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Old 10-31-2010, 02:11 PM   #1
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Never ... ever ... ever read The Farseer Trilogy!

I welcome other opinions. I will not flame you or anything. This is just how I feel about the series:

Spoiler:

I don't think that I could possibly be more disappointed in such a highly praised and well-loved series. I read Farseer expecting to love it. I was wrong. The series dragged along with the same things happening over and over again. Characters (supposedly Hobbs' strong point) were cookie-cutter people who were entirely predictable. Hobbs seemed to love beating up on the good guys and then wrapping up everything with a Deus ex Machina.

But I can deal with that. I actually enjoy reading The Wheel of Time and even (yes I admit it) Terry Goodkind. But worst of all was how mediocre Fitz was. He was supposed to be a great assassin. But the only people he ever assassinated were mindless zombies that ate the poisoned food that he threw on the ground in front of them. He completely botched the one real assassination he tried- King Regal- when Hobb could have let him succeed and wrapped up a 900 page book (14000 kindle locations) 500 pages earlier. As he said many times, he was a failure as an assassin.

He was also a failure at the skill. He was supposed to have all of this strength, but was unable to defeat people in a poorly-trained coterie, even when they were separated from each other.

He was a failure as an advisor to the prince, to such an extent that he was not trusted to give any advice for the entire third book. Fitz was such a mediocre character that I can find no qualities that make him worthy to be the main character in what is supposed to be an epic fantasy. As the book wraps up he sticks his tail between his legs and is never heard from again.

And please, don't even get me started on how tired I am of "prophecies" in fantasy series. An author should not simply allow any old person to go on a quest. If they can't find a reason and have to go with "some prophecy foretold this" then their world is not believable enough.


I am certainly never going to read Hobb again.

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Old 10-31-2010, 03:08 PM   #2
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I think a Spoiler warning should be included in the beginning of the post...
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Old 10-31-2010, 03:37 PM   #3
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I think a Spoiler warning should be included in the beginning of the post...
fixed.
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:22 PM   #4
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I really liked the Farseer Trilogy, so I can't answer most of your complaints. It was long but yeah, I like long reads. He was a failure at being an assassin; ok, but I'm getting tired of epic bastard ninjas who fight for the royal family anyway, I liked it.

What I didn't like about the Farseer Trilogy was that Hobb seemed to have something against dogs... I swear she killed like five in that series.

There was a second trilogy that followed Fitz after the events in the first series, The Tawny Man, if you're interested... which you probably aren't. I was disappointed with Fitz after The Farseer trilogy, particularly with the way it ended, but I really liked the closure The Tawny Man gave.

I wouldn't give up on Hobb, either, I really loved the Dragon Keeper Series.
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:25 PM   #5
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I really liked the Farseer Trilogy, so I can't answer most of your complaints. It was long but yeah, I like long reads. He was a failure at being an assassin; ok, but I'm getting tired of epic bastard ninjas who fight for the royal family anyway, I liked it.

What I didn't like about the Farseer Trilogy was that Hobb seemed to have something against dogs... I swear she killed like five in that series.

There was a second trilogy that followed Fitz after the events in the first series, The Tawny Man, if you're interested... which you probably aren't. I was disappointed with Fitz after The Farseer trilogy, particularly with the way it ended, but I really liked the closure The Tawny Man gave.

I wouldn't give up on Hobb, either, I really loved the Dragon Keeper Series.
Oh, maybe I'll try Tawny Man. He might get a little better in that. I was just annoyed that he was so mediocre. I get it that not everybody can be a superhero, but other than being nice Fitz didn't have a single redeeming trait. He couldn't even decide to be loyal to either his wife or his king and kind of neglected both.
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:29 PM   #6
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Oh, maybe I'll try Tawny Man. He might get a little better in that. I was just annoyed that he was so mediocre. I get it that not everybody can be a superhero, but other than being nice Fitz didn't have a single redeeming trait. He couldn't even decide to be loyal to either his wife or his king and kind of neglected both.
Uhh, they weren't married were they? What was her name, Molly? It's been a while.

I feel like his being nice was a big weakness to him because he tried not to hurt anyone and he was torn between his loyalties.... he suffers far too much for it... and in the Tawny man, once you learn about what he's been doing since the events of the last novel of The Farseer series, well.. just see if you like it, I thought the last two especially of The Tawny Man were amazing.
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:38 PM   #7
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Uhh, they weren't married were they? What was her name, Molly? It's been a while.

I feel like his being nice was a big weakness to him because he tried not to hurt anyone and he was torn between his loyalties.... he suffers far too much for it... and in the Tawny man, once you learn about what he's been doing since the events of the last novel of The Farseer series, well.. just see if you like it, I thought the last two especially of The Tawny Man were amazing.
Yeah, Molly. They considered themselves married, but never had a ceremony or anything. They kept saying, "we'll have a real ceremony once this is all over."
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:47 PM   #8
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Yeah, Molly. They considered themselves married, but never had a ceremony or anything. They kept saying, "we'll have a real ceremony once this is all over."
Yeha, in Tawny man there is definitely more on that relationship... whether or not you'll like it is a different matter... I was.... well, It uhh....... >_> just read.
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Old 11-01-2010, 03:39 AM   #9
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There are my favorite books, period.

You say that Fitz was supposed to be a "great assassin". Where was he portrayed as such? His mentor Chade was a great assassin. Fitz never quite managed it. I think Chade even says at some point that Fitz was too good of a person who never quite got the ruthlessness he was supposed to need.

He failed with the Skill because the Prince's skill master, Galen, beat him down with it during the training process and imprinted into his brain that he had failed utterly. Thus the disconnect for quite a while that he didn't have any skill at it - his memories were altered...until Prince Verity cleared the mental block. Even then, he never got consistent, good training - Verity himself says this, and says if he had months free to dedicate to training him, he could undo the training damage. Part of it is that he was abused with it, and reflexively keeps barriers up as a result (think emotionally abused kid and how they can isolate from others and lose trust).

Fitz was not a, say, Drizzt Do'Urden. He was not a superhero. He was a bastard kid, trained as an assassin, but not keen on it. He did assassinate a few people (mainly mentioned in passing) during his trips abroad. Sometimes he managed better (like the Lady with the little dog) instead. If you're expecting a Legolas, a Drizzt, or some other kind of superheroic, greater-than-life character, that's not Fitz. That's the whole point. None of Hobb's characters are like that. He's just a teenager, and Chade and Burrich point that out. He was never given a chance to make his own decisions. Yeah, he acts like an idiot sometimes and you want to slap him. Just like most teenagers. Hell I'd slap myself as a teenager, looking back!

Here's a quote from after he is revived from the dead / un-beastified:

Quote:
(Burrich here)
"When I woke up, the dog had a master again. Of a different sort. I know you've heard people say Chivalry was cold and stiff and correct to a fault. He wasn't. He was what he believed a man should be. More than that. It was what he believed a man should want to be. He took a thieving, unkempt scoundrel and …" He faltered, sighed suddenly. "He had me up before dawn the next day. Weapons practice till neither of us could stand. I'd never had any formal training at it before. They'd just handed me a pike and sent me out to fight. He drilled me, and taught me sword. He'd never liked the axe, but I did. So he taught me what he knew of it, and arranged for me to learn it from a man who knew its strategies. Then the rest of the day, he'd have me at his heels. Like a dog, as you say. I don't know why. Maybe he was lonely for someone his own age. Maybe he missed Verity. Maybe … I don't know.

"He taught me numbers first, then reading. He put me in charge of his horse. Then his hounds and hawk. Then in general charge of the pack beasts and wagon animals. But it wasn't just work he taught me. Cleanliness. Honesty. He put a value on what my mother and grandmother had tried to instill in me so long ago. He showed them to me as a man's values, not just manners for inside a woman's house. He taught me to be a man, not a beast in a man's shape. He made me see it was more than rules, it was a way of being. A life, rather than a living."

He stopped talking. I heard him get up. He went to the table and picked up the bottle of elderberry wine that Chade had left. I watched him as he turned it several times in his hands. Then he set it down. He sat down on one of the chairs and stared into the fire.


"Chade said I should leave you tomorrow," he said quietly. He looked down at me. "I think he's right."

I sat up and looked up at him. The dwindling light of the fire made a shadowy landscape of his face. I could not read his eyes.

"Chade says you have been my boy too long. Chade's boy, Verity's boy, even Patience's boy. That we kept you a boy and looked after you too much. He believes that when a man's decisions came to you, you made them as a boy. Impulsively. Intending to be right, intending to be good. But intentions are not good enough."

"Sending me out to kill people was keeping me a boy?" I asked incredulously.

"Did you listen to me at all? I killed people as a boy. It didn't make me a man. Nor you."

"So what am I to do?" I asked sarcastically. "Go looking for a prince to educate me?"

"There. You see? A boy's reply. You don't understand, so you get angry. And venomous. You ask me that question but you already know you won't like my answer."

"Which is?"

"It might be to tell you that you could do worse than to go looking for a prince. But I'm not going to tell you what to do. Chade has advised me not to. And I think he is right. But not because I think you make your decisions as a boy would. No more than I did at your age. I think you decide as an animal would. Always in the now, with never a thought for tomorrow, or what you recall from yesterday. I know you know what I'm speaking of. You stopped living as a wolf because I forced you to. Now I must leave you alone, for you to find out if you want to live as a wolf or a man."
I know that when I first read these in high school, I wasn't a fan. I didn't like the ending - the good guys are supposed to win, but it's not supposed to be sad at all! I didn't like that you didn't find out precisely how they were making the Forged. I didn't like that Fitz didn't kick some ass like Drizzt. Revisiting when I was older and they became my favorite books due to this strength of characterization. These aren't archetypal characters, like perhaps you can say LOTR embodies WRT modern fantasy.

This is similiar in many regards to George R.R. Martin (who recommends Hobb BTW). But he has so many characters, some of them kick ass. But a lot of them...well...things don't turn out so great. They're not always successful. Even the kick-ass characters make mistakes...sometimes fatal.

Hobb's characters aren't super human. They're normal people, complete with flaws and issues, and capable of poor decision making. In the case of Fitz, it's impulsive decisions and poor judgment of consequences. He's quite a bit wiser in his 30s (in Tawny Man) although he is still stubborn and sticks to bad decisions far longer than he should.

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Old 11-01-2010, 08:35 AM   #10
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I read the first one of the series. Other than the seaside setting and forging, I really don't think there was anything great to it. The writing was atrocious and the characters were pretty thin. I have books 2 & 3 waiting, but I doubt I'll ever get around to them.

This book is one of the reasons I don't read very much Fantasy, despite loving the concept of it. What's more, I was assured this was a series for adults.
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:19 PM   #11
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There are my favorite books, period.

You say that Fitz was supposed to be a "great assassin". Where was he portrayed as such? His mentor Chade was a great assassin. Fitz never quite managed it. I think Chade even says at some point that Fitz was too good of a person who never quite got the ruthlessness he was supposed to need.

He failed with the Skill because the Prince's skill master, Galen, beat him down with it during the training process and imprinted into his brain that he had failed utterly. Thus the disconnect for quite a while that he didn't have any skill at it - his memories were altered...until Prince Verity cleared the mental block. Even then, he never got consistent, good training - Verity himself says this, and says if he had months free to dedicate to training him, he could undo the training damage. Part of it is that he was abused with it, and reflexively keeps barriers up as a result (think emotionally abused kid and how they can isolate from others and lose trust).

Fitz was not a, say, Drizzt Do'Urden. He was not a superhero. He was a bastard kid, trained as an assassin, but not keen on it. He did assassinate a few people (mainly mentioned in passing) during his trips abroad. Sometimes he managed better (like the Lady with the little dog) instead. If you're expecting a Legolas, a Drizzt, or some other kind of superheroic, greater-than-life character, that's not Fitz. That's the whole point. None of Hobb's characters are like that. He's just a teenager, and Chade and Burrich point that out. He was never given a chance to make his own decisions. Yeah, he acts like an idiot sometimes and you want to slap him. Just like most teenagers. Hell I'd slap myself as a teenager, looking back!

I know that when I first read these in high school, I wasn't a fan. I didn't like the ending - the good guys are supposed to win, but it's not supposed to be sad at all! I didn't like that you didn't find out precisely how they were making the Forged. I didn't like that Fitz didn't kick some ass like Drizzt. Revisiting when I was older and they became my favorite books due to this strength of characterization. These aren't archetypal characters, like perhaps you can say LOTR embodies WRT modern fantasy.

This is similiar in many regards to George R.R. Martin (who recommends Hobb BTW). But he has so many characters, some of them kick ass. But a lot of them...well...things don't turn out so great. They're not always successful. Even the kick-ass characters make mistakes...sometimes fatal.

Hobb's characters aren't super human. They're normal people, complete with flaws and issues, and capable of poor decision making. In the case of Fitz, it's impulsive decisions and poor judgment of consequences. He's quite a bit wiser in his 30s (in Tawny Man) although he is still stubborn and sticks to bad decisions far longer than he should.
Yeah, but he didn't have a single redeeming feature. I don't expect all books to have Drizzt or a superhero, but couldn't Hobb at least make the guy bright or nice? He was mean to Molly, ignored Verity to go settle a personal vendetta, and, from the quote that you mentioned, was just plain nasty to Burrich. He was all flaws, no positives. If he was able to do a single thing right (pick one ... Wit, Skill, fight, assassinate, be smart, be brave, be nice, advise well, even hold in his temper and general idiocy) the book would have been so much better.

Every other character had at least one positive trait. King Shrewd was smart, loyal, and an excellent King. Prince/King Regal (AKA Generic bad guy) was brilliant and cunning. Everybody in the first coteries was excellent with the skill. Verity was excellent with the skill, loyal, generally nice guy, brave, etc. Molly was loyal and great at her trade. Kettricken was brilliant and an excellent, loyal queen. Galen was smart and strong in the skill. Nighteyes was loyal and brave and a great fighter. Etc. Fitz didn't even pick up the loyalty that every one of these characters except Regal shared. He barely picked it up from his bond with Nighteyes or his two closest mentors: Chade and Burrich.

And that's not to mention how much the books dragged. The first book was nothing but Fitz doing chores with mention in passing of the Red Ships, until the very end. The second book was all Fitz complaining about how much he was in pain. The third book the "quest" dragged worse than the seventh Harry Potter book. Fitz woke up, walked, was jealous of Kettricken with his wolf, slept, dreamed about Molly/Burrich/generic Red Ship raid, etc.
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:28 PM   #12
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There are my favorite books, period.
+1 !!

I absolutely LOVED the Farseer Trilogy, the Liveship Traders Trilogy and the Tawny Man Trilogy. As a matter of fact, I love everything Robin Hobb has ever written !!

I like that Fitz isn't a typical hero. He's human. He's a character I can believe in. He gets hurt, fails at things, makes wrong choices, ... I cried a lot while reading these books, but I also smiled a lot.

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Yeah, but he didn't have a single redeeming feature. I don't expect all books to have Drizzt or a superhero, but couldn't Hobb at least make the guy bright or nice?
I disagree. Fitz is loyal, to Verity and to Kettricken. He would do anything for them. He would also do anything for Nighteyes. I thought his relationship with his wolf was really touching (although disfunctional at times). And he is really good at one thing: the Wit.
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:31 PM   #13
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Every other character had at least one positive trait. King Shrewd was smart, loyal, and an excellent King. Prince/King Regal (AKA Generic bad guy) was brilliant and cunning. Everybody in the first coteries was excellent with the skill. Verity was excellent with the skill, loyal, generally nice guy, brave, etc. Molly was loyal and great at her trade. Kettricken was brilliant and an excellent, loyal queen. Galen was smart and strong in the skill. Nighteyes was loyal and brave and a great fighter. Etc. Fitz didn't even pick up the loyalty that every one of these characters except Regal shared. He barely picked it up from his bond with Nighteyes or his two closest mentors: Chade and Burrich.

Bear in mind that it's written from Fitz's point of view. Most of us tend to put the people we love and respect on a pedestal, especially when we're children/adolescents. People DO love Fitz (and rely on him, although that becomes more apparent in the second trilogy), but he often doesn't realize it/believe it. His voice seems pretty consistent for an adolescent with abandonment/trust issues.
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:40 PM   #14
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+1 !!

I absolutely LOVED the Farseer Trilogy, the Liveship Traders Trilogy and the Tawny Man Trilogy. As a matter of fact, I love everything Robin Hobb has ever written !!

I like that Fitz isn't a typical hero. He's human. He's a character I can believe in. He gets hurt, fails at things, makes wrong choices, ... I cried a lot while reading these books, but I also smiled a lot.



I disagree. Fitz is loyal, to Verity and to Kettricken. He would do anything for them. He would also do anything for Nighteyes. I thought his relationship with his wolf was really touching (although disfunctional at times). And he is really good at one thing: the Wit.
He's bad at the Wit compared to those people he met in the woods. Likely because he had no training in it, true, but shouldn't he be good at something? He wasn't good at being an assassin despite having the best training one could ever ask for.

Yes, he was loyal. That could be considered a positive trait, but he had so many loyalties that he was divided. He threatened the kingdom by going with Molly, then left her because he was loyal to Verity and the kingdom, then retracted that loyalty again when he discovered his baby. Seems a little contradictory.

I can understand that people would like these books. However, for me, a perpetually flawed character (and dragging plot) is just not interesting. I liked Frodo's character, who was not superhuman by any means. I read and loved George RR Martin, and there are no superheros at all in there. The characters are just more interesting. Wicked, likewise (though the sequels sucked). And a message to all authors out there: a dumb character (or entire cast of idiots) is not an excuse for poorly hidden plot elements.
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlennD View Post
Bear in mind that it's written from Fitz's point of view. Most of us tend to put the people we love and respect on a pedestal, especially when we're children/adolescents. People DO love Fitz (and rely on him, although that becomes more apparent in the second trilogy), but he often doesn't realize it/believe it. His voice seems pretty consistent for an adolescent with abandonment/trust issues.
Okay, that makes sense.
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