Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I wanted to talk about one of my favourite authors, Robin Hobb. This is actually the pen name of Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden, who also writes using the name Megan Lindholm. I am going to be talking about the books penned using the name Robin Hobb. Under this pen name, she has written 19 books, 16 of which make up the Realm of the Elderlings series, as well as some short stories. She first published under this name in 1995 with the publication of Assassin’s Apprentice. Hobb writes adult fantasy with a focus on characterisation and world building. I won’t be going into any plot details because I don’t want to spoil anyone. Let’s get started.
The Realm of the Elderlings: Covers illustrated by Jackie Morris
The Farseer trilogy – Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin and Assassin’s Quest
The Liveship Traders trilogy – Ship of Magic, The Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny
The Tawny Man trilogy – Fool’s Errand, Golden Fool and Fool’s Fate
The Rain Wild Chronicles – Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven, City of Dragons and Blood of Dragons
The Fitz and the Fool trilogy – Fool’s Assassin, Fool’s Quest and Assassin’s Fate
Short stories – The Inheritance and The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince
Soldier Son trilogy:
The Farseer trilogy
Originally published in 1995, 1996 and 1997, this is the first trilogy in the Realm of the Elderlings series. We are introduced to FitzChivalry Farseer, known as Fitz, who is the central character and narrator. I have to admit that it took me a little while to get into the first book, but once I’d got roughly half way through I was hooked. In this trilogy we are introduced to the Six Duchies, although we spend most of our time in Buckkeep. We are also introduced to two magic systems; the Skill and the Wit. The first is basically the use of telepathy to communicate with others who are Skilled or influence other peoples emotions. The Wit is the use of telepathy to communicate with animals and possibly form a bond with an animal. These are very basic explanations of each system to give you a vague idea of the unique magic in this trilogy and series overall.
The Liveship Traders’ trilogy
Originally published in 1998, 1999 and 2000, this is the second trilogy in the Realm of the Elderlings series. As I understand the events in this trilogy occur at the same time as the Farseer trilogy. While I would suggest reading these books in chronological order, this is one place you can start if you didn’t want to start with Assassin’s Apprentice. In this trilogy we follow the Vestrit family in Bingtown. Once again the writing in these books is fantastic and the new characters are wonderfully written. There are definitely a few characters in this trilogy that frustrated me a lot, but I think that really showcases Hobb’s ability at writing characters.
The Tawny Man trilogy
Originally published in 2001, 2002 and 2003, this is the third trilogy in the Realm of the Elderlings series. We are back with Fitz for these books, although some years have passed since the Farseer trilogy. We get to explore more of the world and are introduced to new characters. This is probably my favourite trilogy of the entire series.
The Rain Wild Chronicles
Originally published in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013, this is the fourth series in the Realm of Elderlings and the only one that isn’t a trilogy. In this series we get to explore the Rain Wilds, a territory that we haven’t really seen before this. We also start to learn more about the dragons in this world. I would say that this is the weakest series overall, but the books are still fantastic. I personally felt that it dragged in places throughout the four books and I wasn’t the biggest fan of some of the character arcs. These are only minor complaints though. This is the only other series I would suggest starting with, although as I said early I would recommend reading them chronologically.
The Fitz and the Fool trilogy
Published in 2014, 2015 and 2017, this is the fifth and final trilogy in the Realm of the Elderlings series. It is set many years after the events of the Tawny Man trilogy and we are back with Fitz for the final time. I thought this was a wonderful conclusion and I cannot recommend these books highly enough.
Soldier Son trilogy.
I have only read the first book in this trilogy so I cannot comment on the other two books but I’ll be sharing some thoughts on the first book. As with all her other books the characters and world are wonderfully written. I loved the setting of the school and I really enjoyed the plot. The pacing is slow but it rarely dragged. My main issue was my frustration with the main character, Nevare. I just wasn’t a fan of him. Other than that, I had no real issues. I think I may revisit this at some point because I’m such a big fan of Hobb and I want to give it another chance, but we’ll see.
Robin Hobb’s strength is creating detailed and complex characters. Each of her books are very character driven and she does an incredible job at developing the characters. You can clearly see how her characters have changed over time, which makes her books so enjoyable to read. You become invested in them very quickly and become so absorbed in their stories. Within these 17 books are wonderfully written characters and ever changing relationships. The strength of her characters are one of the main reasons I love her books so much. Due to this, her books tend to have a slow pace, because the focus is more on the characters then, say, action. Do not go into her books expecting a light, fast-paced read. The worlds she creates are also incredibly complex and full of amazing detail. The short stories are well worth a read too, as they add more depth to the world. The Realm of the Elderlings series is incredible and if you are a big fantasy reader then you need to check these books out.
That’s all I have for today. I hope you liked this post, it took me quite some time to complete :). Have you read any of these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.