“Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb’s books are diamonds in a sea of zircons.”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

This is the first trilogy in a joined series by Robin Hobb with the overall title of “The Elderlings” but can easily be enjoyed on its own.

The story is told from the first person perspective of the main character – Fitz – a young man born illegitimately to the heir to the throne.  It follows his life from approx. 5 years old into young adulthood.  Each chapter begins with a snippet of historical writing, the author of which is Fitz himself several years later (not a spoiler as this becomes very quickly apparent).

As a child of royalty, albeit it not in the line of succession, the direction of Fitz’s life is very quickly and comprehensively decided by others and, with the backdrop of a vicious war; he ends up involved in (and a victim of) the very murkiest of politics.

Like much fantasy, this trilogy is set in a medieval world.  If you like your fantasy ‘high’, you’re going to be disappointed.  Whilst there is magic, this world has lost much of its knowledge of such things – the magic is therefore low key and not fully understood by its practitioners.  Much of what is learned is done by trial and error, and the use of the first person means that at any given time, we only know what Fitz knows.

Hobbs has created a rich setting in the very best tradition of fantasy worldbuilding and this trilogy is an excellent introduction to it.  Her writing style is very easy to get along with, so despite the length of each book, the story moves along at a decent clip.

If you like fantasy but haven’t tried her as an author, I would definitely recommend that you do.  I would even say that Hobb’s writing would probably make this a decent introduction to the fantasy genre to those who haven’t tried it previously.

 

Reviewed by:

Debbie McCarthy

Added 24th January 2016

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Debbie McCarthy

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