At first I wasn't sure that I was going to like the book, but as it was a mere two hours long I decided to keep going. And I'm glad I did. As the story became more fleshed out it gradually drew me in and by the end I was interested enough to buy the first book of series that it is an introduction to (the Coldfire Trilogy).
This book WAS fairly interesting to me (hence the 3 stars), however, it seems that Robin Hobb and I differ very much in our visions of the characters and how their lives play out after the events of the Tawny Man trilogy. Obviously, as the author, she wins, heh, but I found myself calling BS throughout the book, especially in the first and fourth quarters. I am not extremely fond of the "we were mistaken &/or lied to all along" plot device, and she employs it glaringly to set the stage for her new story.
Hobb's opinion of Fitz seems to have lowered considerably, based on how she wrote him here. Other favorites seemed to act somewhat out of character, as well, but Fitz was mangled nearly to the point of uselessness. I suspect that this was a tool of convenience for the author and that he'll be closer to form in the next novel. That, or she'll kill him off somewhere along the way, heh.
I was also a little disappointed not to have caught any hints about the statuses of Rainwilds or Liveship characters. Those little glimpses were one thing I especially enjoyed about the Tawny Man trilogy and I would have expected that dragons would be making a noticeable impact on that world by now. Perhaps there were some references, but I just missed them.
Now, regarding the narration. Elliot Hill is actually fairly competent. Contrary to what other reviewers have said, he does distinguish between characters with different voices. His strength to me was in his female voices; I especially enjoyed his aristocratic old woman voice (except when he applied a version of it to Kettricken). He also is the only reader to correctly pronounce all the character names correctly (Burrich, Kettricken and Chade; I confirmed the correct versions through various online interviews of Hobb and her assistants). Having said this, Hill rates a distant third behind James Langton and Paul Boehmer. His accented reading of the Fool verges on blasphemy and we can only hope he corrects it, should he narrate the next two books. I also had strong reactions against his voices for Kettricken (as mentioned earlier) and for the scribe/tutor (who shall remain nameless for mild spoiler prevention). I understand where people are coming from when they say his Fitz sounds more like Regal, but I didn't have too much of a problem with it and got used to it pretty quickly. Like the reader of the Liveship Traders and Rainwilds Chronicles, his pace runs a bit slow; if that drives you crazy, try switching to 1.25x speed. I found that to be the perfect speed (thanks, Audible, for adding that option to the app!)
Despite all my criticisms, I'm happy that Robin Hobb has attempted another trilogy in the Fitz universe and am looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. And perhaps a reread will render certain points of contention easier for me to swallow. Only time will tell.
When I discovered that the Tawny Man Trilogy was finally coming (back) to audio form, I was ecstatic and purchased Fool's Errand as soon as it was released here on Audible. If you enjoyed the Farseer Trilogy, this one is not to be missed.
The reader is different from that of the Farseer trilogy, but still pulls off a magnificent performance. He does pronounce a few names differently from Paul Boehmer (most notably Burrich and Kettricken) and he gives Nighteyes a gruffy, wolfy sort of voice that is very unlike Paul's reading of him, but I found that I got used to these changes without much trouble.
Since this title was first announced I have been looking forward to it, however many of OSC's works in the Enderverse have diminished the impact of the original novel in my eyes, so I was also a bit nervous about this new addition. This preview of chapter one has alleviated those fears, somewhat. New perspectives have been added to certain events, but so far I have found them enhancing rather than degrading to the original work. This re-working of Ender's Game might turn out to be rather brilliant. Only time will tell.
The performance has been fine so far; if you've listened to the audio versions of other Enderverse books many of the voices will be familiar to you and their performances are pretty much on par with their past ones. I knocked a star off my rating for "performance" because Ender's voice actor could have done a better job of sounding like a six year old boy and because there was one scene (can't remember which) where someone's voice inflection seemed off to me. But there are no major flaws in the performances so far that would severely hinder my enjoyment.
Can't wait until the full release next week!
Report Inappropriate Content