hearth for him (or cave and cubs!) and perhaps his lost youth. But she just wasn't a compelling character for me. More like a port in which to dock a ship.
Profile Image for Helene Jeppesen.
685 reviews3,632 followers
March 26, 2017
Things picked up a lot from the second book in this trilogy, and this conclusion to the Tawny Man series became highly entertaining and compelling. I loved how things developed for Fitz and obviously, I loved the conclusion as well. Right now, I'm actually tempted to continue reading about him in Hobb's 5th series that takes place in this world, but for now I will just enjoy what I've already read of him because it was really good :)
Profile Image for Phee.
549 reviews58 followers
July 11, 2017
This one was so difficult for me. It was so emotional and so wonderful, yet at the same time devastated me beyond belief.
I'm so happy with how this ended and a small part of me wants to leave it there. Fitz is happy. He is in his children's life, he has Molly again and a life he is happy to live. The Fool is no longer a part of his life for he has gone on his own path.
I shall continue with the series however. The Rain Wild Chronicles awaits me next and then The Fitz and The Fool trilogy. The title of the latter makes me hopeful I will see my Beloved's meet again.
I doubt fate really has had enough with the Catalyst.

This trilogy is my favourite so far. If I had to rate them in order it would go:
1) Tawny Man
2) Farseer
3) Liveship Traders

Not that I don't like the Liveship trilogy. I love it but it's my least favourite of the three I've read.

So much character development in this story. I've loved every minute of seeing Fitz grow into the man he is. He grew the most in this trilogy in so many ways. He has always been loyal to the Farseer's, but in this trilogy I think he realised that he is a Farseer too. He can be loyal to himself and seek the life that he wants and deserves. He is the Changer, the Catalyst. He realises now what the Fool has told him since they were both boys.
He has become the man Burrich and Verity wanted him to be. A good father to all his children biological or not. He is ever faithful to those he loves, his pack.
I am still mourning Nighteyes. I don't think I'll ever get over that.

The Fool. My God he broke me. The character of The Fool takes Sacrifice to whole new level. He sacrificed everything in this trilogy. His life, his love, his best friend, and his death. He suffered so damn much. It physically hurts my heart to think of what he endured. He has gone through Fitz's multiple deaths, bringing him back to life to use him as Catalyst. Something that I'm sure he hated himself for. I think In the end he just wanted peace for Fitz, even in death.
Fitz and the Fool's argument in the second book of the trilogy cost him dearly. A love so pure tarnished by ugly words said in anger.
He prophesied his own death and went to it knowingly. He knew he would be tortured and torn apart but he knew he had to die for the future he had seen for Fitz to come true. He died a horrible, painful death for his Beloved to get a chance of the life he should of had anyway. For this he truly was braver than he let on.
He also had to come alive again. Once Fitz brings him back to life he is living past his time line. He no longer sees the path before him and can no longer set his catalyst on the needed path. So, not only does he need to live with the memories of his torture but he has to leave his best friend. For he knows that if he stays with him, he would alter the future of happiness that he foresaw for Fitz. A future in which The Fool is not alive nor part of. Man, even though it will never happen I will always ship Fitz and the Fool. Always!

This series keeps getting better. I'm worried that I won't enjoy the Rain Wild books and I hope to make my way through them quickly as they are considerably shorter. But then I'll be on the last trilogy and that makes me very sad indeed. A least I can look forward to dragons.

I have many thoughts. I don't think I'll ever get them all down.
I will say that I'm not a crier when it comes to books. I'm not an emotional person by any means. I've never full on sobbed with tears at any book but man. So many times this series has had tears welling in my eyes, maybe one rolled down my cheek every now and then. Perhaps I'm overly attached to these characters now, it shows that Hobb's writing is phenomenal when it can make this cold heart, warm.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Fuchsia  Groan.
162 reviews197 followers
April 30, 2021
Me resulta complicado, por no decir imposible, expresar lo que Hobb me hace sentir a través de Traspié y el Bufón, Burrich, Molly, Kettricken... los acompañé durante mucho tiempo en los años en que leí (y releí) El Vatídico. Cuando terminé esa primera trilogía, pensé que era el final, no sabía que Las Leyes del Mar continuaba con la historia de los Vetulus, ni que existía esta tercera trilogía (y las que le siguen) donde reecontrarme con los personajes de la primera.

Poco puedo decir de estos libros que no se haya dicho ya, magníficamente escritos, la Historia que hay detrás, el resurgir de los dragones, sus conexiones con la Habilidad, con la Maña... me apasiona. Pero lo que más me gusta sin duda de Hobb son sus personajes. Quizás por la época en la que los conocí, pocos libros me han hecho sentir sus vidas y sufrir con ellos como estos, ¿será Hobb una habilidosa mañosa?

Por otra parte, esta trilogía vuelve a estar narrada, al igual que El Vatídico, por Traspié, pero es tanto continuación de esa primera como de Las Leyes del Mar. Al fin conocemos cuál era la magia detrás de la forja, quiénes son realmente los habitantes de la Isla de los Otros, tenemos noticias de Althea, de Selden Vestrit, conoceremos el destino del Bufón...

Os empeñáis en adaptar el mundo a vuestro antojo. Segmentáis la tierra y trazáis líneas a su través, atribuyéndoos su propiedad por el mero hecho de que sabéis dibujarla. (...) Y así, cegados por la vanidad y la sed de sangre, libráis guerras y os matáis entre vosotros por las rayas que habéis imaginado sobre la faz del mundo.

Cuando la gente muestra su faceta más cruel, no es su lado animal lo que ves, sino la rabia que solo los seres humanos somos capaces de sentir. Cuando me muestro leal a mi familia, entonces asoma el lobo.
Profile Image for Arthur.
140 reviews5 followers
September 5, 2009
Overall impression is one big disappointment.
The whole trilogy left a feeling of the bloated fourth volume of The Farseer Trilogy where all loose ends are being tied up. Although, it is done very ungratefully.


Fitz & Molly reunion plus 7 kids bonus is very artificial and out of context. 16 Years is not 16 months. They would be totally different people regardless of what happened within this period. Let alone vast life experience that affected both of them.
Fool...my personal disappointment here. I hoped that Fitz is going to realise that Fool is a woman and They Live Happily Ever After with a sense of wonder about each other and respect and exciting life...
On top of this the usual numerous repetitions of what happened only a hundred pages before.

The Tawny Man trilogy is a let down.
Hobb was at the top 5 of my favourite writers since 2002, it is very sad to lose her now.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jake Bishop.
272 reviews291 followers
July 13, 2021
The Beautiful, and heart wrenching finale to Tawny Man trilogy is another masterpiece from Robin Hobb
Updating to say that 9.6/10 was too harsh, and that is basically the rating of a hater, so bumping it up to

It just got better with age, and time to sit on it
Profile Image for Mara.
1,463 reviews3,553 followers
July 20, 2022
My feelings are so hard to quantify on this one! There are parts of this book that are SO lovely, SO emotional, and SO insightful into the human condition. But there are also parts that I really did not like, particularly the ending for Fitz. If this was the last I was going to see of these characters, I think I would be disappointed. But still, considering how often I cried in this, I clearly connected with this one pretty deeply, so 4 stars feels right
Profile Image for J.J..
56 reviews
October 20, 2018
I'm loving Robin Hobb's stories. Her writing is excellent. I think I might try to finish all her books by this years end. I recommend Robin Hobb to everyone.
Profile Image for Stefan Bah.
158 reviews224 followers
November 21, 2017
How could I give you anything less than what you deserve?
And if it’s something you already deserve – is it really mine to give? :D
This was a perfect ending.

“Ah, Beloved. Of all the things I must bid farewell to, you are the most difficult to lose.
Forgive me that I have avoided you. Better, perhaps, that we make a space between us and become accustomed to it before fate forces that upon us.”

Profile Image for Penny.
172 reviews345 followers
August 29, 2017
While the book does drag along at times, it was such fun to go to the OutIslands. I have a soft spot for matriarchal cultures so found that particularly fun and interesting. The pacing wasn't always exactly to my liking, but the story was compelling enough to get me through those bits that felt a bit long.

I've come to so love these characters and the end had my teary eyed more than once. Looking forward to the last trilogy in the series next!
Profile Image for Niks.
45 reviews26 followers
July 26, 2013
Bitter sweetness or sweet bitterness...Epic.
I was absolutely crazy when I finished the final, 6th book about The Fool and the Assasin, I couldn`t read, couldn`t sleep, concentrate or communicate with people - I got lost in the thoughts and emotions after absorbing this Story. The funny thing is that currently I spend my summer vacations out of town and without any internet. But after I finished the last pages and the understanding that THIS is the end, no more Fool and Fitz relationship for you dear, it all...got on me. And I went to town to buy 3G modem and forgot about the promise given to myself - no computer on vacations!))) I sooo want to share what I felt with fellow-readers)

I think I am very lucky to read the Farseer and the Tawny man trilogies as a whole, at once, when all the books were already completed, because if I got a taste of the Fool`s inner world, which he reviels piece by piece during the narration, and collected all the quotes about his attitude towards Fitz and his feelings like precious gems, and had to wait for the final book to come out and THEN got such an ending ... I would probably...I dont even want to think about it!))) Also, I got spoilers and knew that a lot of readers consider the ending not happy at all but a mockery to Fitz and a sacrifise from the Fool. Anf here I join this crowd))))))))

For me reading both sagas was PURE BLISS.
I wont elaborate about the complex web of intrigues and beautiful language of Robin Hobb, because lots of critics made high praise and all long before me. I want to talk about the pain which is so GREAT right now, as if I myself have lost a dear friend.

I heard a lot of discussions (some of them are pretty hot))))) where fans of the Fool argue about his gender. LOL, people, that is SO not important!! Fool is unique. I don`t have a slightest doubt about his gender, for there are too many hints, I would say - it`s plain as daylight because the answer is right there in the text! Fitz knew him through by Scill, he knew him by Wit, he was inside of his body and he, about whom the Fool had said - "you know me the best", never questioned his identity. For Fitz it was NEVER a question. Fool was his friend.

But what our dear author makes of their frienship by the end?

Fitz, who was partially "forged" even then realizes that he can`t live without HIS Fool. They become something way closer relatives, lovers or friends usually are - they really ARE the halves of a whole. No woman ever could give that to Fitz.

And I like Molly, I really do))))) She is strong and self sufficient character, a woman knows how to earn respect!))) And she was Fitz`s true and first love, but the key world here - WAS.

She is PAST.
A wife of another, not a woman in love anymore, no-no!! MOTHER in the first place. Mother of another`s babies.
Nothing here belongs to Fitz anymore! I dont get how he doesnt see this((( The Fool brought him back as people say "the missing pieces of his soul", but that were the late memories of the past.
That girl existed NO more.
The woman in NOW is a different person Fitz knows NOTHING about. And lets be honest - Fitz never was her priority - babies, candle-shop and the strong household were.

And the Fool? The only one who could UNDERSTAND Fitz, who loved him crazily? Note that he compared himself with Nighteyes - but the Wolf never competed with the female, he knew Fitz needs "a mate and cubs" and was OK with it, wheras the Fool says - I have to go because IF I stay you will HAVE to CHOOSE between me and Molly, I wont make this happen, I will sacrifise my love for your happiness.

And Fitz? What does he say? Is he happy with another`s wife who doesn`t know ape`s shit about him, except he was a cute boy who f***ed her well once...
Is he?
He says... I am content.

But Fitz was always a bit slow when it came to feelings, so he can decieve himself all he wants, telling it was FAAAATE, and it left no choice for them and now it`s too late...

but the truth is simple - he COULD HAVE the brightest gem, the highest of love if he only reached his hand towards what have been offered to him...but... he f**ed it up.

And the Fool?
He came back with the final poem, revieling his feelings with "ILOVEYOU but I WILL SACRIFICE MY LOVE for your happiness and walk away"
BUT his
last dance of CHANCES smashed me to little ashes!
it made me remember the scene where he finds out the flowers he received every morning were not from Fitz. But he kept hoping!!!!!

I was never wise...

Silly, silly Fitz. It`s not "a riddle" - it`s a plain answer to your question "Who I am to you?"

Because the Fool was the only one who saw and accepted Fitz for what he was and around him Fitz could let himself the most precious thing - BE HIMSELF.

Not play a role.
How can a person loose THIS feeling and say " I am content"?...
How can he be honest, when the other part of his soul walked away?...

I understand why the author ended the books like THIS:
it was logical.
For the Fool Fitz is the Alfa and the Omega, the whole Universe. So he sacrifices his feelings to give him "a life he always dreamed about".

Fitz is a man of duty . So thanks to (easy here, no bad words about the dead, remember?) yes! thanks to Burrich he ends up with another responsibility. (when he was READY to leave with The Fool!!!)

But do you believe that THIS is THE END of their Story?
I will never be convinced that the Fool and Fitz can be happy apart.
It feels like a betrayal.
They shall exist - that`s true.
But TO LIVE one has to have a heart and a soul - and Fitz`s have walked away from him. What else is there to say except "I am content?"...

And it HURTS!... Hurts so much...
Didn`t they...after all they`ve been through deserve each other?
A bitter sweet book, YES!

I hope - and hope is this strange thing - when even the author herself tells you that it`s impossible...
you keep dreaming that we shall hear from them someday!

"Fitz, I cannot. I was not made for this, this slaughter! This taking of life is not why I came. I have never seen this, not in any dream, nor read of it in any scroll. I fear I may lead time awry."

"No. This is right. I feel it. I am the Catalyst, and I came to change all things. Prophets become warriors, dragons hunt as wolves." I hardly knew my own voice as I spoke. I had no idea where such words came from. I met the Fool's unbelieving eyes. "It is as it must be. Go."
"He embraced me almost convulsively, and shocked me when he kissed my mouth. He spun and ran toward Girl-on-a-Dragon".

."I hope he wears an earring of silver and blue. The fingerprints he left on my wrist have faded to a dusky gray.
I think I will always miss him."

P.C. With LOVE, to Robin Hobb.
You are amazing!!!!!!!
Profile Image for Bridgit.
412 reviews30 followers
January 20, 2023
Officially favorite book of all time. Date stamped - Jan 2023
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