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The Tawny Man #2

Golden Fool

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The acclaimed Farseer and Liveship Traders trilogies established Robin Hobb as one of the most splendidly imaginative practitioners of world-class fantasy.

Now, in Book 2 of her most stunning trilogy yet, Hobb continues the soul-shattering tale of FitzChivalry Farseer. With rich characters, breathtaking magic, and sweeping action, Golden Fool brings the reluctant adventurer further into the fray in an epic of sacrifice, salvation, and untold treachery.

Golden Fool

Prince Dutiful has been rescued from his Piebald kidnappers and the court has resumed its normal rhythms. But for FitzChivalry Farseer, a return to isolation is impossible. Though gutted by the loss of his wolf bondmate, Nighteyes, Fitz must take up residence at Buckkeep and resume his tasks as Chade’s apprentice assassin. Posing as Tom Badgerlock, bodyguard to Lord Golden, FitzChivalry becomes the eyes and ears behind the walls. And with his old mentor failing visibly, Fitz is forced to take on more burdens as he attempts to guide a kingdom straying closer to civil strife each day.

The problems are legion. Prince Dutiful’s betrothal to the Narcheska Elliania of the Out Islands is fraught with tension, and the Narcheska herself appears to be hiding an array of secrets. Then, amid Piebald threats and the increasing persecution of the Witted, FitzChivalry must ensure that no one betrays the Prince’s secret—a secret that could topple the Farseer throne: that he, like Fitz, possesses the dread “beast magic.”

Meanwhile, FitzChivalry must impart to the Prince his limited knowledge of the Skill: the hereditary and addictive magic of the Farseers. In the process, they discover within Buckkeep one who has a wild and powerful talent for it, and whose enmity for Fitz may have disastrous consequences for all.

Only Fitz’s enduring friendship with the Fool brings him any solace. But even that is shattered when unexpected visitors from Bingtown reveal devastating secrets from the Fool’s past. Now, bereft of support and adrift in intrigue, Fitz’s biggest challenge may be simply to survive the inescapable and violent path that fate has laid out for him.

From the Hardcover edition.

709 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published October 21, 2002

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About the author

Robin Hobb

282 books96.8k 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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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,903 reviews
Profile Image for Regan.
366 reviews108k followers
July 18, 2021
for a book with arguably not a lot of plot, I could not stop reading it lol
Profile Image for oyshik.
207 reviews656 followers
February 6, 2021
The Golden Fool (Realm of Elderlings #8, Tawny Man #2)
Definitely start with the Farseer Trilogy series, and the Liveship Traders before reading the Tawny Man series because somehow Hobb manages to weave this ever-growing world together gorgeously, making it appear natural and effortless. You will have a much richer appreciation of what is going on if you read everything in the written order.
It's all connected. When you save any part of the world, you've saved the whole world. In fact, that's the only way it can be done.

Fascinating writing.
Profile Image for Petrik.
663 reviews41k followers
February 26, 2018
This was almost another 5 stars read, this was almost as good as Fool’s Errand, but it wasn’t due to the second book syndrome that is quite evident here.

The Golden Fool is almost completely a preparation and transition book for the big conclusion in the next installment. It’s all about laying foundations and moving the characters to have the right convictions and motivation to save the world. Though, knowing Fitz, he’ll probably brood about it still. Because of this plot direction, there’s close to nothing going on in the book plot-wise even though it’s more than 600 pages long. Overall, I don’t mind this. As far as a transitional book goes, The Golden Fool is still great.

The problems that I had with the book were actually on the first 200 pages. I struggled heavily with this part. It was boring at parts and it seemed completely directionless. Plus, the last three chapters were quite anti-climatic, and Starling seriously need to be cut off from this series already. These are really the only parts I disliked about this book.

The book picked up its pace for me once the story entered chapter 11, where a few characters from Liveship Traders trilogy appeared for a while. Starting from chapter 11, the book became wonderful to me up until the end. I was overjoyed by this crossover, it goes to show that Hobb has really created a fantastic cast of characters within all her books. Whether it’s the characters from Farseer, Liveship or Tawny Man trilogy, all of them are extremely well-written. Although it took like 200 pages to get to, it was truly worth it.

Not only these crossovers were incredible because of the characters, it also shows just how great Hobb is at world-building her the entirety of her series. The world-building keeps on improving, filled with rich lore about the Skill and the Wit, also more revelations about the dragons, the Elderlings, and every information the readers accumulated from both Farseer and Liveship do play a part here. Hobb seamlessly connects the events in Liveship Traders into Fitz’s storyline, which make Liveship a mandatory read in order to get more satisfaction out of this book and trilogy.

“We are the sum of all we have done added to the sum of all that has been done to us.”

There aren’t a lot of things left to say on this review about this book. The story continued immediately from where it left off in Fool’s Errand and the entire setting of the book took place in Buckkeep. The majority of the book was spent on Buckkeep politics, the mastery of skills, and Fitz’s interactions with all the other characters. Some of my absolute favorite parts from this book was the forming of the coterie, every characters' development, some revelations on The Fool’s past, and the complexity of Fitz relationship with him.

"Love is more than bedding, boy. If love doesn't come first and linger after, if love can't wait and endure disappointment and separation, then it's not love. Love doesn't require bedding to make it true. It doesn't even demand day to day contact. I know this because I have known love."

Overall, The Golden Fool is a transitional book and despite having some issues with it, I still love this. Tawny Man has been really solid so far and I hope Hobb can deliver the satisfying conclusion that this trilogy needs in Fool’s Fate, the book that the majority of Hobb’s fans are claiming to be her best work.

Picture: The Golden Fool by Yasushi Suzuki

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,108 reviews44.2k followers
March 4, 2018
Fitz is in a bad way, and it’s not surprising considering what happened at the end of the last novel. We all knew it was coming eventually, but I honestly didn’t expect it so soon. I guess age finally catches up with us all. But for Fitz, he has lost half his soul; he will never be quite the same again.

Is this an excuse to finally return?

What his loss has granted him is loneliness. And this forces him back into an old life. He picks up the old tools of the trade, his axe and his poisons: he returns to Buckeep castle once more, the place he grew up in. He takes solace in the companionship of old friends, but that’s not why he returned, he returned because he needed distraction: he needed an excuse to move on with his life. And the mysterious politics of the Farseer reign is the perfect thing to immerse himself in once more.


As ever, the Six Duchies are plagued with strife and tension. This time the cause is a tenuous marriage contract, one that will only be fulfilled if King Dutiful brings back his betrothed the head of a dragon. Yes, a dragon’s head. This is not an easy task. Dragons are powerful creatures, but they’re also vertically extinct, so, needless to say, more problems arise. Fitz’s oldest friend, the Fool, wishes to revive the dragons not slay them. Fitz is stuck in the middle. His duty to his King demands he helps in the perilous quest, and his loyalty to his friend demands he helps to preserve dragonkind. He has some rather tricky decisions to make.

Slow, slow, character development

Like all of Robin Hobb books this is incredibly drawn out, wonderfully so. Hundreds of pages fly by, in which little progress is made, but in this resides the beauty of Robin Hobb’s style. She doesn’t rush. She takes her time. She allows the tension to build up until it eventually erupts in a most dramatic manner. The slowness of her books to many is a flaw but to me it’s wonderful. If a writer can pull you along in a story, in which the characters spend large amounts of time lamenting over the past, and yet you don’t get bored with the words, you know she is doing something right. I could read about Fitz and the Fool all day.

Fitz has grown very gradually over this series, and he still has, no doubt, much further to go. I think the loss he has sustained has made him much stronger. He has come to rely on his other form of magic, and even has gained his own group of telepathically linked individuals. The student has become the master. I loved his relationship with Thick, the mentally deficient, yet extremely powerful, skill user. The Fitz in the first series wouldn’t have had the wisdom to deal with him in such a kindly efficient manner.

A great book!
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,807 reviews455 followers
September 2, 2021
Golden Fool is full of intrigue and secrets. Some of them revealed, some of them waiting to come out in the next book, I hope.

The Prince is now in Buckkeep and Fitz and the Fool are playing their parts. The Fool is Lord Golden and Fitz is known as Lord Golden's bodyguard, Tom Badgerlock.

Many things are happening simultaneously:

The Piebalds are still trying to hurt the Prince and unmasked him as someone who is Witted.

The betrothal ceremony of Dutiful and the Narcheska Elliania of the Out Islands is underway but Dutiful is not happy with linking his life with someone who is mostly a child. Worse, Elliana is hiding something too and she, like Dutiful, is not happy with the betrothal.

Elliana asking Dutiful to bring him the head of a dragon in order to seal their alliance and bringing an end to the war between their kingdoms.

A Bingtown delegation has arrived to talk to Kettricken, the Queen about uniting forces against a common enemy, and Selden Vestrid is there to ask for help with Tintaglia and the dragons.

Amber's friend, Jek has come with the LiveShip's delegation to meet with Lord Golden.

FitzChivalry has to teach Dutiful about the Skill and they find out that others might have it too. After all, Dutiful must have a coterie.

The Queen wants to meet with Old Blood representatives to discuss a way to move forward. This is where Web's character is introduced to us.

Burrick's son, Swift has arrived in court.

Fitz meeting Thick, a simpleton who is a powerful Skill-User.

Fitz dealing with his adopted son, Hap living in Buckkeep town and the mistakes he might be making.

Fitz Skill-dreaming with Nettle.

The Fool knows that he as a White Prophet and Fitz as the catalyst, will have to fight against the Pale Woman's plans.

Golden Fool was another wonderful addition to this world. Characters are fully developed. The lore of the Witt and the Skill continues. We learn more facets of each magic and once again Fitz is the Changer of many things to come.

The strings are all set for a wonderful conclusion of this trilogy. Hobb has every piece in motion to converge masterfully in The Fools' Fate.

Cliffhanger: No

4.5/5 Fangs

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews593 followers
July 20, 2020
One man armed with the right word may do what an army of swordsmen cannot.

Golden Fool is the second book in the Tawny Man Trilogy, this book didn't exactly suffer from middle book syndrome, it's more like the author used this book as a preparation for the third book, Golden Fool just set things in place for what would happen in the final book.

Just how a preparation for a journey is as important as the journey itself, that's what this book is to the series. There are lots of factors in this book that I love, some of which are friendship, great characters, awesome writing, unique plot, and a visit from another series( some characters from Bingtown were in this, they gave an in-depth update on what is happening with everyone.

The writing style is the best thing about this author's work, the writing somehow swoops you into the book, I feel like I'm one of the characters instead of an outside observer. There are very few authors who writes as good as she does. This book is written solely from Fitz's perspective. The world building is as good as the writing.

Golden Fool started from where Fool's Errand ended, Fitz is back to Buckeep posing as Lord Golden's servant. While in the background he is teaching Dutiful the skill and working as a spy for Chade. The betrothal with Elliana was going well or so they thought till she demanded he kill a dragon frozen in ice for centuries as a sign of his prowess. The Piebald are back, the negotiations with the Old Blood are still ongoing, lots of other little things also took place in this.

To recognize you are the source of your own loneliness is not a cure for it. But it is a step towards seeing that it is not inevitable, and that such a choice is not irrevocable.

The above quote is from Fitz, I love that he is finally realizing that he is to blame for some of his problems. I'm really loving grown-up him not that I didn't like him in Farseer but he is much more matured here. I love how he's handling his relationship with Dutiful, it's quite admirable. He is still as loyal as before but every now and then he stands up for himself which is progress.

Lord Golden wasn't in this as much as I wanted, he was barely in the second half of the book. He is still as mysterious as ever, I think that is due to the fact that Fitz the narrator only knows what Golden shows. There were times when he shows almost no glimpse of The Fool, how does he do it and what is his gender. One thing is for sure, he loves Fitz, I just hope that it's enough.

Dutiful just keeps surprising me, how can he a prince be this kind and humble. Whenever I read about him, it makes me so proud of Kettricken. Dutiful is taking his lessons so well, he's still somewhat obsessed with Fitz, he all but hangs on his every word. Despite his respect for Fitz he is still his own person. He does things that even Fitz won't approve of that he thinks is good. He is ready to apologize if he does something wrong.

Love is more than bedding, boy. If love doesn’t come first and linger after, if love can’t wait and endure disappointment and separation, then it’s not love. Love doesn’t require bedding to make it true. It doesn’t even demand day to day contact. I know this because I have known love, many kinds of loves, and among them, I’ve known what I felt for you.’

Hap was a mess at the first half of the book, I liked that. Mistakes helps us become a better us. He realises his mistake and turned on a new leaf, I just hopes it last.

Kettricken is finally becoming her own Queen, she all but let Chade rule before but now she has taken the reins, he normally disagrees with her but that does not stop her from doing what she thinks is right.

Elliana is a character that I can't wait to see more of, she is just twelve but has a making of a strong character. I hope there is more of her in the next book.

Thick is a simpleton and a servant at Buckeep, he is also very strong in the skill, Civil, Swift and Web are other characters that I'm looking forward to reading about in the next book.
Profile Image for Mara.
1,504 reviews3,657 followers
July 5, 2022
This is far and away my favorite Fitz book - so much growth and pay off, and fascinating development of what has been established previously. I'm so pumped to read the final book in the trilogy

Also- I want an entire book of Fitz talking to cats
Profile Image for Hanne.
222 reviews316 followers
September 21, 2013
After reviewing 7 previous Robin Hobb books, I feel like a broken record. So instead of making a new review, I decided to dig up all the previous ones and mash them together:

Some of the biggest sized words read: I just really love.

And I do!
I love her writing.
I love her characters (well, most of them. the others, i just love despising them)
I love how she makes me care.
I love how she keeps me guessing.

And most of all, I love how I have five more books to go set in this world. Four more days and we start the last book in this trilogy.

But please Robin Hobb, stop breaking my heart.
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,548 reviews2,935 followers
August 16, 2015
What is this book...? Well, it's the continuation of Fitz's storyline. It's also the continuation of the Fool's storyline and Bukkeep's storyline. I would also go so far as to say that this is the continuation of the Elderlings world. This book, although focused on Fitz most of the time, is actually a story which traverses the boundaries of the two series we've previously read in this world. Whilst before now we have had small easter egg references to events or people within one of the other series books, we've not had a big crossover of many characters or events which directly affect the story quite as much. We get to see the return of some of those we met in Liveships, and we also see or hear about how many of the lives of those we enjoyed from the Farseer books are going. We meet new people along the way too, of course, but mainly this book felt to me like the beginning of a solidified narrative between all 8 of the books so far in the Realm of the Elderlings.

This story follows Fitz after his return to the mysteries and struggles at Bukkeep court. We can see the many challenges his return has forced him to face, and we see many old and new faces who are, inevitably, mixed up in his storyline too. We get to follow Fitz through yet more ups and down, some of which were shocking, others seemingly destined, and we see how he copes against those who wish him harm and the secrets he must keep.

One element of this book I particularly enjoyed were the italicised passages at the beginning of each chapter. Whilst I have thought that these were always interesting I think some of those shown within this book in particular have been most insightful and enlightening.

I also really liked getting to see more of the characters of Dutiful, Thick, Hap and the Narcheska (alongside, of course, Fitz and the Fool) because each one was uniquely interesting and full of life and vibrance in their own way.
We see Dutiful trying to become the man he strives to be and fill his position at Bukkeep well.
We get to see Thick, a new character who is a halfwit, as he struggles against much of the same adversity and cruelty that Fitz had been subjected to in the past.
We see Hap as he comes up against some of the fancies and ideals that young men around town are prone to and falls into some pitfalls which lead him to make his own mistakes.
And finally we learn a little more about the Narcheska herself and her, rather odd and foreign, country which is maybe not so different to Buck.
Each of these characters either amused me, intrigued me or made me worry for the at some point in the story meaning that I was constantly invested in their stories and what would happen next. I felt that the changing story threads for each of the characters was handled expertly and each one was given proper time to develop and unfold as Hobb intended.

On the whole the story of this one was great and featured some excellent and central moments which will no doubt change the path of the next book and the history of Buck forever more. I cannot wait to finish up the Tawny Man series and see what is happening, and I also thought that this was one of the first times that I think the third book might be the best because of how much stuff Hobb has set in motion which will have to be resolved in book 3.

I cannot wait for the final one, this one was a wonderful 5*s with some excellent writing and fab story-telling!
Profile Image for Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun).
314 reviews1,965 followers
January 27, 2018
Close to 5 stars. This trilogy is murdering me right in the feelings. I'm almost afraid to read the third book - I need an emotional breather for a bit before I dive in. I'll be doing a video review on Hobb's first three fantasy trilogies (no spoilers) after I finish Tawny Man, so stay tuned for more thoughts.
Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
856 reviews1,725 followers
July 22, 2018
“You seek a false comfort when you demand that I define myself for you with words. Words do not contain or define any person. A heart can, if it is willing.”

Robin Hobb certainly knows how to spin a tale. I was rapt with her words, even though Fitz was drowning himself in pity and remorse. I was still turning pages when Fitz was planning (only planning) to kill all and get over with this ordeal. I finished the book and said wow, this was fantastic. That’s how magical her tales are.

I know I didn’t like Assassin’s Quest much. I was as frustrated as Fitz was throughout the book by the time finished reading it. This book too doesn’t offer in terms of action, adventure, or drama, and yet it was beautiful to read Fitz’s struggle with loss and betrayal. I think Ms Hobb has grown on me and that’s why I am loving this tale now instead of whining and cursing.

This being the middle book paved path for the journey that we will read about in next book. Hobb threw in some mystery/mythical elements to make it more attractive and I am more than ready to start that journey to slay some dragons.

But this book has its moments. I loved the Court politics and how Kettricken was trying to win the alliances. While Dutiful was certainly not a favourite character in the last book, here he definitely holds his own. He was humble, eager to learn, possessive of Fitz, and a very brave young lad, who didn’t like being thought of as a stupid prince.

Book’s highlight for me was relationship of Fitz and Fool. It’s the first time I have seen such strife between the two. I certainly missed few things as I have not read LivShip Traders, but Hobb wrote their conflict with so much emotion that it was painful for me to read those pages.

It was a great story but also tests the patience of readers. As for me, I will be going on adventure with Fool and Fitz next month to see what future holds for these two.
Profile Image for Kaora.
559 reviews280 followers
December 18, 2015
I can't say this is my favorite Robin Hobb book, but that is like saying it is not my favorite type of chocolate. It's still fucking delicious.

I just felt that this one dragged a bit more and while a lot happened there was really no resolution. It is the second book in a trilogy, but in the first book I felt like things were accomplished even though it was nowhere near the end.

Then I started this and so many plots were set into motion that I'm not sure how she can wrap them all up in one more book. But that is all that this book did was set things into motion. I am excited to see where those things lead for sure, I just wish this book either resolved SOMETHING, or was a tad bit shorter. (Blasphemy I know!)
Profile Image for Grace Dionne.
239 reviews183 followers
December 9, 2022
4.5 ⭐️

Hobb being Hobb, making me cry, making me frustrated, whatever emotion you can possibly throw at me, there you have it, but also making me never want to stop reading her books!
Profile Image for David Sven.
288 reviews445 followers
September 18, 2013
I'm enjoying this Trilogy so far even more than the previous two in the series. Robin Hobb's writing is either getting better or I am just increasingly more invested in the characters of her world - probably both. Either way, Hobb's characterization is second to none. She can make you feel the joy of friendship rekindled or the rift of a lover's quarrel or the grief that come's with a close companion's death. Let us now pause a moment to remember NightEyes...

The other thing that made this book very enjoyable was the audio narration by Nick Taylor. Somehow he just nailed exactly how I imagine certain character's voices in my head. Namely Fitz, the Fool, and Chade. On the other hand the French accents for Kettricken and Dutiful were a stroke of genius and now I can't imagine them sounding any other way.

Our story picks up right after the events of book one. On the surface of things the plot takes a step back, slowing right down as Fitz reconnects with his old life at Buck Keep. Some relationships are renewed while others are deliberately avoided. Fitz' foster son, Hap, is settled into a trade apprenticeship in Buck Town. Fitz explores his relationship with the hedgewitch Jinna. Fitz establishes his cover as Tom Badgelock, Lord Golden's serving man come bodyguard. Nothing much appears to be happening plot wise. Yet Robin Hobb has that ability to make the simple pleasures of walking through Buck Town or raiding the kitchens of the Keep such delightful experiences, recalling fond memories of Fitz' childhood and coming of age in the Farseer Trilogy.

I'm making it sound boring but it's not really. Part of the reason why those moments are to be treasured is because they are snippets of light that stand out in stark contrast to the darker undertones and more sinister intrigues permeating the story. And though the pace may seem to have slowed down in some regards it actually hurtles forward in other ways. There was no point where I was bored or felt the story was getting bogged down and needed to move along. There is actually a lot going on. Fitz has so much to deal with he doesn't have time to scratch himself.

In the Farseer Trilogy Fitz role was well defined as the Assassins Apprentice. This time he is no longer Chade's apprentice and his role is a lot more fluid as he is thrown back into the intrigues of the Six Duchies and court of Buck Keep. This time he returns as The Skillmaster, assigned to assemble and train a coterie of skill users for Prince Dutiful - even though his own Skill training was limited and twisted and he has nearly as much to learn as his students.

When he's not doing that he is a royal Spymaster - assigned to dig out secrets while keeping his own and the crown's well covered. And yes, if the need should arise, he will again assume the role of Royal Assassin. Whenever problems arise, killing is always on the table as an option, whether the problem be a simpleton who knows too much or Piebalds lurking somewhere in town.

And Fitz has all his old Assassin's tools honed and ready to use - whether it be foresight to be able to avoid violence altogether - or ruthless pragmatism combined with herbal lore to inflict death by food poisoning - or whether it be cold steel when gutting one's enemy is all that's left to do.

5 stars

Fitz will be subjected to extreme harm during the course of this story. Fitz lovers are advised to consider using the dead tree edition of this book in preference to electronic devices that are vulnerable to shock damage. Be also advised that no characters in the book are able to hear you no matter how hard you yell at the pages. If you must yell and are using an electronic device take care to cover any exposed ports as device manufacturers generally don't provide warranty for moisture damage.
Profile Image for Marc *Dark Reader of the Woods*.
769 reviews121 followers
April 21, 2021

That's how good these books are: I have no words. Give me a ridiculously awful book and I will hit the Goodreads review character limit expounding on all the ways it is unbelievably bad, but give me something unbelievably great like this and I don't know what to say other than, "It's just so good! Arglebargle!!"

As the middle book of a trilogy within a broader series, it tackles a lot of material. The prior book was dominated by the quest to recover Prince Dutiful. The third book will be taken up by a quest that this book will shockingly reveal. But here in the middle, it accomplishes much without really going anywhere. For much of the book I thought, "Nothing is really happening, and I love it!". It deals with the fallout of the prior book, the Piebalds and the Old Blood, Fitz's love life, complications in his multiple families whether chosen, biological, or magical, Six Duchies politics, the Skill, a LOT of surprises for readers of the whole Elderlings series, and the introduction of a character with Down syndrome who is a fascinating addition to the story.

Okay, I can elaborate some on what makes it so good: Every character is complex and flawed and believable. Any exposition is utterly and blissfully natural. POV is never broken; characters live and operate in great ignorance of distant matters and when those matters impact on them, it is as suprising to the reader as to the characters. As a reader you never really know what to expect next. The broader mysteries of this world are unveiled with sublime subtlely, then punctuated with shocking revelations. In total, it is simply masterful.

In praising the skill of an author who can pull all of this together, I must also recognize her silent partner: an outstanding editor, who has performed at their best when their presence is undetectable.

You can't fully enjoy it without starting with Assassin's Apprentice and reading all of Hobb's books as published up to this point.
Profile Image for Pranav Prabhu.
169 reviews56 followers
June 17, 2021
The second book in the Tawny Man Trilogy is another great entry, though I do prefer Fool's Errand more. The Piebalds, the main antagonists that were driven back in the last book make a return here, although in a smaller capacity. I find the Piebalds very interesting antagonists, since they represent an extremist faction of an oppressed people.

Through their plotlines in these two books, Hobb explores themes surrounding discrimination and ingrained prejudice, while showing the nuances and complexity in those situations, making for very compelling villains. We also slowly get more information about the Red Ship War that was the central focus of the Farseer Trilogy and begin to piece together what actually happened. Certain scenes of this book are also directly tied to the events of the Liveship Traders Trilogy, as the consequences and the aftermath of the major changes in Bingtown and the surrounding regions have bled into Buckkeep and the Six Duchies, so I would not advise skipping Liveship just to get to the Fitz stories.

The book's strength is in its character relationships and interactions. In my review for Fool's Errand, I wished for more concrete and memorable scenes with Kettricken, and this book delivered. That particular scene between Fitz and Kettricken is one of my favourite moments in Tawny Man so far. The growing relationship between Fitz and new characters such as Thick and Dutiful were great to read, I found them much more compelling that Starling and Kettle in Assassin's Quest.

Throughout the series, Fitz has been growing and maturing as a character. One of the best examples of this incredible character writing is how differently he sees the same people, from Farseer to Tawny Man. In Farseer, he is quite young, and idealizes his mentors and people he looks up to, but over time and thought, he is now able to recognize that they are not perfect, and are just deeply flawed people with weaknesses just like him. This potrays a lot of characters in a different light, from a new perspective; it's impressive how Hobb has managed to accomplish this level of characterization from a first person narrative voice. I also quite enjoyed reading about the Fool, who seems to have become a major presence in this trilogy while in previous books, the Fool only appeared sparsely.

I did feel it suffered a bit from middle-book syndrome, a few chapters in the middle I found to be stagnant and filled with only Fitz's repetitive thoughts, before the story picked up again with a great ending. Overall, another fantastic entry in the Tawny Man Trilogy, I am looking forward to how everything will converge and come to a head in the third book.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,391 reviews819 followers
December 30, 2019
If you like fast pacing and high action, walk away! This story introduces one of my favourite characters, Thick, a ‘dim-wit ‘ serving boy who becomes an essential part of Dutiful’s coterie. As always with Hobb’s writing, the deep, thoughtful details and awareness of the human psyche are an invaluable part of her books. It pained my heart to see the Fool and Fitz so out of sync in this one. I love that Fitz, our ‘hero’ is no hero and makes many mistakes and missteps and yet tries to do the right thing. His role as catalyst seems particularly well defined in this book. Recommended, but you need to be prepared for the long haul for the whole of the Realm of the Elderlings.
Profile Image for Jimmy.
135 reviews419 followers
May 21, 2021

Great book, loved how much every relationship felt moved forward, for better or for worse. I do wish the piebalds and old blood had a bit more drama to it but I have a feeling that could happen in book 3. Much different type of ending compared to the book 2's of the first two trilogies in ROTE.
Profile Image for Helene Jeppesen.
685 reviews3,641 followers
March 9, 2017
This book was good, but for the most part I felt like it was just filling in the story between the first and the third book in this Tawny Man trilogy. Not a lot happens, and everything is a build-up to the big adventure we will encounter in book three.
I wasn't at any point eager to get back to this book and read it, but when I did read I liked it because it is entertaining and in many ways thought-provoking. Fitz is a likeable man, and that goes for almost all of the other characters as well.
So while it wasn't my favourite of Robin Hobb's, it was still an enjoyable read that however left me somewhat bored through parts of it.
Profile Image for Lema.
191 reviews81 followers
March 8, 2018
If I want to approach this book in a subjective way, I would say it definitely is a filler and a set up for events to come. If I want to approach it realistically from a point of view of someone who had invested so much time and effort (AND FEELS) into this series, then I have to say that this book gave me life (AND FEELS) and I enjoyed every single second of it.

I'm lazy as eff and I immediately started Fool's Fate because IM WEAK AND NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WITH MA BABIES, so this is will be brief.
I could never imagine someone writing day-to-day life and make it not boring as masterfully as Robin Hobb did in this book. My favorite setting so far in the Realm of the Elderlings -despite all of the exotic places that we visited- has got to be Buckkeep and Bucktown. I don't know call me nostalgic but just reading the description of that place give me all the fuzzies and warm feelings. So when I saw that Golden Fool was mostly set there, I didn't even care that nothing else was happening except following the daily lives of our characters, why do you ask? Because of this lovely thing called Character Development.

“You seek a false comfort when you demand that I define myself for you with words. Words do not contain or define any person. A heart can, if it is willing.”

Oh and Hobb's prose, did I mention how glorious it's becoming?
The combination of the massive character growth along with Hobb's magical writing made this book a fantastical experience for me, it's thought provoking, emotional, touching, mysterious and overall unforgettable. Not to mention that I have never read about a character with Down Syndrome before in fantasy, I'm still not sure how I feel about the character itself, but I thought it was an admirable and intriguing inclusion to a wide cast of wonderful and diverse characters.
I'm at this point currently where I'm just thankful that I have this series in my life :')

Fool's Fate here I come! pleasebegoodpleasebegoodpleasebegoodpleasebegood..

1. Fool's Errand: 5 Stars (here's my review)
Profile Image for Librukie.
502 reviews264 followers
February 3, 2023
"Acaso reunir el coraje que se requiere para buscar un camino diferente equivalga a tener el valor para arriesgarse a cometer nuevos errores"

¿Cómo podría escribir una reseña a la altura de este libro? Creo que las palabras no son suficientes para transmitir lo que nos hacen sentir esos libros que no solo nos encantan, sino que marcan un antes y un después en nuestra vida lectora. Esos libros especiales son pocos, y sin duda este es uno de ellos. Como digo, creo que no estoy a la altura de escribir algo que le haga justicia, pero para eso estamos aquí, para intentarlo.

Si ya "La misión del bufón" me acercó bastante a ese sentimiento, "El bufón dorado" terminó de confirmarme lo que ya más o menos sabía: y es que Robin Hobb es actualmente una de mis escritoras favoritas, no solo de fantasía, sino en general.
Dije que el primer libro es bastante introductorio y que aún así atrapa. Pues bien, este segundo libro es absolutamente arrollador. Cuando menos te lo esperas las tramas empiezan a esclarecerse y a mezclarse con libros anteriores, el mundo se profundiza, aparecen multitud de nuevos misterios y los giros de trama te dejan totalmente aturdido. Cosas que tuviste delante de las narices todo el rato cobran forma delante de ti, y la autora te sorprende con cosas que no te veías venir en absoluto.
Este libro es absolutamente abrumador, en el buen sentido.

Muchas veces dije que Hobb era una autora más de personajes, pero no eres consciente de lo grande y rico que es el mundo en el que todo acontece hasta que vas avanzando en este saga tan extensa. En cada libro este mundo se expande, adquiere dimensión y profundidad, dejando claro que la autora domina no solo la creación de personajes, sino también el worldbuilding.
¿Qué más puedo decir? Pocas veces te encuentras libros a los que no sacarles ni una sola pega. Este es uno de ellos. Me parece brillante en absolutamente todo. Personajes, trama, ambientación y ritmo. Traspié es un protagonista TAN bueno que lo sientes real. Como una persona de carne y hueso, con sus virtudes y sus numerosos defectos. Con esas cosas que te hacen querer zarandearlo a veces, a pesar de ese cariño tan profundo que le llegas a coger. Como si de un amigo se tratase. Lo conoces desde que es pequeño y vives el paso de los años con él. Vives sus pesares, sus alegrías y sus pérdidas. Y eso es aplicable al resto de personajes, aunque solo veamos su perspectiva. Todo se siente tan vivo y tan natural, está narrado de forma tan bella y con tanto mimo, que sientes que Hobb te está contando la vida de alguien a quien quiere y conoce, y no de alguien ficticio.

Si os gustó la trilogía del Vatídico... Es que no os podéis hacer una idea de la maravilla que se os viene después.

Y si hay algo que quiero recalcar, es que considero FUNDAMENTAL leerse la saga de los Vetulus en orden. No es solo que esta trilogía continúe la historia del Vatídico años después, y por lo tanto necesites saber qué pasa ahí para entender a los personajes y la historia. Es que también enlaza con la trilogía de las Naves. De hecho hay muchos diálogos que directamente no entenderás si no te la has leído antes de pasar a esta. Las trilogías pueden parecer independientes al ser personajes distintos, pero definitivamente no lo son, y están pensadas para leerse en ese orden.
Yo empecé por la trilogía del Vatídico por pura casualidad sin saber que había un orden, y creo que alguien puede agradecer esta advertencia.

Poco más puedo decir, salvo seguir quejándome de que esta pedazo de autora esté actualmente descatalogada en nuestro país. Cómo puede ser que una saga tan brillante sea tan poco accesible es algo que no me entra en la cabeza, sobre todo con la época dorada que está viviendo el género fantástico en los últimos años. Espero que se le ponga remedio a esto pronto, mientras tanto seguiremos recomendando a Robin Hobb sin parar, porque es lo que merece.
Profile Image for Laura.
248 reviews77 followers
January 17, 2023
Hace unos días os hablaba de lo muchísimo que ha significado para mí reencontrarme con los personajes del Vatídico y la increíble experiencia de lectura que me supuso «La misión del bufón». Pues como soy muy intensa y adoro con toda la fuerza de mi corazón esta saga, hoy vengo a lo mismo: a fangirlear con mucha vehemencia.

«El bufón dorado» es, sin lugar a dudas, uno de los mejores libros que he leído en mi vida. Lo que hace en esta novela Hobb es algo inmenso. Partíamos de un primer libro de trilogía que nos ponía en contexto y parecía que abría el conflicto principal para los siguientes, pero luego llegamos a este segundo y la autora despliega TODO su arsenal. Revelaciones impactantes, giros totalmente inesperados (uno de los mejores plot twist del mundo está en este libro), conflictos que se intuyen apoteósicos y que amplían el mundo y lo conectan a unos niveles estratosféricos. Una verdadera pasada.

Por todo esto que cuento no es de extrañar que esta sea una novela de lo más adictiva y eso que, como siempre recalco, la autora es muy pausada. Pero es que, qué bien escribe Hobb, es una narradora excelente; sus libros son absorbentes, consigue que te sumerjas por completo en la lectura y te impliques hasta el fondo con sus personajes, con sus historias.

Hobb nos regala el libro perfecto, pero es que lo deja todo preparado para que «La suerte del bufón» sea todavía mejor. Las revelaciones de este libro nos arrojan mucha luz, pero todavía quedan muchas cuestiones por resolverse, cuestiones que atañen a todo: personajes, mundo y tramas. Se viene un final inmenso, lo sé.

No me gustaría irme sin recalcar la importancia de leer esta saga en orden, sin leer «Las leyes del mar» (segunda trilogía) no se van a advertir muchas cosas que son fundamentales para comprender todo lo que aquí se presenta, y por supuesto para disfrutar en plenitud de la lectura.
Profile Image for Derf H.
32 reviews41 followers
May 17, 2020
Absolutely flying through these in a reread whilst in a reading slump. Still as easy to read as the first time round. A solid 4 ⭐️
Profile Image for Chris  Haught.
570 reviews211 followers
May 16, 2015
Here we are again, the middle book of a Hobb trilogy. I really think she hits her stride in these second books. The pace has built up a bit from the first, and it sets up the third one nicely.

There were a couple of emotional scenes in this that are certainly appreciated by a long time reader of this overall series. I won't go into it, but they alone made this book something special. I hope they are a good preview of what's to come in Book #3, which I'll be starting soon.
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