The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb
Returning to the fictional universe of a favoured author is often fraught with disappointment, much like returning to the playing grounds of your childhood: nothing is quite as you thought; nothing is as enjoyable or perfect.
A few years ago Robin Hobb released the first in a new series of books that I felt were horrible. I could not even finish the first book, and subsequently my entire opinion of her writing was tarnished. I had come to her late – she had already finished all nine of her Elderlings books and had written the Soldier Son trilogy which so many people had disliked – and so to have new material put in front of me only to so dislike it was truly disappointing.
I may need to go back and revisit those books, because having just read her novella ‘The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince’ I feel I may have done her an injustice.
Reading Hobb’s original trilogy will reveal to the interested party mention of this tale, a tale passed down through the ages of how a pretender to the throne was thwarted by the rightful heir. Needless to say, history is written by the victors and this novella sets the record straight – as I believe was hinted at throughout Hobb’s original trilogy.
The story is told in two parts: part one is entitled ‘The Wilful Princess’ and is the better of the two, being a traditional first person narrative of events. The second part – ‘The Piebald Prince’ – is told from the perspective of the same narrator, but based mostly on events as told to the narrator by another party, which creates a distressing mode to the story. Throughout much of the tale the narrator continually refers to the desire of the original teller for truth in the retelling, and how that same teller related events to her, and therefore they were true.
It is a device that was not done very well, but could have been excellent if left to the right hands.
Nevertheless the story that is portrayed – a single long story told over two parts – is quite enthralling and kept me entertained right till the end. It was fantastic to return to the world of Buck Keep and the Six Duchies, the Farseer line and the world of Witted and non. It makes me crave for time to reread Hobb’s original trilogy.
If you’re a fan of the Elderlings trilogy of trilogies, then you’ll definitely want to pick this novella up. However, if you’re new to Hobb, I would recommend going back to the beginning, as there is enough to persecute a readers mind as to make it frustrating.
This The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince book review was written by Joshua S Hill
Have you read The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince reader reviews
7/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Age of Misrule
The details that Mark Chadbourn puts into the Celtic mythology are fantastic. I’ve never really been that keen on Celtic mythology in books in the past, this is the f...
Harrowing the Dragon
Spanning a quarter of a century, an anthology of previously uncollected short fiction by the World Fantasy Award-winning author explores a world of magic in such works as &...
The Dragon's Tooth
For two years, Cyrus and Antigone Smith have run a sagging roadside motel with their older brother, Daniel. Nothing ever seems to happen. Then a strange old man with bone t...
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Young pioneer, Micah, enters Wrymeweald full of hope to return home having made his fortune. But this is a land where wyrmes, fabulous dragon-like beasts, roam wild and rei...
Tales from the Perilous Realm
Enchanted by a sand-sorcerer, the toy dog Roverandom explores a world filled with strange and fabulous creatures; the fat and unheroic Farmer Giles of Ham is called upon to...
Kallon Redheart lives with his back turned on his fellow dragons, on humans, and on everything he once understood. Riza Diantus is a young woman with dreams too wide to fit...
Under the harsh regime of an ambitious master, Eon is training to become a Dragoneye - a powerful Lord able to command wind and water to nurture and protect the land. But E...
Pamela Wiseman and Sarah Laichas
From fire-breathing to friendly, dragons pretty much rule the fantasy world. Dedicated to the coolest of mythological beasts, DragonWorld is a showcase of some of today&rsq...
Vlad Taltos is an Easterner - an underprivileged human in an empire of tall, powerful, long-lived Dragaerans. He made a career for himself in House Jhereg, the Dragaeran cl...
George RR Martin
Among the scattered islands that make up the water world of Windhaven, no one holds more prestige than the silver-winged flyers, romantic figures who cross treacherous ocea...
In a small village, miles from the great cities of the Twin Kingdoms, a young boy called Errol tries to find his way in the world. He's an outsider - he looks different...
In The Labyrinth of Drakes
In this, the fourth volume of her memoirs, Lady Trent relates how she acquired her position with the Royal Scirling Army; how foreign saboteurs imperiled both her work and ...
Big Dragons Don't Cry
A depressed dragon, impudent kitten, and frightened young woman make an unlikely trio to save the dragon's swamp and lead humans to wholeness. They need the help of the...
Captain Will Laurence has been at sea since he was just twelve years old; finding a warmer berth in Nelson's navy than any he enjoyed as the youngest, least important s...
The Red Knight
Twenty eight florins a month is a huge price to pay, for a man to stand between you and the Wild. Twenty eight florins a month is nowhere near enough when a wyvern's ja...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
The Story of Tomkin and the Dragon
Tomkin Thornhewn, youngest son of the Duke of Marshwell, has a problem: he’s not heroic. Regardless of his aspirations, the bookish, untrained young man is better suited...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her alone. Garbled warnings from bizarre creatures keep her up at night. And there’s a time portal in the keg room of the bar where she works. Soon, Hallie is tumbling through...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...