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| YOU ARE VIEWING ARTICLE - ID:20040711002 |
|Title:||Golden Fool, The|
|Subtitle:||Book by Robin Hobb|
|ID & Publication:||20040711002 ~ The-Villager.co.uk |
|Subject:||Book Reviews |
The Golden Fool
by Robin Hobb
The second in the thrilling new fantasy series, from the author of the best-selling Assassin trilogy. Fitz has succeeded in rescuing Prince Dutiful from the clutches of the Piebald rebels, and has returned with him to Buckkeep castle. With Dutiful safe again, Queen Kettricken can proceed with plans to marry him to the Outislander princess, Elliania, but with tensions building among the peoples of the Six Duchies over Kettricken's tolerance of the Witted, even Buckkeep is no longer safe. A reluctant Fitz is assigned to protect the young prince, and also train him in the Skill, and in doing so he finally makes contact not only with his estranged daughter, Nettle, but with someone in Buckkeep who may possess a greater Skill talent than Fitz. And who may represent a terrible threat to the Farseers. Meanwhile, Elliania arrives, and before she will accept Prince Dutiful's betrothal challenges him to undertake an impossible quest. He must kill a legendary Outislander dragon.
Often the problem with trilogies is 'middle book syndrome', whereby the middle book seeks to bridge a gap between the first and last books. Often they are slow, plodding, quiet affairs. In many ways The Golden Fool has the characteristics of middle book syndrome, but in fairness it still stands up well as a good story, and an enjoyable read. Such is Hobb's skill of characterisation that the book is very much an exercise in the summarising and evaluating of the characters and storylines seen in the last 7 books (if we include the Liveship Trader Trilogy), a quiet interlude before sending us forth towards the climatic conclusion in the final book.
There is still of course plenty going on. The main plots and subplots are moved along nicely, other subplots bubble up, and then disappear, but ultimately the book is about developing the people, and setting the scene. Despite this I for one did not feel as though I was missing out. Though much of the action and dialogue takes place in and around Buckkeep castle, Hobb shows her skill by still making it interesting, and enjoyable, and the strength of the characters she has built shine through against an almost two dimensional backdrop. You don't need fancy locations, large battles or dragons (see book three!) to make a story interesting.
The only downside to this book is that it cannot really be read in isolation without reading the first book in the Tawny Man Trilogy, or better still starting off at the very beginning, with the Assassin's Apprentice.
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