Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb (Tawny Man Trilogy #1)
For fifteen years FitzChivalry Farseer has lived in self-imposed exile, assumed to be dead by almost all who once cared about him. But now, into his isolated life, visitors begin to arrive: Fitz’s mentor from his assassin days; a hedge-witch who foresees the return of a long-lost love; and the Fool, the former White Prophet, who beckons Fitz to fulfill his destiny.
Then comes the summons he cannot ignore. Prince Dutiful, the young heir to the Farseer throne, has vanished. Fitz, possessed of magical skills both royal and profane, is the only one who can retrieve him in time for his betrothal ceremony, thus sparing the Six Duchies profound political embarrassment … or worse. But even Fitz does not suspect the web of treachery that awaits him—or how his loyalties will be tested to the breaking point. (Goodreads)
Fool’s Errand continues the story of FitzChivalry, now Tom Badgerlock who is much older and much changed since the last book but old scars continues to affect his life.
People complain about Hobb’s slow pacing and certainly, Fool’s Errand takes it time to unfold with a quiet energy that rather suits Fitz’s personality. Almost half of the novel is spent detailing Fitz’s current lifestyle and stories of his journeys. I’ve commented before the amazing imagery the author manages to translate and the quality of her work and Fool’s Errand is just as good. With Hobb’s descriptive writing and the slow pacing, this completes the reading experience of that of a medieval setting. More so, elements from the last series that were left hanging, particularly the Old Blood chapter, were merely a set-up for the next novel and there’s even more to expect from the Outislanders, the Elderlings, the White Prophet, etc that this novel is slowly building up.
My concern about the novel, which is becoming a frequent thing, is the climax. Just when so much is happening it suddenly hits below. I admit, the pacing of this one is much better compared to the last novel. Still, big obstacles are swept under the rug so easily and it’s always either Fitz is dead, asleep or too tired to see through the end himself. It’s kind of disorienting when a conflict is steadily built-up and it ends up not as threatening as you expected and the narrator narrates as if he is drunk. In retrospect, there’s no certain villain yet, just like in Assassin’s Apprentice when you’re not entirely sure who’s behind who and what. There also appears to be prevailing message about the cycle of hate and I love how it seams all the pieces together. I appreciate it when a novel has a clear message in it for this is what makes a book truly unforgettable and life-changing.
Amazing characterization to not just Fitz, the Fool, but to Chade, even Dutiful as well and Nighteyes most especially, and I see so much promise to their characters still, well, except for Nighteyes, who will be duly missed. The Fool is as fun as ever but there are noticeable changes with him too that’s somehow sad yet refreshing. His relationship with Fitz continues to grow but he remains to be an enigma. Significant changes from Nighteyes too and I found myself laughing and pondering at his musings with Fitz. *sniff*
The Verdict: 4/5 Stars
Overall, a really amazing novel with an important message and a memorable cast. Surely Fool’s Errand is just the tip of the ice just as The Farseer Trilogy actually was and Hobb has more adventures to unwrap.
I’m taking a break from the Realm of Elderlings and will soon try out a Thursday Next book, written by Jasper Fforde. If you have more fascinating reading suggestions, just message, comment or leave an ask and I’ll see if it beats out my interest for Fforde. Currently, I’m working on a review for a couple of Stephen King novels and maybe vomit massive feels for The Long Walk alongside. Just maybe.
What do you think about Fool’s Errand? Any book suggestions too?