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rameau

rameau's ramblings

A reader who’ll try anything once, including bad books in search of good ones. Eclectic as her tastes are, she tends to gravitate to historical romances, realistic contemporaries, and some fantasy novels.

Currently reading

The Complete Sherlock Holmes (The Heirloom Collection)
Arthur Conan Doyle, Simon Vance
Progress: 13 %
Koraani
Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila
SPOILER ALERT!

It turns out I can both hate and love the same book

— feeling surrender
Fool's Fate - Robin Hobb

I first read the Farseer trilogy when I was about fifteen, in Finnish. I first read the Tawny Man trilogy about ten years later in English.

 

To this day I love how the Farseer ends and not just, because it's not the same old where the hero saves the day, gets the girl and lives happily ever after. It's because in all its depressive misery, it is an emotionally satisfying ending. For me.

 

After all he's been through Fitz deserves some peace and quiet.

 

And then the Tawny Man happened. The first time I read these books I loved, loved, loved them up until the second half-last quarter of the third book. On second this second read, I realise it's only the last three or four chapters that I loathe. Well, those and the gay-panic scene.

 

Fool's Fate and thus the Tawny Man trilogy doesn't have an end, it has a tacked on baby-epilogue-like chapters that undo all the emotional build up of Fool's Errand and The Golden Fool. Those last few chapters also cheapen Molly's character into a trophy.

 

Hobb leaves the story unfinished. She skips the emotional resolution of all those delicious complications she created for Fitz in these six books, just like she skipped Althea's rape in the Liveship Traders trilogy. Hobb's asking the readers to believe that recovery happens at the snap of her fingers.

 

And that's what Fitz's *happy* ending is here, an unearned wish granted by a genie.

 

I know I should be happy that by choosing to end the story this way, Hobb basically reaffirms that The Fool is the love of Fitz's life and that my ship is stronger than ever even if the boys are apart.

 

But I'm sorry, that's not enough. As much as I love, love, love these characters, reading Hobb's work in my thirties has opened my eyes to the flaws. The way she uses flowing florid language to distract reader from lack of content or actual plot progression. Or character growth. The way she uses rape to explain ALL ILLS including Burrich's abuse of Fitz—it's her preferred shortcut and it's really tiring. The way she breaks her own canon...

 

I used to say that the Tawny Man reads like fanfiction of her own work. I was wrong. It reads like bad fanfiction. It reads like Hobb wanted to explain herself to all her critics. It reads like her admitting she wrote lazily in the Farseer. It reads like her going back to her cash cow—I've read other Hobb books and none of them are as compelling without the Fitz and The Fool.

 

An author can't explain her canon without diminishing it, or maybe it can be done, but not by Hobb.

 

I accept the story, Hobb's canon, but that doesn't make any of her books good. It's really too bad I lost my heart to these characters decades ago and now I have to know. I just have to know.