Fool's Quest by Robin Hobb - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoilt for you.
Happy endings never last…
Years ago, they freed a dragon from the glaciers on Aslevjal. Then they parted ways, the Fool returning to far-off Clerres, while Fitz finally claimed a wife, a family, and a home of his own.
Now, betrayed by his own people and broken by torment, the Fool has made his way back to the Six Duchies. But as Fitz attempts to heal his old friend in Buckkeep Castle, his young daughter Bee is abducted from Withywoods by pale and mysterious raiders who leave ruin and confusion in their wake.
Fitz must find a way to rescue his beloved Bee. At the same time it is the Fool’s fiercest wish to return to Clerres with the best assassin he has ever known, to gain vengeance and justice.
Can Fitz bear to take up the tools of his old trade again, even to avenge his dearest friend and save his child? From Goodreads.
As I said in my review of Fool's Assassin, I was unable to wait the whole year until the paperback of Fool's Quest was released to read this book, so I borrowed the hardback. I'm partly glad I did, but at the same time, I now have to wait a year for the third, and it's going to be so hard! Fool's Quest was brilliant!
While Fitz rushed through a standing stone to take the Fool to Buckkeep to be healed, raiders attacked his home and kidnapped his daughter, Bee, and Lady Shun, a woman under his protection. Away from home, believing Bee safe under the care of Lord FitzVigilant and Lady Shun, despite not fully trusting them, his concern for the Fool deepen. Tortured to the point of being unrecognisable by his own people, the Fool is nothing like his old self. Fearful and in so much pain, the Fool's is slowly dying. But the Servants of Clerres are out for the Fool's Unexpected Son, heard of in prophecies, and the Fool is adamant that the Servants must be stopped before they find him, and pleads with Fitz to journey back with him to kill every single last one of them. But when the news of Bee and Shun's abduction reaches Buckkeep, Fitz's only thought is to find his daughter, and kill those who took her.
I've been struggling to write this review for a while now. Quite a few of the major events of the book are spoilery, but as big as the book is, there's quite a lot of time where not a huge amount happens. It's only a little before halfway through that Fitz even hears about Bee, and it's quite a while after until there's any clue as to where they might be. We get a few chapters from Bee's perspective, though fewer than we did in Fool's Assassin, and with the kidnappers is a young man who has a magic similar to the skill that can make people not notice them, almost like they're invisible, so it's a long time before there's any idea as to where they could be. So a large part of the story is Fitz and the Fool together at Buckkeep, Fitz learning about the Fool's story and what happened to him, and the Fool trying to get better.
Saying this, it's still absolutely riveting reading, even though it feels like not a huge amount happens for a fair while. It's a hugely emotional story, in lots of ways, and there are some fantastic revelations. There was a moment towards the beginning of the book where I was so emotional because of how happy I was. Something good for Fitz, something truly wonderful, and I was so happy there were tears in my eyes - it was brilliant!
I could be wrong, but there was a point in the novel where I felt quite sure this might be the last trilogy in the Realm of the Elderlings books, or at the very least, the last for Fitz and the Fool. There are moments that are similar to those we saw in the Farseer Trilogy, the very first trilogy, and it almost felt like things have come full circle. They were, themselves, bittersweet moments, small as they were, but really quite important, especially for Fitz.
Fool's Quest is also a book that shows us just how much time has moved on since the Rain Wild Chronicles. Without giving away too much, we got to briefly see some familiar faces from the Rain Wilds, and although it was just a couple of moments, it was wonderful to revisit them, and see how their lives had moved on. I'm hoping there's the possibility of seeing a few more in the final book in the trilogy, Assassin's Fate (ominous title!), but I don't know. I do think there will be some threads from all series that will tie up together, though, in some way. These aren't so much hints, but just a feeling I have, that the next book might be the last in this world, and I'm really quite sad about it. Whether it is or not, I have a strong feeling Assassin's Fate is going to be extremely emotional, and probably quite sad.
A wonderful book, with an unbelievable cliffhanger ending! I cannot wait for Assassin's Fate, and all that will be revealed in that final book!
Published: 13th August 2015
Robin Hobb's Website
My other reviews from the series:
Fool's Assassin (Fitz and the Fool Book 1 - Realm of the Elderlings Series 5)