Top critical review
I'm disillusioned with Hobb as a writer
Reviewed in the United States on August 16, 2018
I read the Farseer Trilogy many years ago and remember it as a beacon in a sea of terrible fantasy.
I'm afraid since then, having read the liveship trilogy and now tawny man, that I am again, cast adrift. I'm afraid to look at the Farseer trilogy any more, because I don't know if Hobb got worse, or my idea of a good novel simply changed.
Fitz is a character I feel Hobb tries to make you feel sympathy for as a flawed human, but it comes across as fishing for compliments. He's somewhat pathetic, constantly complaining about things that he has the biggest hand in. Are people really like that? Sure. But as the main protagonist, it's droll. I find the story from his perspective to be positively annoying. Hobb spends an inordinately large amount of time detailing inane things like taking a bath, but the parts that move the plot are done so quickly, or EVEN WORSE, some other character reports to Fitz what happened, and the event is not even detailed with the color or that other character's language. It's summarized by Fitz. This happens so often it actually makes me angry. I don't mind the daily life descriptions in fantasy novels. I think they are great ways to flavor the world of your story. But to make them a larger part of the text on your page is frustrating.
Hobb tries to make the reader believe certain things about other characters by having Fitz repeat over and over again what qualities Hobb wants you to believe they have. But without actually seeing those things, it comes across as hollow. The greatest example of this is his every word about Kettaricken. Kettaricken could be a stuffed animal that fitz keeps saying is so brave and strong, and I would feel the same way towards it as I do to the living breathing Kettaricken character. But there are others. Like Nettle. We get all these reports that she just cries all the time. Yet when we actually interact with us she seems capable, if naive. Also, why exactly does Hobb like to make her female characters known as criers so much?
Pale woman is 2D, boring antagonist. Why the Narwhal clan would think killing a dragon for her JUST for the ability to kill their forged family members is a good idea is beyond me. Hobb as Fitz didn't make a very good case for it, and neither did anyone else. Nothing suggested she'd stop preying on the clan once the dragon was dead. Even worse, nobody made the case that marrying the Narcheska from one hobbling clan in the outislands would be a good idea at all to the Six duchies. Didn't stop so-called master advisor Chade from being obsessed with completing it.
Ugh. I need to stop this review. It makes me sad.