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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-12-11 17:02
There were FEELS but now there are thoughts
Fool's Assassin - Robin Hobb

...a few ranty and rambly at least.


And I'm serious about the spoilers. There'll be plenty.


If I were to rate the audio narration of Elliot Hill, the stars would be full. I mean, he's the first voice for Fitz whose name I've bothered to learn. His interpretation of cats' voices is the best and blissfully non-nasal and he's the only reason why I could tell the two first person voice narrators of this book apart. There should be a difference between a ten-year-old girl and thirty-something-sixty year-old-man, but damn if I could tell what from Hobb's words.


You noticed that, did you. Multiple first person voice narrators. Deduct two stars from the maximum!


Speaking of Hobb's other sins, on the meta-level first, I'm furious and frustrated that she's done it again. She spent the last chapter(s) of the Tawny Man trilogy sweeping all issues under the rug to give Fitz a happy ending. Not that he hadn't earned his happiness way back in the Farseer trilogy, but not that particular happy ending and not in Tawny Man.


Hobb never showed Fitz actually working to regain Molly's trust or build a relationship with Nettle or accept his other responsibilities at the Buckkeep Castle. Nope, he went into hiding again. With convenient plot-point-tropy Molly.


Of course, to add insult to injury, instead of showing how Nettle gets to know Fitz as her father and him earning the right to hear her call that, Hobb does a do-over and gives Fitz another child. A second daughter, who too is at first only close to her mother and only becomes Fitz's when he claims her after Molly's death. And then the plot recycling continues with the cliffhanger kidnapping. Yet another Fitz's child is kidnapped and he has to go after her.


Don't try to tell me Fitz doesn't consider Dutiful as his son. Fitz may have tried to convince himself that Dutiful is Verity's but nowhere in Tawny Man or Fool's Assassin does he act like Verity fathered Dutiful. This goes with the author telling how good an assassin Fitz is when he's not, and now claiming through Riddle and Nettle that he's not a good father when he is—a few questionable parenting choices excluded.


Anyhow, this is the story Hobb chose to tell, and ignoring my complaints on all the stories she didn't choose... I'm still not convinced. Or compelled.


There's infinitely less rape here, but that's because not much happens for the first half or two thirds of the book–the minutes and hours make the measure a bit fuzzy. Fitz is happy and horny. He's forever young while Molly's not but their sex life is A-OK. And then Molly's pregnancy happens. Listening to it made me realise that even I don't hate Molly as much as Hobb does.


While the abnormally long pregnancy after menopause for a White child in itself makes sense, I felt like Hobb was breaking her own canon here. Later, she admits as much through The Fool when he claims that he too was deceived and he was only repeating lies told to him. Which, fair, is believable after the unnecessary nonsense that happened in the Tawny Man to draw parallels between the abuse of The Fool and the Narcheska. Only, I didn't really buy it then I don't definitely buy it now.


So I'm going with the "canon creator alternative universe"-label with these books. I'll read or listen to them and then promptly adopt a personal head canon in its multitudes. And in all of those, there's no child hanging on to Fitz's shirt tails when he reunites with his Beloved.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-11-11 18:10
It turns out I can both hate and love the same book
Fool's Fate - Robin Hobb

I first read the Farseer trilogy when I was about fifteen, in Finnish. I first read the Tawny Man trilogy about ten years later in English.


To this day I love how the Farseer ends and not just, because it's not the same old where the hero saves the day, gets the girl and lives happily ever after. It's because in all its depressive misery, it is an emotionally satisfying ending. For me.


After all he's been through Fitz deserves some peace and quiet.


And then the Tawny Man happened. The first time I read these books I loved, loved, loved them up until the second half-last quarter of the third book. On second this second read, I realise it's only the last three or four chapters that I loathe. Well, those and the gay-panic scene.


Fool's Fate and thus the Tawny Man trilogy doesn't have an end, it has a tacked on baby-epilogue-like chapters that undo all the emotional build up of Fool's Errand and The Golden Fool. Those last few chapters also cheapen Molly's character into a trophy.


Hobb leaves the story unfinished. She skips the emotional resolution of all those delicious complications she created for Fitz in these six books, just like she skipped Althea's rape in the Liveship Traders trilogy. Hobb's asking the readers to believe that recovery happens at the snap of her fingers.


And that's what Fitz's *happy* ending is here, an unearned wish granted by a genie.


I know I should be happy that by choosing to end the story this way, Hobb basically reaffirms that The Fool is the love of Fitz's life and that my ship is stronger than ever even if the boys are apart.


But I'm sorry, that's not enough. As much as I love, love, love these characters, reading Hobb's work in my thirties has opened my eyes to the flaws. The way she uses flowing florid language to distract reader from lack of content or actual plot progression. Or character growth. The way she uses rape to explain ALL ILLS including Burrich's abuse of Fitz—it's her preferred shortcut and it's really tiring. The way she breaks her own canon...


I used to say that the Tawny Man reads like fanfiction of her own work. I was wrong. It reads like bad fanfiction. It reads like Hobb wanted to explain herself to all her critics. It reads like her admitting she wrote lazily in the Farseer. It reads like her going back to her cash cow—I've read other Hobb books and none of them are as compelling without the Fitz and The Fool.


An author can't explain her canon without diminishing it, or maybe it can be done, but not by Hobb.


I accept the story, Hobb's canon, but that doesn't make any of her books good. It's really too bad I lost my heart to these characters decades ago and now I have to know. I just have to know.

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review 2015-08-30 15:52
Lanyon is ruined for me.
All She Wrote - Josh Lanyon

Since I last read Josh Lanyon's book and stumbled on a racist remark, I've been avoiding reading his work. Alas, relapses happen.


I liked these characters then and now and I like Lanyon's writing apart from the smut, but I can't unsee what I've seen and now the racist and misogynistic remarks and paedophile glorification jump out to sour all the things I used to like.


The nostalgia is there, but it's time for a break-up.





But when the next relapse happens, it'll be with these characters.

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review 2015-02-19 18:33
That silver lining didn't last long
Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time, #13; A Memory of Light, #2) - Robert Jordan,Brandon Sanderson,Kate Reading,Michael Kramer

The author change did improve the quality of the writing in the sense of cutting down the purple in the purplest of proses. But as a downside of the improved craft, it highlights the disturbing content of the writing.


The misogynistic taint that undermines the so-called-but-not-really-powerful-after-all strong women of the series. The ridiculous premise of gender determining and distinguishing how people use and control the fantasy magic. That this is nothing but the boyz's story. The harmful allusion that insanity can be cured.


All the things I've mentioned before and conveniently forgotten.


And to add insult to injury, the White Wizard of The Wheel of Time series doesn't save herself but is saved by three men.


I hope Jordan is enjoying his reborn life as a woman who hates all things Wheel of Time.








P.S. Still shipping Mat and Birgitta.


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review 2014-10-08 17:21
Robert Jordan continues to be the worst
Lord of Chaos - Robert Jordan

...and I keep reading, er, listening. I'd probably have shredded the paperbook already. As it is, I'll suffer through these as I move about. Yes, my sanity is in question.

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