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.
Last week I stumbled on this. And while I can agree with the sentiment that we need authors and stories that clearly, unequivocally, debunk these tropes about abusive rapists as romantic, I would not call Robin Hobb such an author.
Or in other words: One handsome rapist doesn't undo years and multiple books of using rape as a shortcut.
There was a rape in The Liveship Traders-trilogy, you say. Yes, there was and the rape as well as the aftermath were poorly done. The situation was too close to reality in all the other ways like victim blaming and people believing the rapist over his victim, but when the hero's magic dick heals the heroine-victim, it's all for naught. And let's just ignore the fact that Hobb conflates homosexuality and paedophilia and uses those as an explanation for said rape. Like we haven't read those tropes before.
Fitz is an unreliable narrator, you say. If that's the case, you'd think he'd have mentioned an instance during the Red Ship Wars where one of the Six Duchies soldiers had behaved less than gentlemanly or ladylike and where those strayed puppies had been guided back to the rightful path. He doesn't. Or more to the point, she, Hobb doesn't. Fitz is self-involved dolt, so I guess that makes it okay for the narration to use "raping and pillaging" as a shorthand for villain. Hint: it doesn't.
I believe everything Hobb has churned out since The Assassin's quest has been partly written in response to criticism of her previous books and in part for the monies. It is a positive sign that she's evolving as a social justice story teller, but it's not enough to earn a cookie from me.