18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A book worth waiting for,
This review is from: Fool's Errand (The Tawny Man Trilogy, Book 1) (Hardcover)
After having immensely enjoyed "The Farseer Trilogy" as well as "The Liveship Traders Trilogy" - which both had satisfying endings, but left some few loose ends as well - I was eagerly awaiting Robin Hobb's new trilogy. And it was worthwhile waiting.
Hobb's stories have to be enjoyed with a certain taste for people and characters. Her storylines and plots range in the interesting and captivating, but not too unusual (no offense meant) areas of high fantasy. Her geography and history of The Land are developed just enough to support what's going on - and to just subtly hint at a bit more outside of the story. But her real strengths are characters, their development, and their interactions.
In "Fool's Errand", we encounter quite a few of acquaintances from both (!) her former two trilogies, though in some cases you have to have read those books in order to get some of the finer points. But they have developed - both in age and relationship to their world and to each other, both in a good and a not so good way. And their developments are credible ones. For instance, there is no doubt that Fitz of "The Farseer Trilogy" is the same individual as Fitz of "Fool's Errand"; but the fifteen years that have passed have left traces we can identify and accept and believe in. You can feel, too, that Hobb took great pains to make every single character singular and very believable - even those that at first sight appear to be minor ones. So, one of the main delights in reading this book is watching her characters interact with one another and go on in their development while the story unfolds.
The story itself "suffers" from a few of the usual problems of being the first in a trilogy. There are some changes of pace here - there is a rather long period of exposition, of setting up the main character pieces (which isn't so bad as, as I pointed out, characters and their interactions are the main focus anyway), while the later hunt and subsequent story parts appear rather rushed to me. The end of the book is not quite the dramatic cliffhanger, but you feel it well open-ended enough to eagerly wait for the next installment. You may well speculate, but taking into account the way Hobb handled her other storylines, we may very well be in for quite a few surprises.