Mark Lawrence's Reviews > Fool's Quest

Fool's Quest by Robin Hobb
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it was amazing

[spoilers for book 1]

It took me 10 weeks to read this book.

I'm a slow reader and frankly, it's a slow book. These things combined to make my progress glacial. It's also really long.

A slow book is not a bad book. Because Hobb is building on characters whose lives have been shown to us across decades in both their existence and ours she has built a bedrock of goodwill that allows me to enjoy the story at the pace she chooses to take it. What it means though is that I am not compelled back to the page by an urgent desire to know what follows the last thrill or spill, rather I'm brought back to it by the return of my appetite for the nostalgia and melancholia that fills many of the chapters.

None of this is to say there isn't a strong story here. There is! Or that there isn't action. There is! Just that it is heavily leavened with the pasts and personalities of characters we know very well. And this is part of its charm.

As is so often the case for Fitz the story is often driven by misunderstandings that the reader can see through and missed opportunities that we yell at him to take. And of course he suffers! Always the suffering. Though it never leads him to the dark side whatever Yoda may have to say on the subject...

Much of the book is about waiting. We get the story from Bee's side of the equation as she is hauled off across the winter wonderland that is Buck. And her story is a lot about waiting to get where they are going. And we get the story from Fitz as he waits for news, waits for the Fool, waits to give chase, and waits to get match fit. All of this sounds dull, but Hobb has a great talent for filling "wasted" hours/days/weeks with meaningful character interaction.

There are very few authors who can get me to tolerate considerable detail spent on clothing, gifts, feasting and just plain organizing stuff. George RR Martin somehow manages it, and so does Robin Hobb. I guess that if you write well enough then anything goes.

The last section takes an odd twist and I think links into history/events from books I haven't read (the Rain Wild books?) which gave me a taste of what it might be like to read this book and its predecessor without having read the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies. Don't do that.

As usual Fitz puts us through the emotional wringer, and not with cheap writing tricks but in a mature way that people who have lived, loved, and seen children grow, will resonate with. There's a great power/opportunity that comes with having built characters over so many pages and so many years. Robin Hobb does not waste it!


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Reading Progress

September 15, 2016 – Started Reading
September 15, 2016 – Shelved
November 22, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)

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message 1: by Andy (new) - added it

Andy Angel Excellent review


message 2: by Agnes (last edited Nov 23, 2016 12:53PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Agnes Conway The Rain Wild books are worth reading. Not directly connected to the Fitz books AFAIK, and at first I didn't like them much, but they really grew on me. On second thoughts... the LIveship Traders, and Rain Wilds Chronicles are in the same world.


message 3: by Jake (new) - added it

Jake In regards to Agnes' comment, I think the mentioned character's appearance is a small yet kinda important / fun spoiler in my opinion, it might be worth hiding that


Stephanie  H I think if you really want to appreciate the impact Fitz has on the world as a whole, you want to read the other two series. I think you'll appreciate how methodical Hobb has been in building him and his family as saviors to the world as a whole. Sometimes the things Fitz does don't seem extremely grand, until you see the ripple they have through the rest of the world.


Agnes Conway Jake wrote: "In regards to Agnes' comment, I think the mentioned character's appearance is a small yet kinda important / fun spoiler in my opinion, it might be worth hiding that"

Hi Jake - was that addressed to me, or to Mark? I don't want to post a spoiler!

The section Mark mentioned gave me a bit of a shock as well when I first read it - mainly because I realised the breadth of Hobb's vision of the action over so many books, and how it will all mesh together books and books later. How on earth does she hold it all in her head...her world-building is truly wonderful.


message 6: by Matt (new) - added it

Matt Great review. This helps me see what I'm getting into with this series. I have started Fool's Assassin, and temporarily put it down because the action was moving pretty slowly for me. I now know to give Robin Hobb time and just tell myself to just "let go" a little bit and allow the story to come along.


message 7: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Hofmann I just finished the final book in the Fitz and Fool series. It picks up the the action significantly from the 2nd book and gives a long goodbye to all the favorite characters. I've told Robin that I look forward to the further tales of Bee and Perseverance, though.


Mark Lawrence Matt wrote: "Great review. This helps me see what I'm getting into with this series. I have started Fool's Assassin, and temporarily put it down because the action was moving pretty slowly for me. I now know to..."

NooooooOOOOOOoooooOOOooo!



Go back to Assassin's Apprentice and start there!


message 9: by Matt (new) - added it

Matt Thanks for the advice. I'll go back and read Assassin's Apprentice.


message 10: by Pau (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pau Hobb is my favourite author. I'm sure I reached Lawrence through Abercrombie, and Abercrombie through Hobb in the neverending google quest "If you like Hobb you will like XXX"

So I'm incredibly happy Lawrence, my second favorite author and favorite reviewer likes Hobb ;-D


message 11: by Brittany (new) - added it

Brittany Finishing up the The Farseer trilogy and loving it! Can't wait to start The Fitz and the Fool!


message 12: by Mandy (new) - added it

Mandy Love Robins series! Liveship Traders is also very good! Fitzand Nighteyes are some of my favorite characters ever written but the Fool will always have my heart! 😍


message 13: by Jack (new)

Jack Pond Took me years but I finally started the story of Fitz. Finished Assassins Apprentice a month ago and was looking forward to continuing. Knowing that you like the most recent series Mark has hardened my resolve to dive back in, once I finish Emperor of Thorns ;)


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