In keeping with my promise to do something about all those "books waiting to be read" on the shelves of my loft, I've decided to read a series that everyone seems to have enjoyed to an immense degree. Yet I have to admit that it was with trepidation that I elected to read this novel. The Farseer trilogy stands among my favourite series of all time, and rightfully so! Hence, I was wondering if Robin Hobb could somehow do it all over again. The first trilogy hit the fantasy genre by storm, and readers the world over fell in love with Fitz and company. The author followed The Farseer with The Liveship Traders trilogy, establishing herself as one of the brightest voices in the genre today. But there is always a danger in returning to a tale that touched so many people, in so many different ways.
Well, Mrs. Hobb more than rose to the challenge. Once again, she set the bar pretty high with the first volume of The Tawny Man trilogy. I've read the original series when it was released, which means that it's been close to a decade since I've last visited the Six Duchies.
It was pure delight to be re-introduced not only to FitzChivalry and Nighteyes, but to Chade Fallstar and the Fool as well. A third of Fool's Errand does just that: it re-introduces us to all those characters that made the first trilogy so great, letting us know just how they have evolved in the last 15 years.
As always, Hobb's characterizations are of the first order. In my opinion, no author in the genre today can create deeply realized characters like Robin Hobb can. She simply has a knack for it, it seems.:-) And the character growth that we witness in this series is nothing short of brilliant. In addition, the deeply involved humanity that permeates every character and their relationships ensures that everything Hobb touches turns to gold!
As was the case in her previous two series, the author's prose truly stands out. The narrative is fluid and vivid, grasping the reader and not letting go. And the fact that this one is again written in the first person (Fitz's POV) makes Fool's Errand a very special read.
But it's the way Robin Hobb captures every emotion, good or bad, which makes this one so captivating. This is a work that reaches out and touches you.:-)
As is often the case, this first volume sets up what will come after, although it is not just one big introduction. There is some resolution at the end, even though the door is wide open for a lot more to come!
We do learn a little more about the mysterious Fool, the Skill, the Wit, and how the bond between man and animal truly works. I am persuaded that the next two volumes will be richer in details. And yet, Fool's Errand has everything that fantasy fans could ask for. Not since Weis and Hickman returned to the Dragonlance universe with Dragons of Summer Flame have I enjoyed returning to a setting and characters to such a degree.
Robin Hobb has done it again, folks! If you have enjoyed The Farseer trilogy and have not yet started this sequel, do yourself a favour and buy this novel!;-) You won't regret it!
The final verdict: 9/10