Finished this book at the same time as finishing my first year of uni, almost perfect timing apart from I now have plenty of guilt free time to read but no book! Oh well. Anyway, on with the book. This is the last in a trilogy which is (as far as I currently know) the last in a chronicle which are in the same timeline in the Elderling realm. Confused? Just know that there are a lot of books to read by Robin Hobb before this one basically starting with the Assassins Apprentice.
Obviously, I have much love for this book and had a high expectation, to which it luckily didn’t disappoint. What is nice about reading books that are set in the same world, is that you will eventually get to the book where all the story lines interlink. Where main characters from each stand-alone trilogy finally meet each other. This is what this book is really, the tying of loose ends, so don’t even think about reading this before reading the others, it just won’t be the same.
Compared to other books in this chronicle that feature Fitz (the main protagonist, and my favourite mainly due to his many flaws), this book had a split narrative between him and his daughter rather than just his side of the story recounting. What is interesting about this is the fact that you get so used to just one narrative and character’s thoughts that it takes some getting used to when you read the daughters story. Plus, I’m not going to lie, I did have favourites in who’s story I preferred, but that is only because I have read like 3 trilogies narrated by Fitz so knew the character more. This is always the case with me.
Another contrast that is different to this book trilogy when compared with the chronical as a whole, is that the Fool (known by many other names too) is portrayed as heavily dependent, riddled with nightmares and weak. He is his most human in this book I think, as aspects of his past are revealed the closer they get to their destination, Clarries, home of the servants and white profits. However, what Hobb did very well was not to reveal too much. Although my curiosity was annoyed by this I did appreciate that the full depths of the Fool where not revealed as his mystery is a core part of this elusive character’s personality. This book highlights the insecurities of both the Fool and Fitz due to their pasts and clearly shows how that has shaped their future. There is a level of mistrust and distance between the characters which is nice to see for it humanizes and adds some more realistic emotions.
Bee, Fitz’s daughter, is so much like her father and not at the same time. Surprisingly I would say that this is one of the more gruesome stories Hobb as told and most of it is found in Bee’s narrative. The speed of the character development in this book is phenomenal. From her kidnapping (it says it on the book description so don’t get flustered that I’m dropping spoilers) to her arrival in Clarries, she goes from a bullied child to a strong independent character, who’s major pitfall is the natural naivety of her age. There were many times when I was left staring at the page thinking “What are you doing?!” as she looked at a situation with her childish ignorance. Very frustrating sometimes!
The ending for this book was appropriate I would say for the series. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t what I wanted, but it rarely ever is! I’m sad to see this series go and hope she does a lot of spin-offs still in the same timeframe or world.
Recommendation time. So, if you like the sound of this than read the chronicle from the beginning with the Assassins Apprentice. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any other and sadly until I go back home I won’t be able to check my physical books.