Fool’s Quest (The Fitz & The Fool Trilogy #2)
by Robin Hobb.
First things first, if you are new to Robin Hobb’s Realms of the Elderlings books, stop reading this blog post immediately and go pick up Assassin’s Apprentice. Then make your way through the rest of the Farseer trilogy, the Liveship traders trilogy, the Tawny Man trilogy, the Rain Wild Chronicles, and then the first book of this trilogy. Yes, that’s 14 books before the events of this book, and even though that’s a serious long haul of a series, I promise you it is worth it. This is, I think, my all-time favorite fantasy series, just as good at book 15 as book 1. And if you know me at all, you know it’s a Big F’in Deal for me to say that. The world building is solid and amazing, and the characters… this is just hands-down, absolute top-notch character writing. These books will give you all of the feels. You will both laugh out loud, need Kleenex, whoop, and need to set the book down momentarily because of dread. I wish I could go into some of the details, but doing so and remaining spoiler-free across 14 books is impossible. So go read so we can geek out about these, please, before I burst at the seams!
Ahem. So, back to this newest book at hand. This series sees us back in Fitz’s life in the Six Duchies, after the detour of the Rain Wild Chronicles. Book 1 saw Fitz’s quiet retirement upset by some unexpected and violent happenings. Book 2 is much more intense and action-packed, since we are already past the overview/build-up establishing his quiet life. Robin Hobb had said on Twitter while writing this that she had waited 10 years to write a certain line, and I knew exactly which one it was. You will, too, if you’re a fan of the series. It’s been a long time coming. There were tears.
This book in general is where ALL the different storylines and characters and plot points from the previous 14 books really start to converge. AND IT IS SO SATISFYING. I don’t know if I can convey how satisfying if you haven’t read all of the books. The Fool is back, as is Lady Amber and a new character called Mage Grey. Malta and Reyn, Tats and Thymara all show up. Paragon is obliquely mentioned, which made me smile. We get a look at how the Farseer royals have matured. And none of the interactions are quite what you expect, especially with a pretty major political shift that happens midway through.
This book also threw a few surprises my way. The first book I knew exactly where it was going; this one I did not, which I like. Fitz is the main narrator, but the secondary narrator from book 1 also has some page time in this book. It did end on a double-cliffhanger, but all in all it was a good place to end this book. The pacing was right, and after the emotional intensity of this one it’s probably good that the rest is deferred to book 3. Book 3 is going to be EPIC, though.
In case you can’t tell, I highly recommend this book. It officially comes out on August 11th, so get crackin’ if you’re not caught up on the series!