Werthead

The Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb

163 posts in this topic

I loved the first Solider Son and really liked the second. The third sucks donkey balls.

And jeez, you didn't like the ending to the Assassin trilogy? o.O

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1 hour ago, Darth Richard II said:

I loved the first Solider Son and really liked the second. The third sucks donkey balls.

And jeez, you didn't like the ending to the Assassin trilogy? o.O

Spending 700 pages of Fitz suffering and suffering and suffering (to the point that it became blatant author manipulation of the reader) and then have the underlying conflict resolved offscreen in 2 pages? Bullshit.

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8 minutes ago, kuenjato said:

Spending 700 pages of Fitz suffering and suffering and suffering (to the point that it became blatant author manipulation of the reader) and then have the underlying conflict resolved offscreen in 2 pages? Bullshit.

I don't think we read the same book.

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I can see how it might be disappointing if you were expecting big action scenes and suchlike, but I think the Red Ship Raiders were more of a plot device than the underlying conflict. The underlying conflict centred on Fitz' journey and personal struggles, Regal's machinations and the quest to awaken the Elderlings. I see how you could be disappointed by the lack of on screen resolution to the Red Ship Raiders but I wasn't too concerned myself, as I was not expecting to see some huge battle and resolution. I felt the ending worked well and made sense in terms of Fitz' character (since we see everything through his POV it's pretty difficult to tell the story of how at would resolve itself in huge detail)

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The lack of fireworks in the ending of Assassins trilogy has been a frequent criticism, i think some readers are accustomed to the "hero" being in on the action in the climatic scene, if so this ending will surly disappoint, i loved it, i thought it was the perfect ending for the sacrifice..and would have been content to read it over and over again and be sad, but hey, Tawny Man ;)

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(such as the vast size of the Six Duchies but the tiny size of its settlements and its apparently extremely low population)

@Werthead

Is the Six Duchies that vast? I think it's the first book when Fitz and Chade have to ride to......I think Forge?......as quickly as possible. And they do it in two days. If you use that as a guide the whole continent looks pathetically small, and particularly absurd that the Elderling cities would be considered mythical and inaccessible when they're really not that far from Jhaampe. Obviously there's a bunch of mitigating circumstances, the horses are drugged or something as I recall, and terrain was favourable etc. But still, it can't be that far. I read it off the back if aSoIaF where two days ride barely gets you to your front gate so maybe it was particularly jarring because of that.

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From the first two books the world and a lot of the features appear very sketchy to me, really not developed thoroughly enough. I complained about that in the "just reading" thread or so. For a plausible and well thought out (admittedly more clearly based on real geography, namely late medieval Spain) "smallish" world, I found the "Chalion" world superior in every respect to the "six duchies".

In my impression there are crippling inconsistencies. The distances are so small that Chade and Fitz can ride to Forge (although they had been on an entirely different mission) in two days. But the countryside cannot be effectively patrolled, so raving bands of "forged ones" are everywhere and the only one who can do something about it are Fitz and Superdoggy. If the distances are really so short, the land could be easily patrolled from the few castles/fortified cities.

Or another thing I mentioned already elsewhere: The Skill is strategically super important and apparently not that rare and a supposedly rotten, incompetent teacher can take a bunch of teenagers and make them somewhat competent Skillers within less than a year. (So it is easier to master than a foreign language or getting decent at any kind of sport or musical instrument!) But Skilling has fallen into neglect within less than a generation for completely mysterious reasons. Supposedly because the Farseer clan jealously guarded their secrets. But if the ability is widespread (anyone with a few drops of the line's blood has a decent chance at it) and one gets decent  at it within a year, it is completely implausible that something so useful and powerful would be so rare, no matter what the Royal House tries to suppress it. (As they cannot even policy the countryside, even less the coast, they obviously suck at suppressing and controlling anyway.)

All this (and the Raiders and supposedly the Elderlings (I only have hints of the latter having read only the first 2 books) looks as if pulled out of thin air for convenience of the plot. It's not even halfway plausibly developed. I am willing to suspend disbelief for a lot of the standard bullshit in fantasy novels but those mentioned are really important elements of this world. They should make a little sense. It's not like a fairy tale where a giant can just step out of the forest around the corner to threaten the hero and so could a unicorn to help him.

I wonder if somebody who has read all of Hobb can answer the following question without too many spoilers: Will give the 3rd book me some kind of "closure" or will there remain so many open questions that I have to keep reading?

I don't really plan to keep reading beyond book 3 because I find the series so far way overrated and the 2nd book already too long but it is not very satisfying to remain at a stage of almost no resolution of important plot lines. But if the situation at the end of book 3 is almost equally bad I'd rather remain at the end of book 2 for the time being.

Edited by Jo498

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12 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I can see how it might be disappointing if you were expecting big action scenes and suchlike, but I think the Red Ship Raiders were more of a plot device than the underlying conflict. The underlying conflict centred on Fitz' journey and personal struggles, Regal's machinations and the quest to awaken the Elderlings. I see how you could be disappointed by the lack of on screen resolution to the Red Ship Raiders but I wasn't too concerned myself, as I was not expecting to see some huge battle and resolution. I felt the ending worked well and made sense in terms of Fitz' character (since we see everything through his POV it's pretty difficult to tell the story of how at would resolve itself in huge detail)

I was totally expecting a big-ass dragon battle. We'd spent so much time on the quest to find Verity and awake the dragons, I did feel a little cheated. But that's a small quibble. My biggest issue with this series was Regal's frankly ridiculous behaviour, and that nobody called him out on his bullshit.

 

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1 hour ago, Jo498 said:

From the first two books the world and a lot of the features appear very sketchy to me, really not developed thoroughly enough. I complained about that in the "just reading" thread or so. For a plausible and well thought out (admittedly more clearly based on real geography, namely late medieval Spain) "smallish" world, I found the "Chalion" world superior in every respect to the "six duchies".

In my impression there are crippling inconsistencies. The distances are so small that Chade and Fitz can ride to Forge (although they had been on an entirely different mission) in two days. But the countryside cannot be effectively patrolled, so raving bands of "forged ones" are everywhere and the only one who can do something about it are Fitz and Superdoggy. If the distances are really so short, the land could be easily patrolled from the few castles/fortified cities.

Or another thing I mentioned already elsewhere: The Skill is strategically super important and apparently not that rare and a supposedly rotten, incompetent teacher can take a bunch of teenagers and make them somewhat competent Skillers within less than a year. (So it is easier to master than a foreign language or getting decent at any kind of sport or musical instrument!) But Skilling has fallen into neglect within less than a generation for completely mysterious reasons. Supposedly because the Farseer clan jealously guarded their secrets. But if the ability is widespread (anyone with a few drops of the line's blood has a decent chance at it) and one gets decent  at it within a year, it is completely implausible that something so useful and powerful would be so rare, no matter what the Royal House tries to suppress it. (As they cannot even policy the countryside, even less the coast, they obviously suck at suppressing and controlling anyway.)

All this (and the Raiders and supposedly the Elderlings (I only have hints of the latter having read only the first 2 books) looks as if pulled out of thin air for convenience of the plot. It's not even halfway plausibly developed. I am willing to suspend disbelief for a lot of the standard bullshit in fantasy novels but those mentioned are really important elements of this world. They should make a little sense. It's not like a fairy tale where a giant can just step out of the forest around the corner to threaten the hero and so could a unicorn to help him.

I wonder if somebody who has read all of Hobb can answer the following question without too many spoilers: Will give the 3rd book me some kind of "closure" or will there remain so many open questions that I have to keep reading?

I don't really plan to keep reading beyond book 3 because I find the series so far way overrated and the 2nd book already too long but it is not very satisfying to remain at a stage of almost no resolution of important plot lines. But if the situation at the end of book 3 is almost equally bad I'd rather remain at the end of book 2 for the time being.

I enjoyed the series a good deal more than you did, so I can't answer whether you'd enjoy book 3.

Fitz, however, is certainly not the only person hunting down the Forged.

Two days' ride could be 100 miles, maybe more, so the size of the Six Duchies is quite substantial.  And in a world without modern communications or transport, keeping control can be difficult. 

I don't think Galen was incompetent.  Just very nasty.

Edited by SeanF

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15 hours ago, kuenjato said:

Really? It was the ending of the Assassin trilogy that turned me off from reading any more Hobb (that, and the overly emo reader manipulation). 

The ending was perfect. I get that the climax wasn't packed full of action, but the positions all the characters were left in especially Fitz was perfectly poignant. The kind of bittersweet I hope GRRM hits in ASOIAF. 

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As I wrote elsewhere I liked the ending of the first one so much that I immediately got the 2nd one for kindle but was rather disappointed by the 2nd, except for the admittedly wild finale. So I don't like it enough to want to read another >6 books. But I will read the 3rd one if it gives some sense of a finished trilogy, not just a perfunctory ending and many things only resolved later or not at all.

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14 minutes ago, Jo498 said:

As I wrote elsewhere I liked the ending of the first one so much that I immediately got the 2nd one for kindle but was rather disappointed by the 2nd, except for the admittedly wild finale. So I don't like it enough to want to read another >6 books. But I will read the 3rd one if it gives some sense of a finished trilogy, not just a perfunctory ending and many things only resolved later or not at all.

My view of Book 3 is that the first 500 or so pages were really gripping, the next 200 dragged, and the last 100 finished well.

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8 hours ago, DaveSumm said:

@Werthead

Is the Six Duchies that vast? I think it's the first book when Fitz and Chade have to ride to......I think Forge?......as quickly as possible. And they do it in two days. If you use that as a guide the whole continent looks pathetically small, and particularly absurd that the Elderling cities would be considered mythical and inaccessible when they're really not that far from Jhaampe. Obviously there's a bunch of mitigating circumstances, the horses are drugged or something as I recall, and terrain was favourable etc. But still, it can't be that far. I read it off the back if aSoIaF where two days ride barely gets you to your front gate so maybe it was particularly jarring because of that.

It's based on Alaska, clearly in shape and to some extent in size. I also think that Hobb wasn't being very consistent. They also ride to Neatby in 2-2.5 days in the second book, but take a lot, lot longer than that to cross Farrow and Tilth in the first book despite it not being much further than the distance to Neatby in the other direction. The inland duchies are also reported as having quite a few cities spread across them, which requires a fair amount of space (even assuming that they are cities in the medieval sense, with only a few thousand people in them).

The biggest inconsistency is how the heck the Chalced States could be so powerful when they are tinier than the smallest of the Six Duchies.

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20 hours ago, Werthead said:

It's based on Alaska, clearly in shape and to some extent in size. I also think that Hobb wasn't being very consistent. They also ride to Neatby in 2-2.5 days in the second book, but take a lot, lot longer than that to cross Farrow and Tilth in the first book despite it not being much further than the distance to Neatby in the other direction. The inland duchies are also reported as having quite a few cities spread across them, which requires a fair amount of space (even assuming that they are cities in the medieval sense, with only a few thousand people in them).

The biggest inconsistency is how the heck the Chalced States could be so powerful when they are tinier than the smallest of the Six Duchies.

I don't think one should assume the map is drawn to scale.

Chalced looks pretty tinpot on the map, when as you say, it's a very powerful and aggressive state.

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Speaking of Superdoggy, anyone else think Nighteyes is kind of a jerk at times?  I expected more of a belly rub relationship between the two after I returned to the series with Fool's Errand after it being years since I read Farseer.  :P

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In addition to the general meandering and all those half-starts with hints (but nothing really definitive) about the Elderlings snarky PITA Nighteyes made book II a major disappointment for me. I though the Wit was infinitely better handled in book I.

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On 15-9-2016 at 10:22 PM, Ninefingers said:

Pics or it didn't happen. :D

Lol, I know, but really there were people who liked Soldier Son. Just a handful though.

That series could have been great.

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I think I'll probably try Soldier Son before going back to the Elderlings.  Don't think I'm up for five more books of Fitz.  And if I understand correctly, the Rain Wild books only feature cameos from Liveships?  Not sure about that series either.     

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Started Assassin's Quest. I'd forgotten what a massive drop-off in quality from the first two this book is. The opening 100 pages is just Fitz mewling about his problems without surcease.

* buckles up *

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