Return to the world of Fitz, the Fool and Nighteyes in the first book of The Tawny Man Trilogy by international bestselling author, Robin Hobb.
Years have passed since Fitz was tortured by Prince Regal. Now he lives in self-imposed exile far from the court. Even his beloved Molly believes him dead. It is safer that way.
But safety remains an illusion. Even though war is over dangerous undercurrents still swirl around the Six Duchies and suddenly young Prince Dutiful disappears just before his crucial diplomatic wedding to shore up the peace.
The Fools brings Fitz a secret mission. He and his bonded companion, the wolf Nighteyes, must find Dutiful and bring him back to be wed. For if the Outislanders are snubbed, war will surely resume. But what if the prince does not wish to be found?
I am so happy to have finally finished my first book from The Realm of the Elderlings in quite a long time. It has been far too long. I have quite the history with this book. This was actually my 3rd attempt at reading Fool’s Errand and I will tell you why that was below. I will also talk about why I was still able to give it a pretty high rating despite my struggles.
Fitz is the main protagonist and basically the only POV for the entirety of this book. I have no issue with single POV books. I actually find that they tend to be more focused than books with multiple POVs and I like that. However, where the single POV can get into trouble is when the character that you are following is unlikeable and that was Fitz for me for the first 25-35% of this book. I was so annoyed with Fitz’ whining and complaining throughout that part of the book that I nearly gave up on reading the rest of this series and the next entirely. Thank God I did not.
Now that we got that out of the way let’s talk about all the positives. Fitz’s development throughout this story, especially after that rough first 25-35% of the story, was phenomenal and I really enjoyed it. Fitz has been through a lot so how he was in the beginning was very realistic, which is part of what made it hard to read. However, once the plot really gets going Fitz is able to not only get back to his old self, but grow and mature as events transpire and his resolve is tested.
The plot was slow to get going at first. For the first 200-300 pages we are getting to know the characters and the world once again after 15 years have passed from the events in the last trilogy. Things have changed a lot in the Six Duchies and our characters have been shaped by these changes. Fitz and Nighteyes are quite different from where we left them at the end of the Farseer Trilogy. Although this makes for a slow beginning plot, the time and care put into reestablishing the world and its characters was absolutely necessary and very well done. I was able to remember why I loved Fitz, Nighteyes, and the Fool in the first place and that ensured that when the plot did really pick up the pace, as was inevitable, the stakes were high and I was very emotionally invested in the outcome.
Hobb’s prose was, as always, fantastic. There is something about her prose that makes the main characters feel like family. There is a tenderness and an understanding of intimate, platonic relationships that is utterly beautiful to read. Hobb gets people. The varied and complicated reasons that people do the things they do and the lengths that they will go to protect those that they love. Hobb really understands how to write about grief and loss as well. So well in fact that I had to put the book down a few times and take a break because it felt so real. There is so much wisdom and beauty locked up in Hobb’s prose and that is one of my favorite parts of her writing.
There is a lot of intrigue, mystery, and suspense in this book. We are never really sure of many of the characters’ loyalty . A big part of the plot is trying to solve a mystery and find a missing person. This part of the book is very well done as well and makes the tension increase as the story goes on.
I ended up really liking this book. It was so good to get back into this world. Being able to hang out with Fitz, the Fool, and Nighteyes again was so refreshing and felt like coming home. I don’t say that about many books. I love these characters and this world. I can’t wait to get to the rest of the series!
Totally understand your frustration with Fitz. He’s my favorite character and I was so caught up in him that I didn’t realize just how much he whines and complains until I completed the books and reflected on them. I really enjoyed these books and the second book in this trilogy is my fav. I’m looking forward to rereading them soon.
David S says
I didnt notice it at all in the Farseer trilogy. I think I only did in this one because it starts out so slow and people keep reaching out to him trying to help him and he just keeps being stubborn and refusing help. I think it is a 100% realistic representation of how someone mat act because of the things he went through, but that made it even harder to read lol.
It happens in the Farseer books too, but I think it makes sense there as well considering his age at the time and him being immature, which he does comment on since he’s reflecting on his younger years.
I’ve never minded Fitz’s whining because he is an incredibly damaged individual. I just feel sorry for him.
Tawny Man is my favourite of Hobb’s series’ and Fool’s Errand never fails to make me cry.
David S says
Yeah, I understand why he is that way. It was very realistic and hard to read because of that. That, along, with how slow the plot was to get moving, made it hard for me to like him at the beginning. Weirdly, I never felt that way at all during the Farseer trilogy. 🤷♂️ Now I’m back to loving his character though!