Author Exploration: Robin Hobb

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
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.

 

 

Pippa

 

 

 

 

Recommendations: Military Fantasy

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. You guys should all know by now that I love fantasy and one of my favourite sub-genres is military fantasy, so I thought I’d share some recommendations. This sub-genre has a heavy emphasis on military life in a fantasy world and the main characters are generally part of the military. Tactics, strategies and epic battles also play a big part of this sub-genre. Let’s get started

 

Codex Alera series / 6 books / Jim Butcher / ★★
Furies of Calderon, Academ’s Fury, Cursor’s Fury, Captain’s Fury, Princep’s Fury and First Lord’s Fury
This is a coming of age, military fantasy series that chronicles the life of a young man called Tavi in the realm of Alera. The world is Carna but the series is mainly set in the realm of Alera, which shares similarities with the empire of Rome, except with elemantal spirits called Furies that can be used by the Alerans (or humans). The first book has very little military elements but from the second book onwards it plays a large part within the series. I love these books and would highly recommend checking it out. I have a full review of this series which you can check out here.

 

Powder Mage trilogy / 3 books / Brian McClellan / ★★
Promise of Blood, The Crimson Campaign and The Autumn Republic
This is a flintlock, military fantasy trilogy with multiple perspectives and a unique magic system. Quite a few characters are part of the military and tactics play a big part throughout. There is also a sequel trilogy, Gods of Blood and Powder, that is well worth reading after you’ve read the Powder Mage trilogy. I love both of these trilogies and again would highly recommend checking these out.

 

Legend / book 1 of the Drenai saga / David Gemmell / ★★★

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This is a first book in a military fantasy series. The premise of this book is basically a legendary warrior coming out of retirement to help defend the fortress of Dros Delnoch against the conquering Nadir. The military elements of this book are so well done and the world building is good. While I enjoyed this book, the one thing that frustrated me was the representation of women. This was first published in the 80’s so it is dated in terms of women representation. Overall though this was a great read and I would recommend checking it out.

 

 

That’s it for today. Despite this being one of my favourite sub-genres I actually haven’t read a lot of books within it. I definitely hope to read a lot more in the future, so if you have any recommendations for me please leave them in the comments. What’s your favourite fantasy sub-genre? I’d love to know. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

T5W: Favourite Covers

Top 5 Wednesday was originally created and run by Lainey aka gingerreadslainey (Youtube channel) but it is now being run by Sam aka Thoughts on tomes (Youtube channel). Each week there is a different topic. You can check out the groups Goodreads page here for any more information and the future topics. This week’s topic is favourite covers. There are so many amazing book covers so it’s going to be hard limiting it to just five, but I’ll give it a go :). I’ve chosen from books that I’ve read this year. Let’s get started.

 

  • The Bitter Twins / book 2 of the Winnowing Flame trilogy / Jen Williams
  • The Hyena and the Hawk / book 3 of the Echoes of the Fall trilogy / Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • The Beast Player / Nahoko Uehashi
  • Wrath of Empire / book 2 in the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy / Brian McClellan
  • The Book of M / Peng Shepherd

 

 

I’m definitely planning on doing a post on my favourite covers of 2018 at the end of the year so keep an eye out for that. What do you look for in book covers? Do you prefer simple covers or more vibrant ones? I’d love to know. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

 

Pippa

 

 

 

TTT: Books By My Favourite Authors I Haven’t Read Yet

TTT-Big2 (1)
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.This weeks topic is books by my favourite authors I haven’t read yet. I will read these books at some point but I haven’t managed to get to them yet. Let’s get started.

 

 

Hopefully I’ll get to this books soon. High on my priority list are Tigana and The Reindeer People. What books by your favourite authors do you still need to read? I’d love to know. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Moribito series / Nahoko Uehashi

Title / Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and Moribito 2: Guardian of the Darkness
Author / Nahoko Uehashi
Translator / Cathy Hirano
Publication Date / 2008 and 2009
Overall Rating / 
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: Balsa was a wanderer and warrior for hire. Then she rescued a boy flung into a raging river — and at that moment, her destiny changed. Now Balsa must protect the boy — the Prince Chagum — on his quest to deliver the great egg of the water spirit to its source in the sea. As they travel across the land of Yogo and discover the truth about the spirit, they find themselves hunted by two deadly enemies: the egg-eating monster Rarunga . . . and the prince’s own father.

 

Originally released in Japanese in the late 90’s, this is a ten book fantasy series, however only two books have been translated into English. I loved both of these books. In book 1 we meet Balsa, a thirty year old warrior for hire (she works as a bodyguard) as she is hired by the royal family to protect a young prince. I’m not going to go into the synopsis of the second book because I don’t want to spoil anything. It is a separate story line in the second book but there are things that will be spoilt if you haven’t read the first book. The plot of both books was compelling throughout and I loved the direction of it. At under 300 pages, both books are quick and thoroughly entertaining reads. Once I’d started reading I didn’t want to put the book down but I also didn’t want it to end. Another strength of these books are the action scenes. Seriously Uehashi is so good at writing action scenes. I love the way that Balsa fights; not only relying on her strength but also her wits to overcome larger and stronger opponents. Moving onto the world. The first book takes place in a region called Yogo, and the second book takes place in Balsa’s native region of Kanbal. Both of these areas are so well written. Uehashi does a wonderful job at creating a vivid world with distinct and interesting regions. There is a good balance of physical descriptions of the world, along with the history and the politics. Spirits play a big role in this world too, with the physical world referred to as Sagu and the spiritual world as Nayug. From the very beginning, I was immersed in this world and I couldn’t get enough of it.

 

There is also a fantastic cast of characters within this series. Firstly, I love Balsa as the protagonist. I cannot say enough good things about her character. Secondly, Uehashi has done a great job at creating a well developed cast that you really root for. There are so many great characters within these two books and I would love to see more from them. Balsa does also have a love interest but I love that is a just in the background – it is not the main focus. I’m not a big romance person but I thought it was so well done in this series and the love interest is fantastic. Basically I loved both books and I highly recommend checking out this author. If I’m not mistaken this series is aimed at a YA/middle grade age range, but I think this can be enjoyed by a lot of different people.

 

Overall I loved both of these books and I highly recommend checking them out. I know it’s been a while since these books have been translated but I still hope that more of the series will be translated too. Both of these books are fantastic and I would love to read more of the series. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for any new translations of this author, as I’ve loved everything I’ve read by her so far. Have you read these books? I’d love to know what you thought of them. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

5 reasons to read North and South by E. Gaskell

Title / North and South
Author / Elizabeth Gaskell
Publication Date / 1855
Page no. / 544
Overall Rating / 
It’s time for another 5 reasons to read style review and today I wanted to talk about one of my all time favourite classics, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I first read this back in secondary school and it’s remained a favourite of mine since then. Let’s get started.
  • The writing is fantastic and I personally found it to be quite an easy classic to read. I think this would be a great book to read if you are new to classics and want to start reading them.
  • There is a great cast of characters and I love Margaret as the protagonist. All of them are well written from a range of backgrounds, which gives the reader a better look at society as a whole at the time. Some of my favourite characters include Bessy and Nicholas Higgins but I love all of them really.
  • It’s such an interesting look into society at the time and what the British landscape looked like at the time. It was so interesting to see the differences between the countryside and towns, and how our protagonist adapts to these changes.
  • If you are a big fan of reading classics and/or have enjoyed books by Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters etc then I think you will love this book.
  • As already mentioned it’s one of my favourites, so of course I’m taking this opportunity to recommend it. Also the BBC adaptation starring Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage is fantastic and well worth checking out too.

 

 

That’s all for today. Have you read this book? I’d love to know what you thought of it. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

T5W: Favourite Underrated Books

Top 5 Wednesday was originally created and run by Lainey aka gingerreadslainey (Youtube channel) but it is now being run by Sam aka Thoughts on tomes (Youtube channel). Each week there is a different topic. You can check out the groups Goodreads page here for any more information and the future topics. This week’s topic is a freebie week, so I choose to talk about my favourite underrated books. All of these books have under 1,000 ratings on Goodreads but they deserve way more. I really enjoyed all of these books and would highly recommend checking them out. Let’s get started.

 

 

That’s it for today. These are five fantastic books that I’ve read this year and think that they deserve more love. Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favourite underrated books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa