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Friday, November 02, 2007

Farseer Trilogy

Over the years, these books' have been staring in my face, daring me to actually read them and me always putting them off because well, they looked utterly boring. Oh boy, yet another fantasy trilogy about assassins...big whoop.

I think I must have read one of them a few chapters and got utterly bored. Because I think the second book have sat on my bookshelf for at least 3 years or so.

Well, I was out of reading material and decided to try it again. And well...2 weeks and close to 1,200 pages later, I'm done with the Trilogy.

There are two things that I'm particularly concerned about when I read any fantasy novels, and that's basically writing style, and story pace. Story content is a given, but I'm far more forgiving of a story content that's been retold multiple times but in a different manner than say, of weak writing or weak pacing. I won't bother with story content because you can get the summary from, and frankly, its not particularly original nor unique.

So at least in the two categories I care about, the Farseer trilogy is pretty good.

The writing style of Robin Hobbs is a little peculiar, if a bit verbose. She tends to love describing things, going on and on about the lushness of a particular forest, or the fragrance of a particular dish. She doesn't have any pet remarks like Robert Jordan did (tug braids, smooth skirts...), but all the same, you do start glossing over her verbosity when it comes to descriptions after the first 200 pages or so. Some editing would probably have helped as the first book weighs in around 300 pages, the second at 500 pages, and the last close to 600 I believe.

The entirety of the trilogy is also written in the first person, from the point of view of the protagonist. As it is, it serves quite well for the high fantasy world she's put the protagonist in . The reader finds out information at pretty much the same time as the protagonist. Hence you get to see that the world building is quite well done, and the magic system reasonably believable.

The pacing of the story is quite intense. I found myself flipping the pages as there's rarely a dull moment unless she got into the mood to start discourse on the lushness of a certain area.

The one major gripe I have about the series is that characters do fairly retarded things. Trusting characters are often potrayed as little more than idiots when it comes to trusting the wrong people...Clearly, her characters never learned the proverb "once bitten twice shy"

All in all, a trilogy that I found worth didn't radically change the landscape of high fantasy, but its still a good series in its own rights and i don't regret at all the time I spent on it.

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