Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb

The second installment in ‘Fitz and the Fool’ trilogy continues straight off from where we left off in book one with a similarly languid pace. Since the main plot was set into motion at the end of book one, I would have liked to see more action this round. Still as in most Hobb books, 85% of the story is spent on what feels like meandering around and then all the actual action occurs at the end.

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Although I enjoyed Fool’s Quest, I did have two frustrations with the book. First, a plot trope of misunderstandings/lack of communication causing problems. In book one, Fitz and his daughter didn’t communicate. In book two, Fitz assumes that he must do everything by himself and alone. Being royalty and having powerful friends this makes no sense and feels like he is being selfish to the point of risking not getting his daughter back. Second, there was far too much unnecessary fan service. Characters from the old books are rolled out on a platter left and right. Old sites are visited and old events recounted. At some point this all starts to feel like an excessively long swan song for the series.

In terms of writing, Hobb is as competent as ever and the script flows smoothly. While the main characters take frustratingly long to do what is needed, they always manage to do right by the end. Characters other than Fitz and the Fool are excellent.

I am quite looking forward to the next book as then we move onto to hopefully uncharted territory – and worried that this may be a scenic tour of the locations from the Live Ships trilogy. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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