Part 2 of “What makes great fantasy?”
– Deep Memorable Characters
My most recent favorite series is Fitz and the Fool Trilogy, by Robin Hobb. The second book just released this month, so I’m devouring it with delicious intensity.
This is a little bit cheating, because Hobb does have a tad bit of ‘world in the balance’ to her plot at some points. (Without going into spoilers… I won’t say more than that) However! It’s really not the main focus. I’ve read the Farseer Trilogy with the same characters, and what really stood out was the deep emotional impact. These books are not for the light of heart, poor Fitz goes from one horrible ordeal to the next. He constantly berates himself and keeps as far away from those he loves as possible.
Hobb manages to pull off this depressing pit of emotion while still avoiding a whiny and annoying character, which I consider a great feat. For example, in Twilight there was a certain point where I was like GET OVER IT ALREADY! Even though I enjoyed those books too, that’s the reason they’re not listed in my book recommendation list.
But not with Fitz… I understood him. I mourned with him and kept by his side. Maybe part of it is because Hobb portrays Fitz as an older man, one who has gone through life and isn’t where he imagined he would be. But, he finds himself and small joys to keep him going (which are quickly taken away from him, can’t leave him too happy for long!)
Whatever the reason, Hobb makes her mark by immersing the reader into an emotional whirlwind paired with a vivid world and memorable characters. I give two thumbs up!