Robin Hobb: Fool’s Errand (The Tawny Man Trilogy, #1)

Book Journal

After reading the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb, I was anything but impressed. In fact, I was so disappointed with the series that eventually I saw no reason to keep these books in our shelf, and so I let them go to someone else who hopefully appreciates them more. It’s not that I found the Farseer Trilogy to be a complete disaster. I had enjoyed reading them, and that is why I felt so let down when the last book of the trilogy turned out to be such a disappointment. The first trilogy left behind some mixed feelings and a thirst for answers to some questions, but if I had not already had the books of the Tawny Man trilogy in my collection, I probably wouldn’t have decided to give this second trilogy a try at all. But since the books were already within reach, I thought I might as well read them anyway, mainly for the purpose of being able to pass them on afterwards and make some much-needed space to our overfull bookshelf.

I’m glad I made that decision, because it turned out I was in for a pleasant surprise.

The Tawny Man Trilogy continues the story of Fitz, who has been in a self-imposed exile for fifteen years, ever since the war with Outislanders ended. He has traveled the world, but mostly he has been living a quiet life in a tiny cottage somewhere far away from Buckkeep and the Farseers. Life has been simple and peaceful, but then Fitz’s old life comes knocking at the door, demanding attention, and Fitz is once again drawn into events larger than himself. Prince Dutiful, the heir to the Farseer line, has gone missing, and it becomes Fitz’s duty to bring him back in time for the prince’s diplomatic wedding to an Outislander princess. During this journey Fitz is accompanied by an old friend, the Fool, who is now known to most as Lord Golden, and Nighteyes, the wolf with whom Fitz shares a Wit-bond.

The story took its time to truly catch some wind under its wings. Not much happened for about the first 200 (!!!) pages. It was just Fitz being restless and wondering if he should take the task that was given him, but after he made his decision, the story began to move forward fast, and I was eager to follow. The text was enjoyable, the storyline interesting and I wasn’t even annoyed by Fitz anymore. The fifteen years of exile had, in my opinion, done Fitz much good: he was no longer the miserable whiner I had grown to dislike in the Farseer Trilogy. It might have taken him long, but at last it can be said that Fitz has finally grown up. Hooray!

In this book, Fitz has become ANGRY. He is still broken and prone to melancholy, but when he faces dangers and misfortunes, he responds with anger and actually fights back. As a result he was somehow much more bearable, even likable in a “well-written character” sort of way. The Fool, who was by far my favourite character in the Farseer Trilogy, felt somehow different as well. Some of the mystery surrounding the Fool in the previous books had disappeared or was not mentioned, and although I was a bit disappointed, I still found the character delightful. I also liked the fact that the storyline revolved around the Wit-magic and the witted people. This aspect of these books had intrigued me, and it was interesting to find out more about it.

I ended up liking this book quite a lot. The things that I had found annoying in the Farseer trilogy were mostly not present anymore, and overall I enjoyed reading the book. I’ll give this book a rating of four skulls, partially because I was so positively surprised, and because of the massive contrast between Fool’s Errand and the utterly disappointing Assassin’s Quest. This book fills multiple subjects from the Helmet Reading Challenge 2017 list. For now, I’ll check the subjects 7 (a book written under a pen name), 31 (fantasy book) and 41 (there is an animal on the book’s cover) from the list with this book.

My verdict:
4 skulls
= Liked it.

Book information:
Robin Hobb: Fool’s Errand (HarperVoyager, 2008. 672 pages.)
(Book One of The Tawny Man Trilogy.)

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