Passed through fire and plunged through salt water and offered to the winds of the air; thus were names sealed to those chosen children – Robin Hobb.
Magic, mystery and murder is what grips you to the introducing book of Robin Hobb’s trilogy about the Royal Farseer family. The story is penned from Fitz’s memory, an entwined rope of the official scrolls he attempts to write later in life and his memories of his own life, starting from just six years old.
Fitz is a character that you fall into admiring instantly; perhaps it is the first person prologue that entwines his feelings and emotions with our own, just as much as it is the automatic will to love, and root for, an outsider who has done nothing wrong to deserve some of the abuse he gets from such a young age; even more so, it could be the impenetrable love and care he has for animals due to The Wit, of which he must keep a secret as it is frowned upon by people surrounding The Skill.
As the bastard of the King-In-Waiting, Prince Chivalry, the rest of the kingdom look at him like a disease – apart from the few close to him such as Burrich, the king’s stablemaster and Chivalry’s man; as well as Prince Verity, Chilvalry’s younger brother. Throughout the novel, a few more come to accept and enjoy Fitz’s company within the kingdom’s keep such as Chade, Lady Patience (Chivalry’s wife) and even those he meets from other kingdoms, like of the mountain people. It is easier to say who likes him than who doesn’t as the rest think of him as a waste of space, a disappointment and somewhat a curse. This proves difficult throughout his teenage years when he has to swear his allegiance to his king and become something which he never thought would happen in his life.
Instead of being a simple stableboy, surrounded by animals and completely in his comfort zone, the king orders that he must become one of them – a man of arms of some sort; capable in protecting the kingdom in some way. One night, whilst Fitz sleeps in his bed, a wall opens in his room and a ghostly figure is present who leads him into his own chambers within the keep. This man is brittle and scarred, and later we find out that he is more like Fitz than we think. He is Chade – the King’s assassin.
Chade is to teach Fitz how to kill someone quietly, off the battlefield and behind closed doors. This will be Fitz’s place in the royal kingdom; he is intrigued to say the least, but he does not want to become a murderer. Nonetheless, he learns and within his learning, he finds a good mentor in Chade; not only as a teacher but as a friend too. In this story, the relationships between Fitz and his peers are incredibly important as it shows his alignment to his King as well as his place as a bastard and a young boy. He is a threat to others because he is powerful, and even more so – he does not know of his power, and is in fact persuaded and cheated of this knowledge which sends him on a spiral of self-loathing as well as self-discovery.
Despite having his loyalty to the King, he does not blindly kill; he uses his brain to annotate different situations; analyse them and discover the real truth for himself, thus leading him to be an incredibly powerful character in mind and sense too.
It is safe to say that I am excited to find out the next chapters of Fitz’s life in the later novels of the trilogy and to see just how he finds his enemies and friends.
Have you read any of The Farseer Trilogy? It is a book I would have never picked up for myself which is why recommendations are the best!
Love, Faye x