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Sunday, February 04, 2018

Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb: A Quick Review

One of the lovely things about a library system like Singapore's is that it has made me try a lot of books and authors that I might not have come across otherwise. Being able to borrow and return from any branch of the library is an amazing convenience, and we have made full use of it as a family. I am known to even plan my eating out or shopping based on which library the books I (and sometimes the kids) want are available at ;).

Fantasy is one of my favourite genres and towards the end of last year, I was thrilled to come across a new (to me) author in Robin Hobb. A few of her books caught my eye in the library, and I then also came across a recommendation from someone soon after, so I took it as a sign that I must try out her work.  If I needed any more encouragement, I found that she is quite prolific, and as a "series" fanatic, I just had to take the plunge.

I started with the first set of books (the Farseer Trilogy) that introduces the protagonist who is quirkily named FitzChivalry, and was done with them in a week or so. It was then I realised that there was a chronology and ideal order of reading of the series, so of course I had to read them in that order only ;). The next set is the LiveShip trilogy, which is quite spectacular reading, but seems to move away from the hero of the earlier Trilogy, and introduce an entirely new set of characters. I noticed though, that there were some hints of a connection with some names of places being referenced in both sets. Before I missed Fitz too much, he was back in the Tawny Man Trilogy, set some years after the first set of books. There is again what seems to be a divergence towards a dragon themed set of 4 books, but as you read you realise that it ties up with the tales of the liveships. Finally, Fitz is back in the final trilogy, and the author deftly brings together the entire universe of characters as she concludes the tale.

I think it took me a couple of months to get through the 16 books of this universe.. and I absolutely LOVED how the last book brought it all together and gave closure to a lot of the streams of storylines along the way. I found a couple of the books to be a bit slow-moving in parts, but the richness of the characters and just the details of the story kept me going. I found most of the books in the library, and also bought a few to read on my Kindle when I occasionally couldn't borrow them, because it's the kind of story that you are compelled to keep moving through.

Though it sounds like I got through the books pretty quickly, I find that as I grow older, I actually tend to read a bit more slowly and take in more details. My younger days were filled with speed-reading and re-reading, much like I see my 12 year old doing nowadays. Now, I try to savour it more, probably because I don't see myself spending time in re-reading an entire series all that easily ;).

So what are you reading at the moment? Do share.

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