Author: Robin Hobb
Title: Fool’s Fate
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Synopsis: Kingdoms will stand or fall on the beat of a dragon’s wings, or a Fool’s heart.
Prince Dutiful has been charged with a quest to the Outisland to take the head of the black dragon Icefyre. Only then will his betrothed marry him and cement the alliance between their warring kingdoms.
But is Icefyre just a legend? Or does he truly slumber beneath the glaciers? Fitz has prevented his friend the Fool from accompanying them the Fool has foreseen his own death if he ever sets foot on the isle of the black dragon. But as their ship draws in towards Aslevjal a lone figure awaits them…
This is going to be a sketchy review in terms of plot-points. One of the things I love about Robin Hobb’s writing is that she isn’t afraid to get your hopes up, then dashing them, or leaving you laughing and crying within the space of a chapter. The unexpected makes these such an immersive read, and I’m going to make sure I don’t take that away from anyone who hasn’t read them yet.
As the final book in The Tawny Man trilogy, I knew it would be emotional. Fool’s Fate exceeded all expectations, leaving me an emotional mess by the end.
The length means the plot is complicated, twisting and engaging. I’ve read entire trilogies that are as long as this one book. But as all three have been this length, it really gives the characters time to develop in a meaningful and realistic way as events unfold.
A complex plot of twisting emotions and allegiances, with betrayal and love taking centre stage as the characters learn what they can cope with both physically and emotionally. From long, draining voyages, to the passions of young love, from ice and dragons to embracing the past: a lot happens! The length, however, means it is able to be set over an extended period of time, so changes and developments never feel rushed.
Fitz remains Fitz: making life hard for himself and having to deal with hardships that no man can dream of. Once again, the fate of the Farseer reign rests on the decisions Fitz has to make – and he is all too aware of shouldering this burden. Despite this weight, he is given the chance to revisit childhood memories (and friends) and I love his reflections on how he was a young man. It shows how much he has matured over the course of the books.
‘…when you let go and follow your fate instead of trying to twist your life around and master it, a man finds that happiness follows him.’
But what also shows Fitz’ progression is Dutiful. In the course of three books, he has transformed from a teenager who hates Fitz, to a young man determined to do his duty, regardless. It also shows him falling in love, a hilarious reminder of when Fitz was ruled by his passions as well. Dutiful grows up, and it’s done subtly until you suddenly realise he isn’t a boy any longer.
Despite not being present for a large chunk of the book, the Fool is as enigmatic as ever, charming and heart-breaking at the same time. The bond between him and Fitz is such a deep friendship, something more than friendship, that you can’t help be emotionally invested in their relationship.
Old and new characters alike make an appearance, all having an impact on the reader – and on Fitz. No one feels superfluous which, given the number of characters, is no mean feat.
Fool’s Fate made me laugh and it made me cry. It reminded me how much of a buzz I get when reading such an engaging fantasy book.
I’m certainly not waiting that length of time before I pick up another Robin Hobb book!