Fool's Fate by Robin Hobb

(9.3/10)

The triumphant conclusion to the tale of the Farseers, in which kingdoms must stand or fall on the beat of a dragon’s wings, or a Fool’s heart. A small and sadly untried coterie – the old assassin Chade, the serving-boy Thick, Prince Dutiful, and his reluctant Skillmaster, Fitz – sail towards the distant island of Aslevjal. There they must fulfil the Narcheska’s challenge: to lay the head of the dragon Icefyre, whom legends tell is buried there deep beneath the ice, upon her hearth. Only then can their marriage proceed, and put an end to war between the two kingdoms. Having abandoned the Fool in Buckkeep, Fitz is guilt-stricken; but determined to keep the fate of his beloved friend at bay, since prophecy foretells the Fool’s death if he ever sets foot on the isle of the black dragon. But as their ship draws in towards Aslevjal a lone figure awaits them…

It was with both anticipation and regret that I began the final book of The Tawny Man series. This is the ninth book set in Robin Hobb’s immaculately built world of The Six Duchies and it has been a staggering achievement to maintain such a level of literary excellence through so many books. Not one of the nine is weak; each is as lovingly created as the last. This is epic fantasy at its very best; the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of the White Prophet and his Catalyst. The Fool’s Fate hangs over the entire book – will the prophecy come true and see his death or can destiny be changed without risking the future of the world?

Fitz, Prince Dutiful, Thick and Chade are the main characters in Fool’s Fate. Fitz is a character that we now know almost as well as ourselves, Prince Dutiful is now fifteen years old and maturing into the King he is set to become while Chade, as ever, is the stubborn and intelligent weaver of events and news. Thick is a revelation; from a very small role in The Golden Fool he often steals the show with his stubborn and simplistic outlook on life. Fitz and Dutiful become very protective of the half-wit and you, as the reader, also want to protect him from the looks and comments that he receives for just being how nature made him. Characterisation is one of the many strengths of Robin Hobb; these really are old friends.

I don’t want to find out,’ the Narcheska commented quietly. Her eyes were huge. As we drew closer to the bay, the railing became crowded as we all stared toward our destination and the solitary ominous figure that awaited us there. It was only when we dropped anchor in the bay and our small boats prepared to ferry us and our supplies to shore that he moved. He came down to the beach, and stood at the high tide line. Even before he threw back his hood, something in my heart turned over. I felt sick with dread.

From: Fool's Fate: Chapter: Cousins

It was not until the ninth book that I realised that one of the things that made Hobb’s fantasy tales so realistic, and that helps avoid the absurdity of some offerings, is the use of well thought-out and sensible names. Names like Chade, Molly, Fitz, Althea, and Burrich – these are not names that you will come across every day but are names of people that you could conceivably meet in the “real” world.

Fool’s Fate is written in the first person, the tale is seen through the eyes of Fitz, and we know everything about him by now, his every thought, his every need and his every desire. Only the first-person narrative can give this and only an author as talented as Robin Hobb can deliver it.  The settings were also impressive, the Out Islands and Aslevjal breath new life into the trilogy as we move away from Buckkeep and visit new lands, meet new people and experience new adventures. Oh, and there are dragons as well, of course. Fool’s Fate is pure and simply a pleasure to read, extremely profound with more substance in a single chapter than in some other author’s entire book.

She leaned back on her furs. ‘How tedious. You capitulate much too easily, FitzChivalry Farseer. You didn’t even wait to witness the demonstration. Well. I shall not deny myself that pleasure. Dret! Introduce him to my dragon.’

From: Fool's Fate: Chapter: In The Realm Of The Pale Woman

In the Tawny Man series Robin Hobb successfully manages to tie up all the loose ends and, even more impressively, show that The Liveship Traders books have as just much bearing on the events as the Farseer trilogy. The experience of reading of a Robin Hobb book is one to be cherished; there are no safer hands that you could place your leisure time in. From the first page to the very last you are treated like royalty with a tale that will last with you for a long time. I could not recommend Robin Hobb’s books highly enough – the Farseer, Liveship Traders and Tawny Man trilogies are a must for every fantasy enthusiast. As a body of work, the nine books are arguably the finest fantasy series ever written.

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Our interview with Robin Hobb

City of Dragons, the third instalment in The Rain Wild Chronicles, will be published in the UK on the 23rd of April 2012. In advance of the book's release, Robin Hobb has kindly taken time to expound on the inspirations b [...]

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All reviews for Robin Hobb's The Tawny Man series

Fool's Errand

by Robin Hobb

Fifteen years have passed since the end of the Red Ship War with the terrifying Outislanders. Since then, Fitz has wandered the world accompanied only by his wolf and Wit-p [...]

Series: The Tawny Man: Book 1
Published: 2001

Score: 92

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews

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The Golden Fool

by Robin Hobb

Fitz has succeeded in rescuing Prince Dutiful from the clutches of the Piebald rebels, and has returned with him to Buckkeep castle. With Dutiful safe again, Queen Kettrick [...]

Series: The Tawny Man: Book 2
Published: 2002

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews

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Fool's Fate

by Robin Hobb

The triumphant conclusion to the tale of the Farseers, in which kingdoms must stand or fall on the beat of a dragon’s wings, or a Fool’s heart. A small and sadl [...]

Series: The Tawny Man: Book 3
Published: 2003

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.3 | positive reader reviews

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More Robin Hobb reviews

Fool's Assassin

by Robin Hobb

Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service [...]

Series: Fitz and the Fool #1
Published: 2014

Score: 101

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Fool's Quest

by Robin Hobb

Happy endings never last... Years ago, they freed a dragon from the glaciers on Aslevjal. Then they parted ways, the Fool returning to far-off Clerres, while Fitz finally c [...]

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Published: 2015

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Assassin's Fate

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Prince FitzChivalry Farseer's daughter Bee was violently abducted from Withywoods by Servants of the Four in their search for the Unexpected Son, foretold to wield grea [...]

Series: Fitz and the Fool #3
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Score: 90

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The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince

by Robin Hobb

One of the darkest legends in the Realm of the Elderlings recounts the tale of the so-called Piebald Prince, a Witted pretender to the throne unseated by the actions of bra [...]

Series: NA
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Score: 70

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Assassin's Apprentice

by Robin Hobb

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma. Born on the wrong side of the sheets, [...]

Series: The Farseer Trilogy: Book 1
Published: 1995

Score: 115

Our rating: 9.2 | 19 positive reader reviews

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Royal Assassin

by Robin Hobb

Honesty is the bedrock for any relationship. But how can Fitz – royal bastard, trainee assassin, holder of secrets crucial to the security of the kingdom – bare [...]

Series: The Farseer Trilogy: Book 2
Published: 1996

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.2 | 3 positive reader reviews

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Assassin's Quest

by Robin Hobb

With the king no longer living and the heir, Verity, missing and declared dead, Prince Regal has treacherously seized the throne. Regal’s torture has left Fitz more d [...]

Series: The Farseer Trilogy: Book 3
Published: 1997

Score: 105

Our rating: 9.8 | 7 positive reader reviews

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Ship of Magic

by Robin Hobb

On the northernmost point of the Cursed Shores lies Bingtown, a bustling hub of exotic trade and home to a proud merchant nobility famed for its extraordinary vessels. Only [...]

Series: The Liveship Traders: Book 1
Published: 1998

Score: 100

Our rating: 9.7 | 4 positive reader reviews

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The Mad Ship

by Robin Hobb

Althea Vestrit has found a new home aboard the liveship Ophelia, but lives only to reclaim the Vivacia as her rightful inheritance. However, Vivacia has been captured by th [...]

Series: The Liveship Traders: Book 2
Published: 1998

Score: 102

Our rating: 9.9 | 3 positive reader reviews

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Ship of Destiny

by Robin Hobb

The dragon, Tintaglia, has been released from her wizardwood coffin, only to find that the glories of her kingdom have passed into ancient memory. Meanwhile, Malta Vestrit [...]

Series: The Liveship Traders: Book 3
Published: 2000

Score: 97

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Dragon Keeper

by Robin Hobb

Guided by the great blue dragon Tintaglia, they came from the sea: a Tangle of serpents fighting their way up the Rain Wilds River, the first to make the perilous journey t [...]

Series: The Rain Wild Chronicles: Book 1
Published: 0000

Score: 91

Our rating: 8.5 | 6 positive reader reviews

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Dragon Haven

by Robin Hobb

The dragon keepers and the fledgling dragons are forging a passage up the treacherous Rain Wild River. They are in search of the mythical Elderling city of Kelsingra, and a [...]

Series: The Rain Wild Chronicles: Book 2
Published: 2010

Score: 91

Our rating: 9.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

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