Werthead

The Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb

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Posted (edited)

I should think that being a woman in Chalced is considerably worse than being a woman in Saudi Arabia.

  Although things may change under the rule of Chassim.  But, she may be a ruthless tyrant in other ways.

Edited by SeanF

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Hobb is great at writing from animal POVs (even fantasy animals) in the sense it never reads like it's a person seeing through the animals mind.

Thanks for the Burritch reminder, I knew chalcid rang a bell from the farseer books but I felt like I hadn't met any of them.

I think Slick Mongoose told me once that the thing about Hobb's books is that it's about characters trying to make the best decision out of two bad ones and then inevitably discovering the outcome is bad. This feels particularly true in ship of magic especially with wintro.

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Finished. I thought it was a very strong book and would have probably been my favourite Hobb book so far if not for my issues with Kyle and how things fell into his lap.

I like how the slaves freed themselves of Kyle's crew before Kennet took over. I also like the potential chemstry between Kennet, Wintro and Vivacia (and etta's hatred of it). I'm curious as to whether Wintro means to stay with Vivacia now or whether he'll try and go back to the priesthood. Oddly I could see him thriving alongside Kennet. While Kennet's capture of the ship was a fitting place to end the story it did feel like everything else was left somewhat on pause. Althea gets to end on a positive note (given she doesn't know the Vivacia is further away from her grasp than ever) and Malta and co were paused. I'm not entirely sure what Brashun's function in the story is at the moment. And perhaps something more final for Paragon would have been nice

I'll definitely be checking the next book out but will probably read a couple of other author's first. I think the goal remains to do this series before the end of the year.

It still feels like the most adaptable work by Hobb in terms of TV.

One odd question - where exactly are the "bodies" of the liveships? I figured they were mastheads but that confuses me spatially as there were so many scenes where characters on board the ship could see the figureheads and physically interact with them. It made sense for Paragon as I imagine they just stood in front of the ship. I was more confused at how people could play dice with one of them and how the crew seemed to interact with Vivacia while at sea.

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Posted (edited)

On 13/03/2017 at 5:45 PM, red snow said:

 

  Hide contents

 

One odd question - where exactly are the "bodies" of the liveships? I figured they were mastheads but that confuses me spatially as there were so many scenes where characters on board the ship could see the figureheads and physically interact with them. It made sense for Paragon as I imagine they just stood in front of the ship. I was more confused at how people could play dice with one of them and how the crew seemed to interact with Vivacia while at sea.

I picture a figurehead a bit like this http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-MthkAP3oK7o/U557L08S1MI/AAAAAAAAIsY/3YqlQ69WaUA/s1600/Kalamar_Nycel_bow_figurehead.jpg

But much, much bigger and able to swivel 360 degrees to interact with people.

And human instead of lion. :P

Edited by Slick Mongoose

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Does Ophelia not have some kind of alteration that allows her to dice with people? 

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10 hours ago, Slick Mongoose said:

I picture a figurehead a bit like this http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-MthkAP3oK7o/U557L08S1MI/AAAAAAAAIsY/3YqlQ69WaUA/s1600/Kalamar_Nycel_bow_figurehead.jpg

But much, much bigger and able to swivel 360 degrees to interact with people.

And human instead of lion. :P

That's how i feel it should look too. I guess weirdwood is animated and more flexible so if the figureheads can simply turn around that solves most of my spatial imagination limitations :)

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On 3/14/2017 at 4:45 AM, red snow said:

It still feels like the most adaptable work by Hobb in terms of TV.

One odd question - where exactly are the "bodies" of the liveships? I figured they were mastheads but that confuses me spatially as there were so many scenes where characters on board the ship could see the figureheads and physically interact with them. It made sense for Paragon as I imagine they just stood in front of the ship. I was more confused at how people could play dice with one of them and how the crew seemed to interact with Vivacia while at sea.

The ship's body, i thought was the ship itself, but the best place to hear her reply would be the bow of the ship, particularly for non family members. Family members have the whole telepathy thing going on

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Hm, I guess that I'll copy my contribution to the April reading thread here:

I have been on a Robin Hobb binge since her latest trilogy is about to conclude and I have held back from starting it to spare myself the waiting between volumes. Of course, I somehow thought that "Assassin's Fate" was already out in March, but 3 weeks of agonized impatience are certainly better than a couple of years.

Anyway, I have decided to re-read the Six Duchies novels only, since tackling everything in "The Realms of the Elderlings" cycle would be too monumental a task. I can't deny that I felt a bit of trepidation re: how the books stood the test of time.

In the past, I have considered "Assassin's Apprentice" to be the best book, "Royal Assassin" to be very good, but not quite as strong and "Assassin's Quest" to be a bit of a chore, but with an excellent ending. I am happy to say that my opinion of the latter 2 books has gone way up during this re-read. In part it is due to my complete re-evaluation of the villains, whom I used to disdain, but now find to be shockingly realistic. Also, having payed particular attention to the circumstances that benefited them, I actually found the points of failure to be quite well constructed and believable. It also turned out that I didn't sufficiently appreciate the character of the Fool in this trilogy on my previous reads and some others as well. The third book may be too long, but OTOH all the build-up is quite organic and makes the victory feel earned. Facit, IMHO the first trilogy is like fine wine that only became better with age.

Now,  there is one thing that new readers just have to accept - and that is that certain aspects of Six Duchies world-building are inconsistent and remain so throughout. It wouldn't have been difficult to make them consistent, but for some ineffable reason Hobb never does. All the rest more than makes up for it, though.

When  "The Tawny Man" trilogy - the second set in the Six Duchies came out after the excellent "Liveship" trilogy, I found it disappointing, on the whole, the last book in particular. And while I am again happy to say that it improved on re-read and that I now see that some of my dissatisfaction was due to preconceived notions and cherished theories re: certain developments, some of my reservations remain:
 

Spoiler

 

In particular, I still feel that keeping Nettle a peripherial plot device rather than fleshing her into an actual character and letting her have real agency was a major mistake. After building up all the anticipation of her appearance in the series, no less. Worse, what we are told about her just never jives with her actual actions - which are those of a passive and slightly dim girl, who does nothing but cry to and make demands on her imaginary friend. Shoe-horning of her little brother into the plot adds insult to injury just so that we can have yet another tired re-tread of father-son issues - as if those haven't been continiously and much better explored with other characters throughout both trilogies!

Female characters generally don't fare well in this trilogy, as new ones don't get sufficiently fleshed out and  it becomes a total sausage-fest in the last volume for no good reason. Hobb's tendency of depicting elderly men as vital and vigorous, while women who are a generation or more(!) younger than them are consistently disabled by encroaching age doesn't help either - and doesn't agree  with my personal experience.

Ret-cons are also still palpably awkward  - how could Six Duchies elite be so ignorant of Outislander traditions, when it is often re-iterated throughout the series that before the Red Ship War there had always been marriages with them  among the nobility? Why conflate the Elderling Realder's  dragon with a Six-Duchies-coetrie-made Girl on a Dragon? Surely, another reason why the latter would want the Rooster's Crown could have been easily found.

Speaking of which - I am not sure that I like the whole notion of Fitz's lost memories being responsible for his withdrawal. After all, he tended to do that after experiencing trauma previously and it took intervention and/or events to knock him out of it . Not to mention that the Fool also put parts of himself into the Girl on a Dragon back in  "Assassin's Quest" and it didn't seem to hamper him in that way. I hated this development back when I first read it, and while I am a bit more accepting of it now, it still seems cheap.

Oh, and Burrich's appearance and heroic death still feels as painfully contrived and fan-servicy as ever, much as I love him as a character.

 

At the same time, again, I feel that I have really under-appreciated the character of the Fool and his dynamic with Fitz in this trilogy on the first read and all the evolutions of their relationship and plot.

Spoiler

On the first read I also thought that the Fool's return from death was cheap - now I feel that it was anything but - very fitting and excellently done. And that was even before I started the new trilogy.

That part is great. Ditto a couple of new characters and Fitz's relationships with them. And, of course some of the returning old characters and their developements have always been a pleasure.

The villains make sense too, though they are not standout characters by any means and some of them profit from the next trilogy re: retroactive fleshing-out of their motives. 

So, I still feel that "The Tawny Man" is markedly weaker than the previous trilogy, but it is not as much of a disappointment as I used to think and has some really excellent elements.

And, thankfully, the new trilogy is much stronger so far. I loved the 2 books that are out - "Fool's Assassin" and "Fool's Quest", even though I have some minor quibbles - but then, I always do. I fervently hope that the concluding volume sticks the landing and I can't wait to read it.  

 

 

 

 

 

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@Maia have you read the Rain Wild Chronicles? I only ask because you didn't mention them in your run down. I think you may get more out of the new series if you at least have a vague knowledge of what happened in RWC.

I've also been re-reading in preparation for the final book. One question I did come up with reading Blood of Dragons

Was the Silver well. In Assassin's Quest Verity is able to get to the silver and use it, yet it's seemingly disappeared when the Dragons arrive. So is this just the fluctuating levels we are told about, that sometimes it runs high sometimes not? If so, does that's mean there wasn't no need for Thymara to go down the well and open the stop valve?

There are a few things about Silver (the Skill) which I don't think are entirely consistent across the series. Will be interesting to see how Fitz reacts to seeing Kelsingra in its full glory in the new book.

I also picked up on stuff I skimmed over or forgot since last time I read these. Like Chalced being an antagonist to dragons and Elderlings even way back when. I wonder if we'll find out in the new book that Clerres was pushing them to destroy dragons and Elderlings all along. 

Looking at the maps provided in the book and then reading the books, I have to conclude the maps aren't accurate. Chalced looks so tiny when it obviously isn't. I always imagine it stretching much further inland, and a much larger body of land between it and Bingtown (the "disputed" territory so to speak). The dragon flight from Kelsingra to Chalced and Icefyre/Tintaglia's attack in the desert certainly suggests it stretches further inland than is depicted in the maps

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8 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

@Maia have you read the Rain Wild Chronicles?

 

Yes, but only once. IMHO, it is the weakest Elderling series. I didn't re-read it or the Liveship books (which I love) because it would have been too much Hobb in a stretch and I also thought that Assassin's Fate was already out. Maybe I'll see them in a kinder light if/when I re-read them, but even so I am not in a hurry. 

 

8 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:
  Hide contents

Was the Silver well. In Assassin's Quest Verity is able to get to the silver and use it, yet it's seemingly disappeared when the Dragons arrive. So is this just the fluctuating levels we are told about, that sometimes it runs high sometimes not?

 

Spoiler

 

I am really not sure if Verity's Skill stream was really in Kelsingra and/or whether Fitz's vision of him wasn't partly metaphorical. We know that he visited there and consulted the maps, but he might have gone to another city for liquid Skill. I mean, wouldn't Fitz have sensed the stream when he was there himself? Wouldn't Will's coterie? I had a distinct impression that his feel of of Kelsingra changed drastically between AQ and FQ - maybe because there is now Skill in the well?

Or, maybe there was still just enough in the well/bucket and Verity/Kestrel used up all of it. Then danger of plunging into the Skill-stream would have been more intangible -  Skill-hunger enhanced through contact with the liquid stuff and Fitz's vision more a visual depiction of it than strictly factual.

 

 

 

8 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:
Spoiler


I also picked up on stuff I skimmed over or forgot since last time I read these. Like Chalced being an antagonist to dragons and Elderlings even way back when. I wonder if we'll find out in the new book that Clerres was pushing them to destroy dragons and Elderlings all along.

 

 

Spoiler

 

Chalced is too tiny on the maps, true. OTOH, it did canonically lose much of it's territory to the bordering Duchies throughout history. And dragons being erroneously perceived as Six Duchies allies due to their use of stone dragons may have played into Chalcedean enmity towards them. However, since we now know that the Pale Woman was pursuing the Clerres party line instead of being an aberration, and  it seems to recquire the anihilation of the Six Duchies and spreading of slavery by any means available, use of Chalced as a tool makes eminent sense.


 

 

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My review of Assassin's Fate is up here.

So bittersweet. So heartbreaking. Yet so perfect.

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52 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Want now. :(

Only a couple of weeks to go. . . :)

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I've been re-reading the last two in anticipation. They've been going by too fast and now I wish I'd started re-reading all of them and gave myself the time to do so. I'll have to settle for looking forward to that after Assassin's Fate is safely in my done pile.

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I've just finished my complete re-read (only took a break between Assassin's Quest and Liveships). Has me ready for the next book, have some questions and ideas floating around for when I start to read. I'd like to say I'll try and read at a leisurely pace but I know that isn't going to happen

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I'm a little over halfway through Fool's Quest.  I like it quite a bit, but the Hobbiness of it is a little frustrating

Fitz didn't learn of what ended Bee's POV in the previous book until 25% into this one.  Fitz and the Fool don't figure out what Bee is until about 40% into the book...  I need some action!  (echoed by both the Fool and Fitz themselves)

  I do wonder about the timing of one thing (not that I'll read any replies that may comment on it until I finish the book, mostly just me typing out loud)

I found it very interesting that Bee started shedding her skin and losing her color right around when we learn that the Fool was given dragon blood.  I also wonder to which dragon the blood belongs, the golden color of his eyes suggests Mercor.  Chade also believed the dragon was dead, but that's not the case unless something happened after the end of

The Riverwild Chronicles.  Although the blood was intercepted on the way to the Duke of Chalced and he was no more by that point...  I do like the name of Chade's children - Lantern and Shine, and how did Fitz not figure out the "mystery" of their parentage long before he did?

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This final book is going to be a beast. Read through some non spoiler reviews at goodreads and there is a clear pattern of deep appreciation for this book. It's going to be an emotional journey.

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1 hour ago, Calibandar said:

It's going to be an emotional journey.

You have no idea. . .

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Posted (edited)

Does anyone recall what uses of The Wit / what animals there were in Fool's Quest and Fool's Assassin?

I'm working on a list of sorts. Think there was more use of it by characters in Fool's Quest.

 

Edited by Calibandar

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