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Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm are pennames used by Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden. She currently lives and writes in Tacoma, Washington, but that has not always been the case! Born in Oakland, California, in 1952, she sampled life in Berkeley and then in suburban San Rafael before her family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in the ’60’s. She graduated from Lathrop High School in Fairbanks in 1969, and went on to attend College at the University of Denver in Denver Colorado. In 1970, she married Fred Ogden and moved with him to his home town of Kodiak Alaska. After a brief stint in Hawaii, they moved to Washington State. They live in Tacoma, with brief stints down to a pocket farm in Roy, Washington, where they raise chickens, ducks, geese, vegetables and random children. Here’s Robin Hobb’s website.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE STORIES BY ROBIN HOBB.

Assassin’s Apprentice: An old favorite

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb

I read The Farseer Saga years ago and have since considered it one of my favorite fantasy epics. It's one (along with The Lord of the Rings and Memory, Sorrow and Thorn) that I often suggest to new fantasy readers. But after more than a decade of reading deeper and further into fantasy literature, I've often wondered how well this saga would now appeal to my more mature (I hope) palate. When Tantor Audio recently released The Farseer Saga Read More

Royal Assassin: Excellent second book

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

FitzChivalry Farseer, who barely survived an assassination attempt by his uncle, Prince Regal, has returned to Buckkeep where the King, his grandfather, lies dying. His other uncle, Prince Verity, is exhausting himself by trying to keep the kingdom together in the face of increasing attacks by the Red Ship Raiders. The Raiders continue to capture and, through some unknown process, “Forge” citizens of the Six Duchies. When these Forged citizens, who are now more like animals than people, are released, they start moving toward Buck Keep. What are they doing? Do they have some sort of programmed mission? What is the goal?

When Prince Verity leaves the castle to look for the ancient (perhaps mythical) Elderlings, life becomes even more difficult for Fitz. He has the horrible job of tracking and killing the Forged Ones; he must avoid Prince Regal’s attempts to kill him; he suspects that King Shrewd is... Read More

Assassin’s Quest: Glory and heartache

Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb

FitzChivalry Farseer’s life keeps getting worse. He has once again barely — and I mean just barely — survived Uncle Regal’s machinations. As Assassin’s Quest, the third book in Robin Hobb’s FARSEER trilogy, opens, Fitz’s situation seems hopeless. Only a couple of people know he still lives and Molly is not one of them. She’s gone, and it seems safest for Fitz to let her live in ignorance.

Meanwhile, Fitz’s uncle Regal has declared himself king in the Six Duchies. He demands exorbitant taxes, has abandoned Buck Town and left Buckkeep in the hands of a foreigner, and has in essence given up the area to the Red Ship Raiders. Not only has Fitz suffered at Regal’s hands, the coastal duchies suffer too.

Once Fitz is standing on his own two feet again, he decides to get revenge for what Regal has done to him personally ... Read More

The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince: Everything I expect from Hobb

The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb’s FARSEER series is one of my all-time favorite fantasy epics. It’s about FitzChivalry Farseer, the bastard son of a dead prince. Fitz is a sad case, not only because his father’s dead and he’s illegitimate, but perhaps mostly because he has the Wit — an ancient magic that lets him communicate with and bond to animals. The citizens of the Six Duchies fear the Wit and kill those who practice it. But that wasn’t always the case...

Now, in Robin Hobb’s most recent novella, The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince, we learn why the people hate what they call “beastmagic.” This is the story of a young (“willful”) Farseer princess who fell in love with a Witted stablemaster. The story is told by Felicity, whose mother had been Princess Caution’s nursemaid and who had strategically maneuvered Felicity into the position of compa... Read More

Ship of Magic: Brilliant characterization

Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

I doubt that there are many lovers of epic fantasy that wouldn’t list Robin Hobb as one of their favorite epic fantasy authors. Hobb creates wonderfully detailed worlds and characters that are complex and convincing. Her best-loved stories are those that star FitzChivalry Farseer, the bastard son of the man who abdicated the throne in the Six Duchies. Fitz’s best friend is a strange man he calls “The Fool.” We meet Fitz and the Fool in THE FARSEER SAGA, the first trilogy of the REALMS OF THE ELDERLINGS series. Their story continues years later in the TAWNY MAN trilogy and then, again after many years have passed, starts up again in Hobb’s latest trilogy, FITZ AND THE FOOL. The Fool never really tells Fitz what he does during the long periods of time tha... Read More

Mad Ship: Complex characters struggle for power and freedom

Mad Ship by Robin Hobb

This review will contain spoilers for the previous novel, Ship of Magic.

Mad Ship is the second book in Robin Hobb’s LIVESHIP TRADERS trilogy which is part of her larger REALMS OF THE ELDERLINGS saga. (I’ve explained how all the trilogies in the ELDERLINGS books are connected in my review of the first LIVESHIP TRADERS book, Ship of Magic.) I loved this trilogy when I read it about 20 years ago and I’m currently enjoying re-reading it in audio format. Anne Flosnik, who narrates the books for Tantor Audio, has a nice voice and does a good job distinguishing between the characters in Hobb’s large cast. These... Read More

Ship of Destiny: Strong conclusion to an exciting trilogy

Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb

With so much being churned out in the way of epic fantasy, it's always a pleasure to come across something original and unique. I felt that way about Robin Hobb's Farseer books and wondered if she'd be able to maintain such high standards in Liveship Traders.
While I don't believe she quite got there (it is after all a pretty high bar she set herself), this series certainly stands on its own as quality fantasy, and Ship of Destiny is a fitting conclusion (though one wonders if that word has been banned from the genre).

The basic storyline is both original and interesting, and Hobb manages to avoid the typical banalities of genre fiction. She creates characters far more often than character types and then flings them out into... Read More

Fool’s Errand: Fitz is back

Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb

“Alone again. It isn’t fair. Truly it isn’t. You’ve the saddest song of any man I’ve ever known.”  ~Starling Birdsong, minstrel to Queen Kettricken

I squealed with delight when I recently opened a box from Brilliance Audio and found a review copy of Fool’s Errand inside. This is an old favorite that, for years, I had planned to re-read. Since Hobb’s new book comes out next week, this seemed like the perfect time to get back into FitzChivalry Farseer’s world.

We first met Fitz back in Assassin’s Apprentice when he was a boy. As bastard son to a Farseer prince, he was brought to court and trained as the king’s assassin. He inherited the Skill, the magic that the Farseer family uses to communicate telepathically, from his father. Unfortunately, he inherited the Wit, the maligned “beast magic,” from his ... Read More

Golden Fool: A nearly perfect fantasy novel

Golden Fool by Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb’s TAWNY MAN trilogy, and the FARSEER trilogy that precedes them, are some of the finest epic fantasies ever written. FitzChivarly Farseer is probably my favorite character in all of fantasy literature and he’s at his best in the TAWNY MAN books. Golden Fool, the middle book in the trilogy, is nearly a perfect novel, and so is its successor, Fool’s Fate. I re-read Golden Fool last week because it’s just been released in audio format by Brilliance Audio (superbly narrated by James Langton) and I wanted to re-visit the series before reading Hobb’s newest book, Fool’s Assassin. Though I’ve read over a thousand fantasy novels since I first read Golden Fool, the book was just as superior as I remembered.

[Ple... Read More

Fool’s Fate: Meets very high expectations

Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb

I shouldn’t even have to write this review. Fool’s Fate is the last book in Robin Hobb’s TAWNY MAN trilogy, following Fool’s Errand and Golden Fool. If you haven’t read those (and preferably also the earlier FARSEER trilogy), you have no business reading this review. If you have read those books, there is about a 0.00416% chance that you’re not going to pick up Fool’s Fate, so it doesn’t matter what I say here.

But, since you are here, for whatever reason, I’ll make it short and just let you know that Fool’s Fate met, and maybe even exceeded, my very high expectations... which I knew it would because I read it ten years ago and have thought about it longingly in all the years since. This time I listened t... Read More

Dragon Keeper: A worthy beginning

Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb’s Dragon Keeper is a welcome return to the world of the LIVESHIP TRADERS trilogy (fair warning: if you haven’t read that series, there may be a few spoilers here). Specifically, it is set in the Rain Wilds with the emergence of the serpents/dragons from their casings, an event enthusiastically anticipated by all who long to see these beautiful, powerful creatures soaring through the skies once more.

Often in Robin Hobb’s fiction, though, the most eagerly awaited events turn into the most disappointing ones, and such is the case here as the dragons that emerge are stunted or malformed — all physically and some mentally. Soon, the Rain Wilders realize their bargain with the queen dragon Tintaglia — they would care for the dragons and she and the new dragons would protect them from foreign threat Chalcedea — isn’t such a g... Read More

Dragon Haven: A character-driven quiet story

Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb

Dragon Haven istheconclusion to Robin Hobb’s Rain Wild Chronicles, which began with Dragon Keeper. In reviewing the first book, I said it was a difficult task to judge Dragon Keeper as it was mostly setup for what was to come (I believe it was originally supposed to be one novel but had to be split into two books for size). So now that it’s complete, how does the whole story hold up?

I’ve begun to wonder over the course of Hobb’s recent books if she is exploring how much plot she needs in her novels to actually have a “story.”  There is a lot of action in her earlier books, such as the Farseer Trilogy (and subsequent Read More

City of Dragons: Slower and less action-oriented

City of Dragons by Robin Hobb

City of Dragons is the third volume in Robin Hobb’s RAIN WILDS CHRONICLES, set in the same universe as many of her other books. In my review of Dragon Haven I wrote, “I've begun to wonder over the course of Hobb's recent books if she is exploring just how much plot she needs in her novels to actually have a ‘story.’ There is a lot of action in her earlier books, such as the FARSEER TRILOGY (and subsequent TAWNY MAN books) and her LIVESHIP TRADERS group. Then, in the SOLDIER SON TRILOGY, there is almost none; it is primarily a slow study in character and culture (or culture clash). THE RAIN WILDS CHRONICLES seems to be a middle ground between the two. It’s almost as if she’s feeling her way to as quiet and minimalist a style (in terms ... Read More

Blood of Dragons: RAIN WILDS needs a director’s cut

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb

Way back in a review of the second book (Dragon Haven) in Robin Hobb’s RAIN WILDS series, I wrote “I’ve begun to wonder over the course of Hobb’s recent books if she is exploring just how much plot she needs in her novels to actually have a ‘story.’ It’s almost as if she’s feeling her way to as quiet and minimalist a style (in terms of action, not language) as possible.” Now, two books later, with Blood of Dragons, the tetralogy has come to a close and I’d say the question still pertains. While normally a fan of Hobb’s character-driven and slower-paced style, I have to confess that this series was a little uneven for me, and its finale a bit too slow with characters who didn’t quite hold my interest enough.

Blood of Dragons picks up where its predecessor ends, with the Eld... Read More

Fool’s Assassin: The perfect balance of ingredients?

Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb's FARSEER series well earned its current classic status, and any serious reader of fantasy had to be thrilled to hear that Fitz, one of the genre's most beloved characters, would be returning in a new series. I certainly was. But I was also curious, and, I confess, a bit nervous, about how her evolution in storytelling, especially as displayed in her SOLDIER'S SON and RAIN WILDS series, might play out in a long-delayed return to an old favorite. After all, in those works, I had to admit that said evolution — which I described as Hobb seemingly "exploring just how much plot she needs in her novels to actually have a ‘story,' as if she’s feeling her way to as quiet and minimalist a style (in terms of action, not language) as possible" — had left me thinking she had carried the experiment (if such it was) a bit too far for my liking. So what would ... Read More

Fool’s Quest: Yeah, we both cried. Got a problem with that?

Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb

Last year I gave Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Assassin five stars and put it on my list of Best Books of 2014. Which puts me into a bit of a bind with her follow up, Fool’s Quest, since it’s even better. Clearly it will go on my Best of list for this year, but what about that rating? I may have to petition our fearless leader Kat for a sixth star waiver, or a five-plus category. Because in my mind, Fool’s Quest absolutely deserves that distinction. So, Kat, can I have 6 stars?

Sorry, Bill. We’re not equipped for that. But since I want to give Fool’s Quest 4.7745 stars, how about we average and round to 5 stars?

Sounds good. One of the reasons I fou... Read More

Assassin’s Fate: Thank you, Robin Hobb

Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb

“We follow you, Fitz, to the end, no matter how bitter.”

Kat: If you’re a fan of Robin Hobb’s REALMS OF THE ELDERLINGS books (which include the FARSEER SAGA, TAWNY MAN trilogy, LIVESHIP TRADERS trilogy, RAIN WILDS CHRONICLES, and the FITZ AND THE FOOL trilogy) you know as well as we do that you don’t need to read this review to decide whether to read Assassin’s Fate (2017), the last book in the FITZ AND THE FOOL tri... Read More

Shaman’s Crossing: Slow start, builds nicely

Shaman's Crossing by Robin Hobb

The first thing to say is that while I'm giving Shaman's Crossing four stars, I'd actually recommend not reading it until you've got Forest Mage in hand. It isn't because Shaman's Crossing ends on a cliffhanger (it stands fine on its own), but because it's a very slow set-up to what is to come and I think disappointment in the pace will be assuaged if one can move smoothly from the set-up book to the (I assume) more quickly moving sequel.

The other thing to say is move on if you're looking for standard fantasy. There be no dragons here, at least up to now. Nor any dwarves, elves, dark lords, quests, or bands of hopelessly outnumbered bad guys. Instead, we have an early American “Indian Wars” setting meeting a typical feudal fantasy setting. The central country has just won its first war, moving out the Plainspeople (tr... Read More

Forest Mage: Slower, not as rich as book one

Forest Mage by Robin Hobb

Shaman's Crossing was slow and at times dry, but I thought it rewarded the patient reader and that the pace was mostly appropriate for the content and character. The same complaints about book one could also be leveled at Forest Mage, and here, unfortunately, I can't quite defend the book as strongly.

Like Shaman's Crossing, there isn't a lot of “action” here. One expecting large battles, political upheaval or machinations, encounters with monsters, or showy displays of magic will be best served not bothering, though if anyone is picking up Forest Mage after reading Shaman's Crossing they're already aware of all this. Mage picks up with Nevare returning home after having “recovered” from the Speck plague of book one. Unfortunately, he is still ... Read More

Renegade’s Magic: A lot to admire, but not much to enjoy

Renegade's Magic by Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb has just concluded her Soldier Son trilogy with the third book — Renegade's Magic. There doesn’t seem to be much point in reviewing solely Renegade's Magic, however, as anyone who has read the first two is likely to pick up the conclusion, so instead I’ll simply review the trilogy as a whole.

Of course, the first question one has to answer as a reviewer is would you recommend the book(s) to a reader. I wish I had an answer. To be honest, I’m just not sure, for several reasons. Let’s start with the positives. I think Hobb was truly ambitious with this series in a lot of ways, including:

Character — she is willing to have several very unlikeable characters drive much of the plot — including the one/two main character(s).
... Read More

The Inheritance and Other Stories: One person, two different authors

The Inheritance and Other Stories by Robin Hobb & Megan Lindholm

The Inheritance and Other Stories offers up one-stop shopping, collecting into one volume three stories by Robin Hobb and seven by Megan Lindholm. There’s no doubt these are two different authors, despite being the same person, and so there is a good mix of style and genre here. I’m a huge Hobb fan, believing her work to be substantive and subtle with world-class characterization and plotting, so I was pleased to see the Hobb stories set in one my all-time favorite worlds — that of the Liveship Traders / Rain Wilds. I hadn’t ever read her Lindholm works, though I’d always been curious. Unfortunately, I turned out to be much more a Hobb fan than a Lindholm fan, and though one of her Lindholm stories was one of my favorites in the book,... Read More

A Fantasy Medley: Wish it was longer

A Fantasy Medley edited by Yanni Kuznia

FORMAT/INFO: A Fantasy Medley is 136 pages long divided over four short stories and is published by Subterranean Press in two editions: A fully clothbound hardcover limited to 3000 copies and a numbered hardcover limited to 200 copies and signed by the authors and editor. Dust jacket by Kristy Doherty.

ANALYSIS:

1) “Zen and the Art of Vampirism” by Kelley Armstrong. “Zen and the Art of Vampirism” is an urban fantasy tale with all of the usual trimmings including a female protagonist, a contemporary setting, supernatural elements, humor, etc. The story is actually pretty interesting and follows a lesbian Japanese vampire who uses wits instead of violence to prevent two o... Read More

Warriors: Diverse, entertaining, rewarding

Warriors edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

FORMAT/INFO: Warriors is 736 pages long divided over twenty short stories and an Introduction by George R.R. Martin. Each short story is preceded by biographical information about the author and a short description of their contribution to the anthology. March 16, 2010 marks the North American Hardcover publication of Warriors via Tor.

ANALYSIS:

“The King of Norway” by Cecelia Holland. I’ve never read anything by Cecelia Holland before, but the author is described as “one of the world’s most highly acclaimed and respected historical novelists.” Not surprisingly, her contribution finds ... Read More

Songs of Love and Death: Tales of star-crossed lovers

Songs of Love and Death edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

Songs of Love and Death is the third anthology that George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have edited together. Like Warriors and Songs of the Dying EarthSongs of Love and Death brings together some of the biggest names that SFF has to offer and they set these authors to work on a common theme.

Martin and Dozois offer a cross-genre anthology that ranges from Robin Hobb’s epic fantasy “Blue Boots,” which tells the story of a romance between a young serving girl and a silver-tongued minstrel, to  Read More

Epic: Legends of Fantasy: Lives up to its title

Epic: Legends of Fantasy by John Joseph Adams (editor)

Epic: Legends of Fantasy, edited by John Joseph Adams, is an anthology of stories written by some of the biggest names in epic fantasy. The book clocks in at over 600 pages not just because it’s very difficult to tell short epic stories (though some of these authors do manage to pull it off) but because here the authors are not just telling epic legends, they are legends in and of themselves. George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Robin Hobb, Paolo Bacigalupi, Brandon Sanderson, Ursula K. LeGuin, Kate Elliott, Orson Scott Card, Tad Williams, Aliette de Bodard, Michael Moorcock, Melanie Rawn, Mary Robinette Kowal, N.K. Jemisin, Carrie Vaughn, Trudi Canavan,  and Juliet Marillier all contributed stories to this volume.

Epic: Legends of Fantasy opens with a novella by Robin... Read More