What's the big Deal about Robin Hobb?

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Corporal Blues, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. Corporal Blues

    Corporal Blues I like to rock the party

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    Maybe you folks can help me see the light that most people here think shines forth from Robin Hobb's books, but personally I don't see it. I've read the Farseer Trilogy and sorry to say but I kinda thought it was lame.

    Are the other series better? Did I miss something that makes this series great?

    Seems like most people here think very highly of her stuff, and I agree with many other likes and dislikes, so maybe I can be converted...
     
  2. Obtuse

    Obtuse ‪Ominous, I'm In Us

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    Greetings Corporal. Welcome.

    It's hard to say whether you might like Hobb's other series without a sense of what you didn't like about Farseer. For example, if it was the 1st person point-of-view, then you may like the next series, Liveship Traders, as it was written in 3rd person. On the other hand, if you don't like her style, then maybe she just isn't the author for you.

    Which of course is fine. I happen to like Hobb, but there are tons of authors that others think are great, that I don't care for at all.
     
  3. Evil Agent

    Evil Agent Saturn Comes Back Around

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    Hmm... I'm a bit skeptical, when I see that this was your first post on the site. You joined the site, to post your dislike of Robin Hobb... and you didn't mention any authors you do like (though I assume by your name, that you are a Steven Erikson fan).

    Anyway, I'm a huge fan of Tolkien, Martin, Erikson, and Hobb, and while Hobb does not exactly excel at action or battle scenes, her strengths lie elsewhere: namely, with character building, and emotional impact. Perhaps its the fact that she's a woman author, I don't know, but she brings something to her books that most other authors can't achieve.
     
  4. Werthead

    Werthead Registered User

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    I think Hobb is badly overrated. For female epic fantasy authors, JV Jones and Kate Elliott are both a lot better.

    That said, I don't think Hobb is terrible. She can create good characters and she generally has good ideas. Her worldbuilding is rather flat though. Unfortunately, she's as bad at padding as Robert Jordan. She takes stories that would make good, single, fat novels and then spams them out into increasingly tedious trilogies.

    So, I think she's a good writer, but she's bad at pacing and padding. I also dislike the character of Fitz immensely, so for me The Liveship Traders is much, much better (and the worldbuilding is superior) than the other two.
     
  5. Blog_the_troll

    Blog_the_troll Registered User

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    If you didn't like the Assassin books how come you managed to slog through all three before discovering they weren't for you .
    I would say that her other books are similar so they are probably not for you.
    Even the most popular authors have readers who don't like their style or plotlines.
     
  6. Werthead

    Werthead Registered User

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    Because in general readers like to finish stories that they start to see if they get better, especially if they're critically acclaimed. Also, because if you've spent £21 on a trilogy, then you're going to be damned sure you get your money's worth. And because, whilst many aspects of the story were poor, there were enough good things to keep up interest.

    Unless of course you were referring to the first poster, in which case I don't know :D
     
  7. JJ_99uk

    JJ_99uk Registered User

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    I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks the Fitz trilogies could be shorter - in both cases I sort of liked the first book, really liked the second, and impatiently read the third wishing she'd just get on with the bloody thing...

    I also read the Liveship Traders first - and for me it was definately superior, particularly the second two books.
     
  8. sic's mom

    sic's mom I want to be a princess

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    I discovered Hobb after joining this forum about 6-8 months ago and read the three trilogies. Now I absolutely loved them, but I can see why some wouldn't. I personally loved the way she did her characters. I'm not big on battle scenes or a lot of fighting, so I loved how she built the people in her stories. For me I really grew to care about these people and if an author can get me to do that I will read just about anything they write. Until they stop doing it of course. And maybe it is the fact she is a woman and sees things from a different point of view than maybe Jordan, Martin and Goodkind. But I can relate to a character like Fitz so I grew to really care about the people in this world.
     
  9. Evil Agent

    Evil Agent Saturn Comes Back Around

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    Funny, because I don't think the Fitz trilogies had too much padding at all. On the contrary, I think Liveship Traders was the weakest trilogy, precisely because of the padding. Yes, Liveship had superior world building, a more complex plot, and a larger cast of characters... but the books were too long, and got tedious at times. The Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies, on the other hand, were too short if anything.

    I guess it really comes down to whether or not you like the character of Fitz.
     
  10. Corporal Blues

    Corporal Blues I like to rock the party

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  11. Decado

    Decado Registered User

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    I really enjoyed here 1st 3 series. Thinking back, they probably aren't up there with the very best fantasy (I usually considered her to be one of my top 5 favorite authors, but then it was a long time ago when I read the her books for the first time). Still, they're very very good. I also tend not to like female writers' work very much, but I think she's among the best.

    That said, Shaman's Crossing was total crap. I do believe she tried to write a story with the least interesting characters in the least interest premise imaginable just to see if it could sell. That or she *completely* lost her touch.

    Pretty sad, really. Tad Williams is another of my favorite author's who's lastest book was just terrible (couldn't even finish it).
     
  12. FicusFan

    FicusFan Anitaverse Refugee

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    I have to agree that she is not anything special. The first series was pretty awful. I think I had all 3 so I kept reading. I also pretty much finish what I start.

    I thought Fitz was weak and whiny and was much too passive throughout the whole book. He had his adventure thrust upon him, complained about everything though he refused to make any real decisions, and then adopted this world-weary air when done. The whole dragon thing seemed very Mercedes Lackey, and the books were much too wordy. They went on and on and on.

    Not the worst I have ever read, but not particularly good either.
     
  13. Werthead

    Werthead Registered User

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    Good taste there. Kearney doesn't get as much respect as he should, and Bakker is a fascinating writer. Met him a couple of weeks ago and he's a really cool dude to chat to about the state of fantasy writing today. Martin and Erikson are probably my favourite and second-favourite fantasy writers today.
     
  14. Evil Agent

    Evil Agent Saturn Comes Back Around

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    I have always found that whether you like Hobb's writing depends on the individual reader, and their sort of personality I guess. I love Fitz, so much that I named my cat after him! He's one of my favorite fantasy characters of all time. I think I see a lot of myself in him (if that makes me a whiner, and passive, so be it).

    As for Shaman's Crossing, I disagree 100% with Decado's statement:
    That's a little harsh. It was not total crap, in fact many people loved this book, and some even think its her best work to date. Saying that she purposefully tried to write the least interesting characters, to "see if it would sell", is just a juvenile comment, not worth a response. In fact, it comes very close to mindless author-bashing, which is not allowed on this site. I, for one, found the setting and the characters very interesting, to say the least. Perhaps its too subtle for some, who need big brawny sword wielding barbarian action heroes in all their books?
     
  15. ihsan

    ihsan Fantasy & Sci-fi Artist

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    I've only read the Farseer Trilogy and have to agree about the 'padding' - I felt the same way JJ_99uk did. The first one was great, the second was a bit too much of a romance, while with the third I was impatient for it to move on, and ended up being very disappointed and frustrated by it.

    Hobb does certainly have her own style, which to me has kind of an 'old' feeling to it, like a writer from a bygone era. The quality of her writing is high, but I agree she doesn't really pace the story properly, and there isn't much structure for my liking.

    She does have her fans though, a certain George RR Martin - my favourite author - among them, who's often declared his admiration for Robin Hobb's work, and that he is an avid reader.

    Can't agree with you more - I so looked forward to 'Shadowmarch' as Williams' proper return to fantasy epic since 'Memory, Sorrow & Thorn' and was devastated to find it such an utterly terrible, and amateurish, book.
     
  16. Physics Knight

    Physics Knight Defender of Cononicals

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    I love RH's work because she is a very accomplished writer. I love reading books where I don't have to nitpick at the clumsy prose, and the characters feel so damn reeal. Maybe she doesn't have the most dazzling of worlds, but they feel real enough, are consistant, and take a back seat to characterization. What is so wrong with that? For me a great book has great writing and great characters, and to heck with the rest. Well, okay I don't like Hemmingway even though he has amazing prose and realisitc people. But Robin Hobb clicks with me, and even if she is not your cup of tea, there is no denying her talent.

    In Fool's Errand when
    Nighteyes died
    I was balling my eyes out for half an hour. I don't think any fictional events have ever affected me so much. Now that's the sign of a good writer!

    And what is this about her being a "female" author? Since when is there a need to catagorize authors according to women and men. As Virginia Woolf wrote in "A Room of One's Own" a good authour is a female male or a male female. i.e. she/he tracends his/her sex and is simply the storyteller. That is what I get from a good author: when I don't feel the author's prescence at all in her/his work.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2006
  17. Gildor

    Gildor Gentlemen!!!

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    Fitzy Fitz

    One hell of a character. And the big reason why the books he is in are so damn readable. Her appeal is for me she has six books with this marvellous character in.
     
  18. milamber_reborn

    milamber_reborn Barcelona!

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    After reading Feist, Jordan and Martin, I tried Hobb's Farseer Trilogy (only because someone gave me the first book as a gift). I usually don't read First Person books so I was surprised I enjoyed it.

    Stock standard fantasy in general but I like the dual magic (Wit and Skill) idea and the fact that the characters were figuring out how to use them as they went along.

    Fitz is an incredible character, and the supporting cast is strongly written, too.

    The first book hooked me, the second one dragged a little until Cub became Night Eyes and Fitz stopped moping around Buck. And damn what an ending. Book three started off strongly with Wolf-Fitz and while the quest to find Verity was drawn out a little, I was entranced by the journey along the Skill road to the Elderling quarry.

    I hope I enjoy the other trilogies just as much.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  19. Roy Ryders

    Roy Ryders The Magnificent

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    You know what the problem is with Robin Hobb? She's sentimental. Like, everything is super emotional. Like, nothing can happen without, like, fifty pages of angst. W-whatever'shisname in Liveship is sold into slavery, oh no, let's just talk about that for like a hundred pages without anything ****in' happening! Oh, that, uh, A-bit, what was her name (I thought I remembered more of this - guess I expunged it) doesn't get what she wants? Oh no, let's have her moan and complain while all the while being supposedly "active" and "free spirited" what hosh posh. she's about as active as the big toe on a dead dog. Basically, all ofher books are like twenty pages of action and 999 about angsting about it.

    So, in short, she's crap. My dog's arse writes more concise books.
     
  20. Arkeus

    Arkeus Registered User

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    That's actually what a lot of us like about Robin Hobb... that she can makes character that do a lot and have real feelings.

    Robin Hobb's style is a bit unique, and while for some it might miss, when it works.. Well, she her ederling series is still by far my favorite fantasy series.

    I admit though that if people prefer 'tough' characters that are afraid to fell, well... she might not be the one.