My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This new entry in the Fitz and Fool saga brings the reader right back into the wonder and intrigue of the Six Duchies. I wish I'd had time to go back and re-read the other two trilogies (the Farseer Trilogy and the Tawny Man Trilogy), since they were my favorites of hers in this world. I don't remember such foreshadowing in the other books, nor the impatience of reading whilst thinking that the main character is such an oblivious fool. And I am all uncertain whether I should reveal why I thought so from the beginning page, but I will treat it as a spoiler. Nevertheless, I am sure you will realize far before Tom does the target of the mysterious intruders, and the identity of the unexpected son.
Is the Fool still alive? Why has he never contacted Fitz, now known as Tom, living in happiness and peace at long last, enjoying Molly's love? Unlike some readers, I do not chafe at the long descriptions of bucolic country life and dear daughter Bee's childhood. Let them enjoy their happiness, and me with them, until the wide world intrudes. Here we revisit again the differences between Skill and Wit, the native magics--Skill being a bit more abstract, controlling, and intellectual, and Wit being what some call beast magic. For some of us who might have waited to read the Rainwilds Chronicles until complete (finished recently, not yet read by me), this was a needed, leisurely reintroduction to this world and culture.
So cons: a little slow-moving, sometimes a confusing transition between Fitz/Tom's first-person narration and daughter Bee's first-person narration. And of course people die that you don't want to. Pros: I do love the mind and imagination of Robin Hobbs. Bee is amazing.Father Wolf. Unnamed cat. Stable boy Per.
Recommended--but begin at the beginning. I'll be starting there again, in the year we wait for the next installment! Bravo!
I received an e-galley for review from Del Rey and Netgalley.
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