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Date Posted: 17:31:38 09/24/04 Fri
Author: Syl
Subject: Three Trilogies

This was sent in by Annie O. Thanks, Annie! She says these are her SECOND favourite series!

TITLES: The Farseer Trilogy
 Assassin’s Apprentice
 Royal Assassin
 Assassin’s Quest

The Liveships Traders Trilogy
 Ship of Magic
 Mad Ship
 Ship of Destiny

The Tawny Man Trilogy
 Fool’s Errand
 Golden Fool
 Fool’s Fate

AUTHOR: Robin Hobb

GENRE: Fantasy

Hobb creates a complicated and wonderful fantasy world in which all of these books take place, rather medieval, with a deep awareness of extra-sensory (to us mere humans) communication. I found myself thinking that perhaps this is what our world would be like if we had no internal combustion engines, and hadn’t replaced a lot of our gut feelings and daily chores with ‘advanced technology.’

The Farseer Triology deals with relationships between humans and animals, and two specific but conflicting super-sensory talents available to a limited number of the human population: the Skill and the Wit. It follows the life and training of FitzChivalry Farseer, (a bastard son of ‘king-in-waiting’ Chivalry), who is reared by the stablemaster of the royal family. An outcast whose existence has forced his father to abdicate his position, Fitz is ignored by all royalty but King Shrewd (his grandfather), who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. The culture of this part of the world is warlike and competitive. Contrasting cultures in neighboring countries bring interesting comparisons to our own cultures and history.

The second trilogy, The Liveships Traders, deals with a seafaring & trading people (trade is anathema to the Farseer culture), and the relationships among sea serpents, humans, and dragons, and all sorts of magic. The liveships have extraordinary personalities and partner with specific people, and come gradually to life as generations pass in the families that own them. When Althea Vestrit attempts to recover her family’s liveship, Vivacia, after it is taken over by her older sister’s unscrupulous husband, adventures arise! Understanding of life aboard ships is reminiscent of Patrick O’Brian, and characteristics of seafaring folk are meticulously described, with a very interesting pirate being one of the protagonists. The presence of strong female characters creates great plot tensions, and much cultural conflict occurs in this trilogy as well.

The Tawny Man books weave plot lines and intrigues from the preceding books together by centering on a character that is encountered throughout. In attempts to cement relations with traditional enemies, royal houses arrange a marriage which hinges upon a seemingly unattainable quest. Riddles are unraveled amid culture-clash and betrayal. The last of the trilogy is purposefully lugubrious and verrrrra slow, following the intrepid travelers on a seemingly never ending quest, but the denouement is definitely worth the trip!

Hobb is just a fantastic storyteller – a self-described “word person.” You care deeply about the characters and the events in their lives. I read the first two trilogies out of order (the three Ships books first) and it didn’t seem to make a whole lot of difference, though you should wait to read the 3 Tawny Man books until you digest the first 6, or it won’t make much sense. I found myself thinking with great delight that if the human mind can come up with ideas like this – then there’s hope for us all! I read them just before I discovered the Outlander series, and though they are much more descriptive and contain less dialogue (and there’s not much mmphing!), they don’t pale in comparison.

Hobb also writes fantasy under the name Megan Lindholm.

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[> I am just starting Fools Fate and have really been loving this whole series. I have read all in order one after the other, and am just amazed at the complex world Hobb has created. In my opinion, the depth and detail she has put into this rivals another of our favorite authors *g* and is easily a very close second on my list of favorite series. Thanks for a great, well written review Annie O. I think your descriptions of their magics is perfect. I was trying to explain it to my dh who has not read the books, but I think now I'll just let him read your review! : ) -- Shana, 12:38:17 09/26/04 Sun

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[> I usually steer clear of fantasy, but your review has me intrigued so I am thinking about adding these to my book list. Thanks so much! -- beccabee, 14:48:34 09/27/04 Mon

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[> [> These were the first fantasy books (well, LOTR, maybe) i'd ever read, and imagine my delight when the person who gave me robin hobb's books presented me next with Outlander!! wonder what she'll come up with next? IMHO, though - can't top DG!! -- annieo, 06:06:09 09/30/04 Thu

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[> [> Go ahead, beccabee, try one! I also steer clear of sci fi, but these have such a _human_ feel to them, they draw you right in & keep you there. I got these from the library because I wasn't sure I'd want to keep them - but they're so good I'll be buying them as I do a reread. -- MaryJ, 14:22:52 10/06/04 Wed

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[> Thank you for this nice review!!! Sadly (or thank God *G*) my tbr is already very high and I said it below already, I'm not really into fantasy, but I've heard so much praise on Robin Hobb already, I might try her one day. Thanks again! -- Antje, 11:30:43 09/28/04 Tue

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[> Wow! What a fantastic review, Annie O! I have heard so many great things about these series - they've been on my list for a while. I wish someone would pay me to read all day! *g* -- GinC, 13:21:00 09/28/04 Tue

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[> What a way to put these books in a nutshell, Annie, great job. These are also my second favorite series (the Outlander series beats it by a smidge thanks the mmphmming). If anyone is not sure about these, just try one - you'll be hooked. -- MaryJ, 14:17:38 10/06/04 Wed

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