by Robin Hobb
Review: So, in this lengthy tale, we have a collision of cultural instances that fail to mesh without regard to inventiveness. What the author implements are established Earth-type eras mashed together to form a story line on a Dragons backbone.
Arrrrghhhhh me mateys we have Pirates!!! (1660-1730). Plying the open seas in search of booty with dashing Captain Kennitt manipulating his way to your heart. In Bingtown, the land of traders, societal decorum (how and to whom one presents themselves), fashion interludes and the fear of social ostracism were the common presentations (Victorian era: 1837-1901). In a not-so-faraway land called Jamailia scantily clad woman with turbans and sheik-like governors rule as nobility (Satraps: 648-530 BCE). In the Six Duchies we have a big boned people that like to hunt, ride horsies and fight with broadswords while swearing fealty to King and castle (Medieval era: 6th-16th century). Cram it all together and there is your world.
Besides the YA bent on this novel, where all pivotal events turn around those that are dumbest, men were depicted as slavers, sociopaths, rapists, ignoramuses, petty, juvenile, narcissistic, cruel and banal. Boys were genial, smart, well spoken, knowledgeable, wise beyond their years, clairvoyant, prophetic and devoted to a fault. Women were smart, feisty, resolved, cunning but not manipulative, beautiful and demure, and bold and intensely protective of the familial. Within this construct floated a myriad of characters that failed to develop into anything worth reading about as from this flowed a penchant for fairy tale like resolutions.
This trilogy was hard to get through. It was lengthy due to the re-iteration of the story line that came before, and long-winded pedantic diatribe about a persons feewings that had nothing to do with building character or enhancing the story. The YA’s in this novel (Althea, Malta, Brashen etc.) are stupid to a fault and mired in their own narcissistic tendencies. How they muddle their way through is only a gift by Deuce Ex as most people would be dead. There was way too much time spent on social decorum or describing a room down to a rug that has tattered edges. The only things likable were the Rain Wilders and the Dragon.
This was in no way even close to being as good as the Farseer trilogy.