Book Review

Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb – Book Chat

“The White Prophet’s premise seems simple.”

First line in Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb

Author: Robin Hobb

Series: The Tawny Man #3, The Realm of the Elderlings #9

Published: October 2003

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I’m struggling to find the words to describe my experience with this book because I’m just so disappointed and therefore heartbroken. The first half of the book was so unbelievably boring and unnecessary while the second half took a bulldozer through all the interesting potential of the characters. And then when all the action happened without any sort of set-up that would make it feel earned, I’m left extremely confused why we spent two and a half books doing nothing. The only thing I’m more confused about is why the title of this trilogy is The Tawny Man.
There were obviously no good quotes in this book but I still want to share the one sentence that perfectly summed up my entire experience with this book and this trilogy:

“My anger grew, slowly but steadily, like a fire methodically fed coal one lump at a time.”

In the next part, you get to experience how my anger grew, one idiotic decision at a time, so HERE COME HEAVY SPOILERS!

💀 How did Fitz manage to raise a son who’s an even bigger idiot than Fitz himself was at that age? Going back to Svanja?? Really?!? That’s a whole new level of stupidity.

💀 Apparently, this book is actually a comedy because it’s just hilarious how Fitz is so convinced he’s going to succeed in preventing the Fool from going on that trip.

💀 “I give my word as a Farseer. I will not ask him to do anything against his will.” I’M DAMN WELL GOING TO REMEMBER YOU SAID THAT, CHADE!

💀 I obviously support the Fool against Chade but it’s really hard because what the Fool wants is more dragons. I mean, MORE Tintaglias? No thank you. Am I a fake fantasy fan for hating dragons? (Editing Line: I hate dragons and I don’t care!)

💀 It looks like the Fool isn’t going to be a part of the trip since they now think they’ve managed to leave him behind. I have theories. Right now my most convincing one is this: Who else was left behind at Buckkeep? Starling. Starling who has money and connections. Fool could team-up with Starling so they both suddenly arrive at a port to meet the prince’s ship. It’s such an unlikely team-up that I fully believe that to be a plot twist! And that tells you something about how badly I want the Fool to be there. Yes, I’m willing to accept Starling as well. Anything for this trilogy to quit its Fool-baiting! Also, my most unconvincing theory is that Riddle is a disguised Fool but I don’t really believe that. There’s going to be something with Riddle because why name a character ‘Riddle’ if he’s not going to matter. It would be so like the Fool to call himself Riddle, though.

💀 Just putting it out there that if Chade survives this book, I’m docking a star from my rating out of spite and I’ll not be sorry.

💀I don’t want to say that I hate this book so far but it IS continuing the terribleness of The Golden Fool. We’re just following Fitz around on his job as a glorified babysitter and Hobb keeps adding more idiotic children for him to take care of! Can we please do something important soon? I’M SO BORED!

💀 Oh, Dutiful and Elliania are in love. Why would you also waste time setting that up? Them being a boy and a girl is enough set-up, of course. Silly me 🙄

💀 Scratch that thing I said about docking a star if Chade survives. I’ve realized that there aren’t going to be any stars left to dock when I reach the end… I need that entire Farseer family wiped out by the end of this (and preferably also everyone else besides Fitz and the Fool) before I would claim I’m satisfied with this book. Dutiful has already adopted the toxicity of that family so the Six Duchies would be better off with someone else in charge! Just dismantle the whole thing!

💀 I’m realizing these commentary posts are easier to make when I like the book. I don’t care about anything that happens because everything is so goddamn boring so the only additional thoughts I have are “please let this book be over soon!”. Repeatedly. I mean, the Fool has finally reappeared but it was presented like it was a plot twist. How can it be a plot twist when we all knew it was going to happen?!? I can’t even make myself excited about his return because I’m not stupid enough to think that The Tawny Man trilogy will now ACTUALLY be ABOUT the tawny man. Hobb doesn’t care about him. She’s spent two and a half books proving that. No, the focus will still be on Fitz’s kindergarten. Can we get some deaths, please?

💀 That’s right, Fool! Be mad at Fitz! I am too because it’s his fault this book is so boring and I also have no intention of forgiving him for that any time soon.

💀 No, Fool!! You were allowed to hate Fitz for being a bad friend longer than that! But don’t worry, I still hate him enough for the both of us.

💀 Yes, the scenes with Fitz and the Fool are good to have back, but now I’m reading them and being so depressed that those conversations aren’t plot-essential and happening all the time. It could have been so amazing but instead, all we get is this insignificant fluff and only when Hobb deems Fitz worthy of a break from his babysitting duties. We still have our two main characters who are UTTERLY IRRELEVANT TO THE PLOT! They are only there because Hobb wants to use them later BUT THAT’S NOT HOW YOU PLOT! I’m done making excuses for Hobb just because she gives us one good scene every 200 pages. Still, the scenes with the Fool are probably the only reason my iPad survives this frustrating experience.

💀 Fitz lost his Skill?? That’s amazing!!! That’s probably going to result in less of Chade, Dutiful and Thick in this book! Definitely no more Nettle and Tingalia! This is marvelous! Please let it stick.

💀 Page 450: Death toll – 0. Not that I absolutely need Hobb to have killed anyone at this point but she also can’t kill everyone right at the end so she needs to get going.

💀 I should have known Hobb would find a way to get more dragons in this. That whole tale of how the Fool came to the island was so stupid that I’m going to ignore that I just read that.

💀 FUCKING FINALLY!!! We finally left the boring, one-dimensional characters behind so now we just have Fitz and the Fool as it should have been all along! Why the hell was that so hard?!? I can’t reward it (lol it’s 2000 pages too late), but at least I’m not going to hate my life for this next part. Hobb is still also only doing fanservice with them.

💀 Page 500: Death toll – 2 (technically Forged but they count). It was the wrong two! Riddle was the only other character with just a little potential and who even is Hest? I’m still waiting, Hobb!

💀 Stop making The Pale Woman and Henja out to be a plot twist. We’ve been waiting for this to happen since book the start of book two! It should have been the main plot through all the books so this would feel earned but apparently, I’m the only one who thinks so.

💀 Aaaand we’re back with the boring characters and we left the Fool behind. Again. I literally had the thought that maybe slamming my head into the wall repeatedly would be more enticing than what I’m about to read… Deep breaths, Line, deep breaths.

💀 Why the hell is Burrich here? Is the book just trying to outdo itself in stupidity? Are Kettricken and Nettle going to come waltzing in next like that island is the easiest thing to get to?

💀 Yeah, sure, let’s have a little chit-chat while the Fool is dying. Burrich, you’ve lost your mind as well as your sight; THAT WAS NOT IMPORTANT!

💀 It really looks like the Fool could be dying and I must admit that the only reason I believe he won’t is that we have a trilogy titled Fitz and the Fool. However, based on this trilogy, I obviously shouldn’t take the title as confirmation that the Fool will even be in that trilogy at all 🙄 It’s probably a synonym for Swift or something like The Tawny Man was a synonym for Fitz’s Kindergarten.

💀 Nooooo! We were so close to Nettle dying and then she is saved! Death toll is still 2 then but I was just getting excited.

💀 Fitz, you really picked a dragon over the only person who loves you and I can only say that you deserve all the pain coming to you and then some.

💀 How do I still have 300 pages left?? I swear this book grows as I read. The wall is looking really appealing…

💀 I swear, Hobb, if you continue with this the-Fool-is-dead nonsense after this joke of a trilogy “about him”, we are so done (we probably are anyway but my point stands). But he’s not dead. He has probably been pulled out by The Pale Woman or The Black Man because his so-called closest friend didn’t bother doing it 🙄 Which is why this whole thing about Fitz grieving feels rather pointless because I have no reason to feel the same. Also, Riddle and Hest are probably fine now but no one thought about getting them?? But I guess it means the death toll is back to 0…

💀 I can’t stress it enough how unrealistic it is that Fitz is still hung up on Molly. He’s an adult now and has experienced real love with the Fool, so he should have realized that Molly was just a childish crush, not the real thing!

💀 Fitz was so close to finally being left alone on the island AND THEN THICK STAYED BEHIND!!! *insert about 200 swear words*. Well, I guess he’s here to die then. And Fitz’s Skill is back (😩) so Nettle is back and we’ve returned to Fitz’s Babysitting Adventures…

💀 So she is going for the resurrection trope then? Well, of course she is. We wouldn’t want this book to make one good decision. I don’t think I can get any angrier than I already am, but I have a feeling Hobb is about to prove me wrong. But we got confirmation of Burrich’s death so yay, death toll is now 1. Hobb is still making herself very busy in these last couple hundred pages with all the characters she needs to kill.

💀 I really hate the resurrection trope! What was the point of the Fool dying when this was always going to be the result? Just don’t kill him then! And the Rooster Crown was also completely pointless! WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT ANYTHING IN THIS FUCKING BOOK???

💀 I don’t know why I would think Hobb was above queer-baiting but I guess she isn’t…

💀 Through the Fool, it looks like we could finally learn something about him and his history, you know, the thing that would have been great to have an entire trilogy about (👀) and what do we do? We leave him behind. I would laugh if I wasn’t so depressed.

💀 10 pages left – Where are the deaths, Hobb? Chade, the main villain of this trilogy, IS STILL FUCKING ALIVE!!! Not a single Farseer died! And Burrich only died because Hobb needed him out of the way. I swear she is the only person in the world who ships Fitz and Molly! THEY DON’T LOVE EACH OTHER! And then she came up with the most ridiculous reason why Fitz and the Fool aren’t allowed to be together. The real reason, of course, is that she strongly believes sex to be the most important part of a relationship and wouldn’t allow her main character to have a non-straight thought. He didn’t have to because haven’t she repeatedly said that their love had no limits? Well, that was obviously not true so stop lying. She really did insist on ruining every single shred of potential in her characters with this trilogy and why this book has a rating of 4.45 on Goodreads is now officially the world’s greatest mystery.

💀 Final thoughts: I’M DONE!!!! 🥳🥳🥳 Omg, I almost cried on the bus because I was so happy! This has without a doubt been the worst reading experience of my life. I’m so depressed. I witnessed two of my favorite characters ever be completely ruined and any potential they had become unsalvagable and that experience can only be described as torturous. A trilogy that should have been the best thing I’ve ever read with the Fool as the main character, turned into a meandering mess that destroyed the beautiful relationship between Fitz and the Fool for no reason. If there was any doubt, Hobb now belongs on my list of least favorite authors. I’ve figured her out now, you see. If she wants something to happen, she will force it to happen, no matter the cost. No matter if it makes sense or if it makes someone act out of character or if it unravels character development. It was the exact same way she ruined Wintrow’s character in Liveship Traders. Now, we get the Fool telling Fitz to go back to his abusers because that’s “where he’ll be the happiest”. We get Fitz who is suddenly allowed to live his life, something that has been denied him his whole life, just so he can be with Molly. And finally? We get Fitz saying he’s happy to live his life without the Fool 🤬 And then you still have the Fool-baiting and the queer-baiting that I’m NOT accepting. But Fitz ends the trilogy as the manager of his very own kindergarten (Molly’s kids), so I guess that was the perfect conclusion to this trilogy’s main plot *sense the gigantic eyeroll*. I hate Robin Hobb so much.

I know a lot of people love this book and I would say I’m sorry but how long did it take you to read this? 10 minutes? I’ve spent two weeks in hell. I’m not sorry about anything. Now excuse me while I try to forget that I ever read this book.

5 thoughts on “Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb – Book Chat

  1. Well, I still don’t agree with you, but after getting past the pain of how much you hated this book, this was actually very entertaining to read 🤣

    Like, I didn’t even consider the possibility of the Fool teaming up with Starling to get to that island (I had my sights on the Bingtown liveships 😁), but now that you’ve mentioned that, I think that is definitely how things should have gone! Because, yes, that would have been so much more interesting than the Girl-on-a-Dragon flight! And without Girl on a Dragon in this book, Fitz would also never have gotten his memories back and become an even stupider dunce, which I am still super bitter about… 😤

    Also, we don’t disagree on everything else, either! Although I do love Fitz and his kindergarten (well, the pre-Molly one anyway 😜), I also wasn’t a fan of the Dutiful-Elliania relationship development, the resurrection, and Burrich being thrown under the character chopping block so that Fitz could revert to his teenage self and creepily stalk Molly. So at least we agree on the fact that the ending sucked! (Does this mean I get to say I told you so now? Because you did say me hating it was a sign that you were probably going to love it 🤔😜) And I also wouldn’t have minded the Fool being mad at Fitz for much, much longer…

    But anyway, I think I’ll leave it at that and not risk refueling your hatred by mentioning everything I loved about the trilogy 😅 Robin Hobb’s place among my favorite authors is still very secure, I’m afraid – and responsible for me running out on even more bookshelf space because guess whose summer vacation starts in two weeks, meaning she will have time to read about lots of dragons in the Rain Wild Chronicles?!! 🙃🤗 Although I guess I will have to find some other person I can force to read them with me now 😭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, when the book wasn’t going to provide entertainment I had to make my own 😄

      I was so convinced about my Starling-theory! Like, that would have been a funny little twist in those characters’ dynamic and I felt it was very Hobb-esqe. What we got instead just left me with so many questions of the variety “Can he really do that?”.
      I guess you can say “I told you so” but you also tricked me! You didn’t mention that the rest of the book would be just as bad because then I would have known the ending couldn’t save it 😜

      And I clearly have a self-destructive streak because I haven’t fully made the decision not to read more of the Realm of the Elderlings 😬 I’ve just dedicated so much time to it and I’m over halfway through and do I really want to give it all up? Like, the only reason I finished this book was because I couldn’t make the decision to DNF the series. Maybe in six months when I’ve forgotten how much I hated my life these two weeks, I could read them but very slowly! But you definitely get to read them first and tell me if they’re worth reading 😁 Based on the synopsis of the first book in the Rain Wilds, they’re aren’t going to feature Wintrow in any way and that obviously took some of my motivation away 😅

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know whether to be deeply impressed or horrified by your lack of resolution 🤣 Like, the mere thought of reading another book by Vladimir Sorokin or Susanne Gerdom after the traumatizing one-star experiences they gave me this year makes me shudder, so I can only imagine how much worse it would be if the book in question also ruined one of your previous favorite series! 😬

        Although I can’t say I’d be particularly sad if you did decide to join me in reading them… I’m happy to test them for us if that means someone might actually listen to all my rambling and discuss them with me! 🤗 BUT WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE MIGHT NOT BE ANY WINTROW??! I WANT ALL OF THOSE CHARACTERS BACK! (And nope, I didn’t read the synopsis myself. I never do that until after reading the book because there might be spoilers! 😅) Please don’t tell me Paragon and Althea will be missing too and that we’ll only get Malta and Reyn or something 😨 And Amber had better show up at some point, or I will be SO mad!!!

        But yeah, I guess I’ll let myself be surprised and tell you about the worthwhileness of reading them – although I’m actually kind of surprised you’d still trust my thoughts on this after the enormous divergence in opinion we have on this book 😜

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, I know I’m going to hate every second of those books and also wouldn’t be doing commentaries on them but at least I can’t be disappointed anymore? Like my expectations would be below zero with no chance of Hobb rectifying anything and maybe that would actually be kind of freeing. And I’d be able to get some more correct opinions about Hobb out there 😁

        And yeah, I’m pretty certain those books are going to be about new characters, just maybe with some cameos and that’s what I’m expecting you to tell me about 😁 No, I won’t read them just because you love them if that’s what ends up happening but I just want you to tell me if they’re required reading to understand the Fitz and Swift trilogy.

        Liked by 1 person

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