Book review: The Farseer Trilogy

Farseer trilogy

The Farseer Trilogy traces the life of FitzChivalry Farseer, a royal bastard who gives up everything he’s ever known to train as an assassin at court. His role escalates as the trilogy progresses, playing a central part in the war between The Six Duchies Kingdom and The Red-Ship Raiders. These raiders seek to Forge innocent inhabitants of the kingdom – eliminating their human nature and turning them to cannibalism and destruction.

This trilogy presents traditional tropes of the fantasy genre, from politics and corruption, to magic, quests, rivalry and romance. It can be easy to tire of these clichés but Robin Hobb’s (Margaret Astrid Lindholm) writing is nothing short of refreshing. Adopting a first person narrative, Hobb’s literary style allows the reader to surrender themselves completely to her fictional world and its characters.

Her style breathes life into each character and creates a stunning authenticity within complex, layered, relationships that grow throughout each installment. Through Fitz, the reader encounters characters that often augment elements of his nature – such as the stubbornness of his friend Burrich. At other times, characters compliment the protagonist – such as The Fool who almost parallels Fitz. The relationship between them both is one of the most beautiful aspects of The Farseer Trilogy and is a large focus in the third installment, Assassin’s Quest, making it incredibly hard to put down.

The world is often an isolated place for Fitz. His life is constantly at risk and those closest to him can never truly understand him unless they have the Skill: a telepathic power that lets users share strength, ideas and conversations. This creates some really intimate moments, making The Farseer Trilogy one of the most precious series I have ever read. Robin Hobb intricately embeds comfort in a lonely world through Nighteyes, a wolf who becomes bonded to Fitz through the use of Wit magic. This magic is similar to the Skill, but is used by those of Old Blood and is shared between humans and animals. Nighteyes is a truly brilliant construction. Acting only on instinct rather than socially created rules, the wolf embodies the truest morality in a corrupt world. Hobb’s ability to entwine man with beast yet treat them as separate entities throughout the second and third installment is just another example of her impressive literary skill.

In reviewing this trilogy, I am unable to touch much on the plot without giving things away. There is also too much ground to cover, as there are characters. I have only written about those who were most significant in my reading. For the first time in a long time, I felt a pull towards books. Not just for the sake of having something to read, but because Fitz was familiar – a friend who I needed to get back to, to see what was coming next, to hope that it would all work out. Never have I read a series of books so slowly in the hope that it would never end. Unfortunately, The Farseer Trilogy didn’t deliver the happy ending that I had expected or wanted. You can only imagine how thrilled I was to discover that the trilogy fits into the wider Realm of Elderings series, which features over 10 more books. The Farseer Trilogy has been one of my favourite reads throughout 2015 and Robin Hobb will certainly dominate my reading for much of 2016.

 

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