Tag Archives: Robin Hobb

Tea and Jeopardy 65 – Robin Hobb visits the tea lair

In this episode, the legendary author, Robin Hobb, visits Emma in the tea lair. We discuss the joy of jigsaw puzzles, how starting out as an author now has changed from when Robin started out and how book production techniques changed fantasy books.

Click here to listen to the episode on Geek Planet Online.

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Credits for the sounds effects used in this episode can be found here.

Good Things – Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Quest coverI’m not even going to pretend that this is anything other than a love letter to the glory of Robin Hobb’s writing.

Having read Assassin’s Apprentice and loved it, and then having read Royal Assassin and loved it even more, I was fairly confident coming to Assassin’s Quest.

It had me by the unmentionables from pretty much the first page.

So, all the things I loved in the previous books are present here. Fantastic writing, good twists and an ever-present sense of tension that you occasionally get spared from but are never allowed to completely forget.

But above all else, it’s the characters. Robin Hobb’s characters are things of beauty. Nuanced, flawed, and so utterly believable. She made me love them all, except for the ones I was supposed to hate, and even then, they were painted as real, three dimensional things.

Even Robin Hobb’s animals have more personality than most other Fantasy protagonists.

*takes a moment to quietly contemplate Nighteyes*

It’s also epic in length, about twice the size of the book 1 and I never once felt like things were dragging. There’s also a real sense that things are earned in this series. Wounds persist, psychological scars become permanent character features and things lost are rarely recovered. In fact, far more often than not, terrible things happen but when there is a victory for the Fitz or his allies it is all the sweeter for it.

Robin Hobb is now, without doubt, my favourite fantasy writer. The writing is so good and the characters so compelling that they could be washing the dishes and I’d still be glued to the page.

Next stop: Liveship Traders.

Good things: Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

Royal AssassinHere’s a spoiler free part review, part enthuse about Royal Assassin.

You probably don’t need me to tell you how great this book is but I'm going to have a go anyway just in case. Royal Assassin is the sequel to Assassin’s Apprentice which I also rather liked.

There’s always a fear when reading the next part of a series you love, that the writer has already peaked and that it won’t be quite as good. No worries here though, Royal Assassin is an incredible work, in fact I enjoyed it even more than the previous book.

So why is it so good? It’s not like there are things here that have never been done before. It’s just that they’re rarely done so well. I loved the characters (except for the ones I hated but that was with such a passion it was its own kind of enjoyment). I worried for them (a lot). I delighted in their successes and felt sad for their losses.

The villains in the book are also a standout, terrifying and mysterious in one case and wonderfully despicable in the other.

I admired the rhythm of the book too, the sprinkling of humour and happier moments, both giving relief from the constant threat but also heightening it.

And that’s it really. Brilliant characters, incredible storytelling and a good degree of twists and turns.

Like its predecessor, I didn’t find it an easy read. The book is tense and a lot of bad things happen to good people everybody. I also found that even when I wasn’t reading it, a part of the book refused to let me go until I’d finished it.

If you haven’t read it please do so that the next time I see you we can jump up and down together about how great it is.

Thanks!

Good things: Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb

18th Feb Assassins Apprentice PB inddHere’s my spoiler-free, part review, part enthuse about Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb:

I’m a little late to this party as the book came out in 1995 but in this case, better late than never is certainly true.

It’s good.  Really good. Imagine your favourite superlatives and ladle them liberally onto this book. Repeat until thoroughly excited.

Assassin’s Apprentice is quite simply one of the best fantasy books I’ve ever read. It’s beautifully written, accessible, character driven, nuanced, with a world that makes sense, full of twists and turns.

A word of warning: heart strings are pulled without mercy and things are not always easy for our protagonist so don’t pick this up when you want mindless fun or back to back silly fights.

I’ll definitely be reading the sequel(s) but I’m deliberately going to wait before I do to savour the anticipation.

If you haven’t already, read it!