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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Architect's Dream
`The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince' is technically flawless and thoroughly engrossing. As one of Robin Hobb's few ventures into the short story medium (in complete contrast to her pseudonym Megan Lindholm's prolific output in this area) there may be some criticism leveled at this novella that it fails to set the reader's heart racing in the manner of her...
Published on 5 Mar. 2013 by Fantasy Lore

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cannot read it on my iPad
I have noticed that other readers complained that there was something wrong with the Kindle version of this book. Have not tried it on my Kindle yet but I read a lot of my books on my iPad mini using the Kindle app. It is usually great. But this book's format is just strange and impossible to read so I returned it for a refund. Some people said it was only compatible with...
Published 19 months ago by A. Abarbanel


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Architect's Dream, 5 Mar. 2013
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`The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince' is technically flawless and thoroughly engrossing. As one of Robin Hobb's few ventures into the short story medium (in complete contrast to her pseudonym Megan Lindholm's prolific output in this area) there may be some criticism leveled at this novella that it fails to set the reader's heart racing in the manner of her previously published novels and series. But such criticism would be misplaced, because the author has infused this novella with as many heroically flawed characters as is possible in its 184 pages and the precision of the writing is breathtaking.

This outstrips for me Robin Hobb's other short stories (`The Inheritance' and `Homecoming', to name a couple of her best) by a good distance. Perhaps in some part due to there being two stories contained here in this novella; each being a near stand-alone tale that centers on events that take place in her most famous setting, the Six Duchies and that unfold one generation apart within its ruling family, the Farseers.

I have to say what I found particularly enthralling was the protagonist who, I don't think I'd be incorrect in stating, is unlike any character the author has thus far created. Felicity, who is burdened with a name (like many of the characters in Hobb's stories whose names are intended to encourage in them a specific virtue) which in her case seeks to promote good fortune, is a wonderfully complex and sympathetic character who (also like many of the characters in Hobb's stories) is swept along by events, often against her will and often at great cost to her personal happiness. But given that she is not talented in any of the magical skills possessed by her fellows in this story or her fellow protagonists in those stories within the same setting, that she is unremarkable by most standards and not an object of anyone's desire, it is tremendously to this author's credit that Felicity is nonetheless imbued of every human strength and flaw necessary to make her completely plausible and compelling.

There is tragedy here and courage, sacrifice and heartache aplenty. There is even something biblical to the joyousness and triumph of the new life that's celebrated in its final pages. For me, it's one of Robin Hobb's finest creations and one that I will certainly leaf through again. Don't delay.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robin Hobb never fails to disappoint!, 9 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince (Farseer) (Hardcover)
Having read nearly all of Robin Hobb's and Megan Lindholm's works, I have never been disappointed by any of her novels. And this is no different. An absolutely beautiful, mesmerising and often heartbreaking account of love, court rivalry and family connection. This is such a well-written story that is somehow condensed to only 150 pages but you feel like you have read a book of at least 500 pages with the lasting impression it leaves you when you get to the dramatic finale.

As usual with Hobb, the characters are so well-constructed. From the narrator who comes across as such an honest, loyal individual who carries the story excellently from beginning to end, to the Wilful Princess whose unpredictability reminds me a lot of Epiny from the Soldier Son trilogy, and of course the Piebald Prince who like other Hobb characters such as Fitz and Nevare, you have such sympathy for his plights from beginning to end, you continue to love the character because he has such internal strength.

This is also such a fantastic book to read either before or after having read the Assassins trilogy as it explains exactly why the hatred of the Wit had become so ingrained in Buck society by the time Fitz showed up. I read this in one sitting which is easy enough as it is such a short book. And also had it signed by Robin Hobb herself when I met her at one of her book signings. Am so looking forward to her new Fitz and Fool Trilogy!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic prequel to the Farseer Trilogy, 20 Jan. 2014
By 
Jo (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince (Farseer) (Hardcover)
This prequel novella to The Farseer Trilogy is just perfect! It reveals the truth behind why there is such distrust of and disgust for the Wit, and why so many people believe such awful, completely untrue things about what the Wit can do. And it all comes down to rivalry, which spawns jealousy, and leads to lies.

Two men, vying for both the crown and the heart of the same woman. One oddly marked and in possession of the Wit, and rightful heir to the throne, the other the King's nephew, older, charming, and knowing how to work a crowd. An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. Until there's only one final outcome.

It's great getting to see the whole story, not just because of what happened to the Piebald Prince, but because of what happened with his mother, Princess Caution. If things were different there, then maybe things would have been different with the Prince. There's so much to come out, and if only people in the present day Six Duchies knew the truth, how easier life would be for the Witted!

I can't really say much more, I don't want to spoil this awesome story! But it's fantastic to get to see the truth! And hopefully, the truth will come out one day...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So why is this a good addition to the Farseer Collection?, 25 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince (Farseer) (Hardcover)
A beautiful little back story into the Tales of the First witted Farseer Prince, as hinted at in both the assasins and fools trilogies, its a very well written short story, but i wont give any *SPOILERS*, just too say if you wanted to be whisked back to old buckeep castle and peek through the eyes of the folk of old buck then this will appeal to anyone who has read through Ms. Hobbs previous collections
(However I wouldn't reccomend this as a stand alone novel to someone who hasn't read any of the Farseer trilogies. If you were hoping for a quick introduction to Ms. Hobbs style you may be better served by trying Assassins Aprentice as the depth, detail and characterisation in this Novella do not do justice to her full Novels.)
My only complaint is that this Novella fails to give the full story behind all the politics and predjuces involved, and lacks the depth & detail i've come to expect from this fantastic author. This really would have been a very satisfying full novel, and the desire for more leaves a diminished impression of an otherwise very good story, that no completist should be without
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book, 3 May 2013
By 
R. Strode "Rosie Strode" (near London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This is Hobb at her best - a beautiful story, told with charm and finesse. The illustrations fit perfectly; and although it isn't a very long book (I read it all in one sitting) it is much better to have quality rather than quantity.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely written...but hardly essential, 9 April 2013
By 
Manly Reading (Brisbane, QLD, AUST) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Alright, this is nicely written, and completely up to Robin Hobb's usual standard. Sub Press have made a nice little 150-page book, and thrown in two gorgeous colour plates that actually do add to the text. Its two linked parts, each reflecting a titular character some years apart. It does provide us with an understanding of why certain attitudes were the way they were in the Farseer series.

But having said all that, I kinda wonder why this was written. Its all ancient history from the perspective of the Farseer/Liveship series we have to date, and simple prejudice serves as well as any other explanation: and for all that there are some nuances and shades of grey involved here, basically it all boils down to prejudice and lust for power: stuff we already knew.

So, for the price, think before you buy. If you have enough spare cash, and like Robin Hobb, feel free to plonk it down: but after an hour or so's reading, dont expect to attain Enlightenment, or even a great "a-ha" moment in which you see the Farseer trilogies in a whole new light. Its a book, well made and a good read. But dont regard it as essential: you need not read it simply because it is there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cannot read it on my iPad, 4 Dec. 2013
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I have noticed that other readers complained that there was something wrong with the Kindle version of this book. Have not tried it on my Kindle yet but I read a lot of my books on my iPad mini using the Kindle app. It is usually great. But this book's format is just strange and impossible to read so I returned it for a refund. Some people said it was only compatible with the Kindle Fire so maybe that was the problem. Strange for Amazon to do something like this, but with all the returns and refunds they might realise it and sort this out. For now, I cannot buy the electronic version. Disappointing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Look at the past of Popular Fantasy Series, 30 May 2014
This review is from: The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince (Farseer) (Hardcover)
This is not a long book, in fact novella probably bet suits it. Returning to Hobbs Five Duchies home of such characters as Fitz and the fool, it takes the reader to the past. There is mention in the main novels - The Assassin novels and Fool books of a legend about the ruling Farseer family, of the horrific tale of the Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince. There are songs and stories all of which are quite dramatic and bloody not painting either character in the best of lights, serving to tell how the animal affinity magic, The Wit entered the Farseer family, and how it became so despised.

This book is a first hand account of the story written by someone who was there and witnessed the events at the time, a scroll that was then hidden away to be found at a later date. It tells the true tale, something that has been distorted and retold over the years, but the scrolls writer is prepared throughout to insist on her own honesty, and when you take into account her alleged connection with both the characters it makes you wonder just how honest she is being.

Hobb is obviously one of the best fantasy writers around today, and this slight ambiguity adds a level of distrust to the story that really works. You want to believe her version of events but there is just the slight doubt brought on by her insistence that what she tells is the truth.

The title basically says what the story is: A wilful princess who has her own way until it leads to a royal pregnancy, and her child the Piebald prince. It follows how he is seen at court and how he manages or tries to fit in, and ultimately in the way it ends, and it cannot end well.

As a whole the story works really well, gives a piece of history that readers have asked for, showing it in a different way to what might have been expected, while still giving that sliver of doubt that the events told here might not be exactly what really happened. Especially the twist ending.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The truth behind the myth, 18 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince (Farseer) (Hardcover)
Those who read the Farseer Trilogy will probably remember the story of the Piebald Prince as it was first written. Over 15 years later, it's fascinating and quite unique to any fan to have the reality behind the myth revealed. I've never come across an author that has done such a thing before.

Firstly, it's important to establish this book for what it is- it's not a full length novel. It's 157 pages, which include a few beautiful illustrations throughout. There are 2 parts, so it reads like 2 linked short stories. The prose is beautifully written, and it reads much like a fable, with little character interaction. Nonetheless, I found the characters to be expressed very strongly, as it's written from a first person perspective. It's also important to say that by fable I do not mean a fairy tale- more akin to the original dark Brother's Grimm than the Disney interpretations. It's a shame that the rating of this work seems to have been bought down by some people who purchased the book misunderstanding what the content would be, and not checking the length first. So I wanted to clear that up.

I do agree with others that at present the price is a little steep for the length of it. However, it's so well written that personally I'd pay double that. Still, if this is your first run into Hobb, perhaps hold out for the paperback release or until the price goes down to what you're comfortable paying. You could also try one of her longer works to see if her writing style speaks to you or not- the word count and quality are generally very generous for the pricing.

As to this book- the prose is smooth and flawless, the plot is well paced- the length well suits this particular tale, and I'm thankful she didn't pad it out to make it longer. The characters are far from perfect; manipulative, cowardly, and very realistic, yet there are few you could say are evil. I particularly like the first person telling- how the protagonist strives to give an unbiased account, yet her own opinions show against her will nonetheless. There are 2 beautiful colour illustrations at the beginning, with over a dozen black and white throughout the text.

In conclusion, for me, worth every penny.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great for lovers of Hobb's Farseer Trilogy, 27 Jun. 2014
By 
Jim J-R (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince (Farseer) (Hardcover)
This novella is a prequel to Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series, an epic fantasy made up of four trilogies (although one had four books), though this is most reminiscent of the first of these. The story has two main characters, mentioned in the title, and tells the story of their lives from the point of view of a common member of the court. It’s a really interesting way to tell the story that makes a lot of in-universe sense and really draws the reader in to the range of characters presented.

Although short (I read it in two days, and was deliberately taking it slow to make it last), the book is a riot of emotions and Hobb manages to flit between tragic and lighter moments with ease. The tale is really well-crafted and flows at exactly the right pace. Unlike some of her previous shorter works, I felt this was the perfect length, reminiscent of her original Farseer trilogy without retreading material, and providing a little bit of insight into something that was hinted at in the original novels.

I absolutely loved this brief visit back to the Six Duchies, but I think a big part of that is because I’ve read the original trilogy - I don’t think it would be as appealing to someone who hadn’t.
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The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince (Farseer)
The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince (Farseer) by Robin Hobb (Hardcover - 24 Oct. 2013)
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