I’m sorry, Robin Hobb. I loved and enjoyed reading almost all of your books but this one is an absolute no. I would rather read a smut—which I never do—than read this book again, a book which in my opinion should’ve been titled Romance Haven, Teenage Hormone Haven or Soap Opera Haven. I’ll even rank this worse than Assassin’s Quest.
The story began immediately after the end of the first book, then it welcome you to 500 pages of people looking for a person to get laid with. Each POV shifts consecutively and repeatedly to angsty characters brooding on who they should fuck. Let me get this straight, I don’t mind reading romance and angst in small doses, but they’re absolutely not the kind of thing I’m looking forward to in my read. There is a limit to how much I can tolerate reading romance in my SFF read. If I want to read a book full of them, I’ll pick up Nicholas Spark’s or a random smut book with a six stone abs dude holding a breathless girl in the cover.
Hobb usually excelled at characterizations but here all the characters acted like a bunch of teenagers who just found this thing called hormones and their libidos are on godlike rampage. I don’t give a fuck who get to fuck who, heck at this point I don’t even care who will die or live. The previous book and this one could’ve been easily condensed into one 500 pages book, it took 750 pages of traveling on a damn boat already. I’m not joking, the last half of the first book and the entirety of this book were spent on a boat with the characters just brooding trying so damn hard to satisfy their libido. Seriously, it’s just so unnecessary.
The worst part is that the romance aren’t even well written, here’s a few example. A character spying on people having sex, then wanting someone to do the same thing to her, and then proceed to playing hard to get when someone do want to do it with her out of love. Another character got punched in the FACE and the first thing he recalled was the time he was “dominated” in bed for six paragraphs (REALLY!?) before going back into the next scene of being punched again and then show his thoughts of getting dominated again. Dear lord, just enough, and these are just two out of almost infinite scenes in the book.
The only redeeming factors of the book were the last two paragraphs because the plot finally continues and the book finally ended. Also, there are more details on the Elderlings but they could’ve easily be done in a single paragraph so again, I don’t know what the point of this book is.
This is the end my review because these are all the book has to offer. If the next two books follow the storytelling pattern of this book I will DNF the series and just read some detailed summaries because this one was just atrocious. At this point, I’m just reading this quartet as a chore and for completion sake only so I can get to Fitz and the Fool with having read all her books in the series. Yes, you heard that right, I will continue. I have come this far and I will not let a bunch of characters’ libidos stop me from completing this series. Recommended only for people who loved reading angst with the plot not moving, at all.