Monday, July 27, 2009

Fool's Errand

I can honestly state that I haven't cried over a fictional animal dying since I was 8 and saw "Ole Yeller". But this book had me bawling like a baby. Unfortunately for me, I was just about to get on my bus for the ride home and people who see me everyday were noticeably worried. I could only croak out "Nighteyes". One like minded literary soul sagely nodded and noted, "Ah, made me cry too."

The "Fool's Errand" is the first book of the second series concerning the characters from the Farseer trilogy. This series is named the Tawny Man and is set some 15 years in the future from when we last encountered Fitz. The story centers around Fitz being recalled to Buckkeep to help find the lost prince. Dutiful (I truly hate her names) has been apparently kidnapped by the Witted, whom have used the legend of the "Witted Bastard" to rally around. In truth, Dutiful has inherited his father's magic (his biological father) and also has the ability to bond with animals.

Also returning in this series is the Fool. I assumed that you had that figured out already based on the name, but one can never be too sure about the sharpness of one's readers. He is no longer the White Prophet of before and has now turned a nice shade of gold. I'm sure that the color change is signifcant somehow, but it's too early in the tale to figure out why. Fitz now goes by the name Tom Badgerlock and becomes Lord Golden's servent (and yes Lord Golden is the Fool). In this way, both of them are able to hide their true identities and still reside at the castle.

After "Assassin's Quest" it would be difficult to achieve the same level of drama and action. While this is still a good story, it didn't appeal to me as much as the last book did. If anything, I felt that the story moved too slow and the "chase" to Dutiful was too drawn out. The climax felt a little contrived and felt as if the entire story were a machination of Chade to get Fitz to become the next Skillmaster, which he does eventually with some trepedation. If I compare this book to "Assassin's Quest" I'm disappointed. However, if I compare it to "Assassin's Apprentice" then I'm more satisfied. I'm begining to see that when Robin Hobb sets out to tell a story, the first two books of a trilogy are just plotlines to build to a truly exciting finish. I hope that is the case.

However, as I started the review I noted at how touching it was to read of Nighteyes fate. I was very pleased with the way which Robin allowed for that character to choose his own ending. The closeness that Fitz had with his companion could never truly be put to words, but I felt like I lost a friend when he went on his last hunt. Farewell my friend, you will be missed.