Fool’s Quest is the sequel to Fool’s Assassin and at the same time, it’s also the penultimate installment of the entire series; that’s book 15 out of 16. This is why I’ll keep my review for this one shorter than usual. A longer and comprehensive review of the entire series and my final recommendation on whether this massive series is worth it or not will be coming in my review of Assassin’s Fate instead.
Seems like the popular opinion for Hobb’s fans is that the second book of her trilogy/quartet is always better than the first one, sometimes even the best. This situation never happened to me. I found the first book of any of her trilogies/quartet to always be the best one—Assassin’s Fate have the chance to change this notion one last time—and that’s still true here. However, Fool’s Quest is the best middle book out of any of her series. In fact, if it wasn’t from a minor con I had with the first half of the book I would be willing to give this one a full 5/5 stars.
I have two minor gripes with this book, one being Hobb taking a bit too long to continue the cliffhanger from Fool’s Assassin ending. The other one being there’s only a few of Bee’s POV here. Fool’s Assassin ended on a cliffhanger and I was super excited to start this one because of that, but Hobb doesn’t really continue this plotline immediately until page 300ish. This made the pacing sometimes a bit too slow as I kept on thinking “get to the point already”. However, once she finally did pick up where she left off, oh man… Let’s just say this is the first time in my experience with Hobb's book that I found her book incredibly hard to put down. I read the first half within three days and the second half of the book within a day. Yes, significant differences there in terms of the story being compelling and addictive . The second half is easily Hobb’s most unputdownable section so far. Not only we finally see Fitz’s capability as an assassin—I’m not joking, Fitz really goes Assassin mode here—, there are also a lot things happening and even when Fitz’s thoughts get super depressed (not a surprise really), I found them to be very easy to relate to; even all his stupidity—he called himself stupid and idiot countless times, and he is—were truly understandable.
“I found myself speaking softly as if I were telling an old tale to a young child. And giving it a happy ending, when all know that tales never end, and the happy ending is but a moment to catch one’s breath before the next disaster.”
Some people will think that Hobb is spoonfeeding you flashback events from the past so you’ll remember every event from Fitz’s past and ended up getting bored by it. Although technically that’s not wrong, I still have to disagree. Fitz is 60 years old now and he probably has a super-powered android’s brain cell of being able to remember every damn detail from his past (I can’t even remember my childhood properly now and I’m not even 30 yet), this is why his recollection of the past and comparing them to the present repeatedly were necessary in order to bring more bittersweet impact to how great his past affected his present life; I found Hobb's storytelling style during these parts truly wonderful and poignant.
“If you don’t decide what you will do with the rest of your life, someone else will decide it for you.”
In the last section of this book, Hobb unleashed every groundwork she has laid within all her previous series, this includes Liveship Traders and The Rainwild Chronicles. It was awesome to finally see all the previous non-Fitz series finally have a role in Fitz’s storyline. I’ve also raved about Hobb’s prose a lot of times but I still have to praise it yet once again because seriously, Fool’s Assassin and this book contained some of the best lines she ever wrote.
I don’t have anything else to say other than this is a great book. The Fitz and The Fool could seriously end up being the best trilogy she ever wrote. I will not waste any more time and continue immediately to Assassin’s Fate, the last book of the trilogy and also the last book of the entire RotE series. Time to see whether this trilogy will end with a bang or not. I’ll end this review with a super perfect presentation of The Fool (being bald and muscular af) talking to Fitz (being handsome af).
Okay not really the right portrayal but you get my message.