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The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

Review by noire

These three books, though quite good, are rather difficult to write a review for. For one thing, I read them a number of months ago, and for another they're...complex. The book opens with an apparently ancient man trying to record the history of his land, the Six Dutchies, for his friends only to be distracted time and again by the memory of his own personal sorrows. The fragments of history set the background for his story, a tale of pain, suffering, heroism, intrigue... and more plot convolutions than you can shake a stick at.

The bastard (hence his name) of the heir to the thrown, Fitz's existance and the associated shame causes the father he would never meet to abdicate in favor of the older of his brothers and retire to a quiet life in the country with his flighty wife. Abandoned by his maternal grandfather, Fitz was left to be tended by his father's stable master ignored by all but the king. The king made a bargain with his bastard grandson, to buy his loyalty and livelyhood as a trained assasin. And so began Fitz's unique training.

It is in the stables that Fitz makes his first friend and displays an alarming gift -- the ability to speak to and bond with animals. A gift that is seen as anthema. And thus begins his triple life: a bastard beneath notice, an invisable assasin, and an even more secret friend of dogs.

As if that weren't enough to keep any boy's plate full, the Six Dutchies are being attacked by a terrible foe -- raiders who attack towns, capture the citizens and offer to kill them for a ransom. Those not killed are "forged" a process that strips them of all humanity, making them worse than brutes without even kinship to one another. Still not complex enough? While the new heir to the thrown, Verity, tries to defend his father's kingdom he must also protect his own thrown from his half-brother Regal.

Plot summaries, though difficult for me as I love to cover every detail *g*, are a cake-walk compared to grading this series. I love Mz. Hobb's writting style and devoured every book -- until I reached the end. Then I wanted to throw it across the room and scream for I couldn't imagine how Fitz would survive the figurative kettle of boiling pitch he found himself in. I knew he had to survive to tell the story from a later date and yet I still found myself wound up tighter than a harpstring -- not a pleasant experience. The worst part is a major portion of me was praying desperately that Fitz would die just to end his suffering. This should tell you a lot about the series.

Additionally, as I read each book, the plot twisted farther and farther from where I expected it to go. Each novel would almost have served better as a stand-alone in that they seemed to have no connection to the proceeded or succeeding novels. I got the impression that Mz. Hobb was experimenting with this, her first fantasy series (she's published other novels under another Nom de Plum) and got carried away with the possibilities of what she could do without paying attention to what she had origionally set out to do.

And yet I loved the characters and their development and was absolutely enchanted by Mz. Hobb's writting style. She did such a good job of mixing discription and action that I never once became bored.

I give the series 3 out of 5 amulets (look, caly, i finally rated a book i reviewed! *lol*)

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