With massive spoilers of course! For not just this book but the two trilogies preceding it (The Farseer Trilogy and The Tawny Man Trilogy).
Massive Spoilers ahead…
- Sentence level writing: Hobb knows how to write a sentence
- I found the character Bee fascinating, and liked the chapters from her point of view
- Even minor characters like Revel and Shun are distinctly draw; Shun is one of those character you love to hate. Although Hobb has been able to change a spoiled character into something else before.
- Speaking of Shun, is it just me or is it obvious that she is Chade’s bastard?
- Maybe this makes me a bad person, but Molly never did much for me, so I wasn’t sad when she died. More to the point, Molly dying should help push Fitz out of his complacent rut — that and what happens to Bee at the very end.
- This book pretty much proves my theory that the Fool is either female, or a member of a race of hermaphrodites that sometimes change gender. We already knew from earlier books that they reproduce rarely, and it was strongly implied, magically. Molly getting pregnant at her age is a miracle that magic explain well. It fits in with Hobb’s magic, which is generally more subtle.
- Speaking of which, if Bee really is the Fool’s soon, then was Fitz carrying around a magic love child all this time that the Fool put into him in one of those mind merging events that happened in earlier books? That’s kind of kinky if you think about. Or is the Fitz the father? He does have two kinds of magic in him, so that might make sense too.
- Fitz, once again, is so clueless it’s painful. It’s dramatic irony if you realize something a few chapters before a character: it’s just painful if you realize it 25% of the way through the book and the character realizes it at the end. I’m talking realizing Bee is a baby Fool, not that she could be the “son”. Given that Fools seem to reproduce like magical cuckoos, having the baby look more human makes sense from a survival point of view.
- I do not usually know “whodunit” in a murder mystery, and I knew that Bee was a member of the “Fool” race almost immediately. I had my suspicions when the pregnancy took a long time (I also had a wrong theory that Molly had some horrible growth that was going to kill her.)
- The plot did not get any momentum until Molly becomes pregnant, which is nearly 100 pages in. The book could have been more tightly plotted.
- Some interesting stuff that would have been better with a shorter word count, and a more clueful Fitz. We may finally find out what the deal is with the Fool’s rather unusual race.