A small and sadly untried coterie – the old assassin Chade, the serving-boy Thick, Prince Dutiful, and his reluctant Skillmaster, Fitz – sail towards the distant island of Aslevjal. There they must fulfil the Narcheska’s challenge to her betrothed: to lay the head of the dragon Icefyre, whom legends tell is buried there deep beneath the ice, upon her hearth. Only with the completion of this task can the marriage proceed, and the resulting alliance signal an end to war between the two kingdoms.
Length: 31 hours 41 minutes
Published: 2013 (originally 2003)
Publisher: HarperCollins UK Audio
Fool’s Fate is the third book in The Tawny Man trilogy, which is the third trilogy in the Realm of the Elderlings series. It picks up where The Golden Fool left off, with Fitz on a ship on the way to help his prince take the head of the dragon Icefyre. The last male dragon in the world.
I have loved every book in this series up until now and this one is no exception. This is epic fantasy, with enough of a subverting twist to make it unique, in my eyes. It is the characters, and their relationships, that really make these books special though. A lot of epic fantasy (that I’ve read) is plot driven, rather than character driven. Whilst Fool’s Fate (and the other Farseer books) do have an intricate plot, it does feel like the focus is more on the characters.
I can’t say that I have a favourite character in this series. Though I do enjoy the relationship between Fitz and the Fool, especially in this book. There are a lot of sad moments during the story, but the way the friendship deepens between these two is the bright spot, for me. I love that the strongest relationship in this series isn’t romantic: it’s friendship.
The writing, as always, with Hobb, is really good. The way she describes the ice in this made me feel cold. I could almost feel the tips of my fingers going numb, just as the characters’ do. I especially loved her descriptions of the more magical elements of the story. And I followed what was happening really well (though it was quite confusing and unusual).
The pacing was quite slow for a lot of the book. I did wonder if Hobb could have shortened some of the travelling bits to provide a more compact book. But I can’t regret spending time with Fitz, even if he’s walking back and forth over a lot of snow and ice.
As Hobb originally meant Fool’s Fate as the final ending to Fitz’s story, the book does cover a lot, especially at the end. So Hobb structured in an odd way. The climax of the plot happens, and you’re left with a lot of tying up loose ends. I didn’t mind this too much. But it did make me feel like I was waiting for the book to end for a long time.
Overall, as usual, I really enjoyed my time in this world. I’ll be looking forward to diving into the next series in this series.