Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb is the start of The Tawny Man Trilogy, a series that I have been wanting to read for years. I waited until a great time and this year, after reading The Liveship Trader Trilogy, it seemed like the right time.
Fool’s Errand is the first book in Robin Hobb’s third trilogy in her Elderling Series and is an epic fantasy in first person. The first trilogy, Farseer Trilogy, is one of my favorite trilogies of all time and Fitz, The Fool, and Nighteyes are some of my favorite fantasy characters. I was excited to see what Fitz and The Fool have been up to since the first trilogy. Unfortunately, that was mostly what this first book, Fool’s Errand is all about. It is first a refresher of what happened in the Farseer Trilogy and a “catch the reader up” on everything that has happened in the last 15 years. The only reason I still enjoyed this “catching up” on things is because of my close connection to the characters. If it was another book, I would not have been so forgiving.
This is so much a setup book. I realize that a lot of the first books in trilogies are set up books but this one felt extremely setup. As a reader I have a great understanding of what is going on in the Six Duchies and our characters because of this massive setup but I can see this being a slow and uneventful book for some.
The plot of Fool’s Errand is really simple. It is about getting someone back that has run away. Someone, that I can’t mention due to spoilers of the first trilogy, has run away from Buckkeep, and Fitz has to find that person. It is an extremely simplistic plot that only has the purpose to inform the reader on the current political and social climate of the kingdom and to delve into the current emotions and thoughts of our characters after the 15 year absence. I found this a bit disappointing but was still happy that we got some deep character insights too.
Hobb, more than any other author, writes this first person Fitz narrative with such depth and emotion, that we can then understand Fitz on a level that few authors can communicate. What is special about Hobb’s writing of Fitz is the level of detail that is given to the individual relationships that Fitz has and how they are different from each other. Each relationship has its own meaning and feelings for Fitz, and it is the closest to real life relationships, in description, that I have come across in fantasy.
I enjoyed Fool’s Errand but it is such a setup book that I can’t really give it an amazing rating nor a bad rating without reading the rest of the trilogy. It is very much a part of the greater whole and can’t stand on its own.
3/5 15/25 Possible Score
Plot – 2(O.K.)
Characters – 4(Strong)
World Building/Setting – 3(Good)
Writing Style – 3(Good)
Heart & Mind Aspect – 3(Good)