This is the sequel to the book I read as part of the publisher’s reader review program. I picked it up out of curiosity mostly because, though I enjoyed the first one, the first was more about setting up a world than the story. It’s what follows in that world that determines whether the author has taken advantage of the work.
The answer in this case is clearly yes.
Not only did she take advantage of the world she’d built in a grand way, but she even made me cry. I can say that without any spoilers at all, because the moment would not be what you could expect as a tearing up moment, but all the same it was. As usual with her books, the dense description took some time to get into.
I have to remember that about Robin Hobb because first impressions would have me turn away from her books. They start out as they go on, however. The difference is not in the text or style, but in me.
When I first start reading, I’m coming out of my busy, multitasking world and my hand is already rotating in the family signal of “get to the point already.” Then, as if I’ve been walking through a muddy swamp, suddenly my foot comes free, lands on solid ground, and I’m completely enveloped in her forest. It’s a change in state, in mindset, that doesn’t come easy to me, but a talented author (and Robin Hobb has proved so twice now) can take me from my normal rush into complete absorption so that I want to stay in her world, heavy in detail and all, to become a part of it.
I wrote this review in 2006, but the same holds true about her writing, and her skills. The only thing of note is because of those two books, I introduced my youngest to Robin Hobb. Even at 18 now, he hasn’t bought in to the rush rush rush of modern society. He enjoys reading the old French authors in their full, 1000 page or longer versions. My son as no difficulty falling into her worlds, and adores her books.