books

Robin Hobb aka
Megan Lindholm

Books

The Farseer Trilogy: Assassin's Apprentice (1995), Royal Assassin (1996), Assassin's Quest (1997)

The Liveship Traders Trilogy: Ship of Magic (1998) The Mad Ship (1999) Ship of Destiny (2000)

The Tawny Man series: Fool’s Errand (2002), Golden Fool (2003), Fool’s Fate (2004)

as Megan Lindholm:

Gypsy with Steven Brust (1982), Cloven Hooves (1991)

Anthologies: Legends II (2004), Dangerous Women (2013)

The Farseer Trilogy is a very good series. (Note to those who know how I feel about hardback books: I own the final book in hardback; I just couldn't wait for the paperback to come out.) The story of the bastard son Fritz who, disdained by the rest of the royal family, is tutored in the art of assassination on the order of his grandfather, King Shrewd. It's royalty as one imagines Europe was, not the happy royal family with perhaps the one black sheep who turns out to be either evil incarnate or the prodigal son in most family books. I highly recommend these books.

 

The Farseer Trilogy

 


The Liveship Traders

 

Ship of Magic (1998) The Mad Ship (1999) Ship of Destiny (2000)

The most frustrating thing about this series is that I didn't particularly like any of the characters. The story was great, the writing was great, but not only were there characters that I really liked and was invested in, I actively disliked a couple of the characters. Which made this book hard to read. Yet I still had to know what happened, and thus devoured the story, even as part of me wished that I was reading about someone else.

The only characters I actually liked were Amber and the two ships, Paragon and Vivacia. The rest of the main characters I found annoying, frustrating, or plain dislikable. Although many of the characters did manage to grow up and redeem themselves by the end of the book, I just didn't care as much as I normally do.

Of course that should be seen as a credit to her writing, the characters were well written and believable--unfortunately they mostly seemed like people I didn't care to know.

But as I said, the story was fantastic, and although not necessary to read, is important to events that occur in the later Tawny Man series.

So I can't recommend this book one way or the other. I didn't care for the characters, but that doesn't mean you won't like them, and the story really is very good.

 

Tawny Man

 

Fool’s Errand (2002), Golden Fool (2003), Fool’s Fate (2004)

I have two problems with really good books. The first problem is that once I start reading I don’t want to stop–eating, sleeping, everything is secondary to the book. The second problem is that when I finish a book or series that is really good, I don’t want to read anything else new. Partially because I fear that whatever I read next won’t be as good as what I just finished, and partially because I don’t want to leave the story.

The Tawny Man series definitely falls under the category of really good books. I could hardly stand to put them down, and everything else was secondary to reading.

The books continue the story of FitzChivalry Farseer, taking place more than a decade after the The Farseer Trilogy. ‘Fool’s Errand’ starts out relatively slowly–no adventure, no battles, just the life of FitzChivalry who has retired far into the country under the name Tom Badgerlock–but I was engrossed from the start.

I’m not sure whether someone who had not read the first three books would feel the same way. After everything that happened to Fitz, it felt good to see him living in calm and quiet. Especially since you knew it wasn’t going to last. (That was a given. Who would want to read a book solely about some guy getting old in a cabin in the woods?) And Fitz–or rather Tom–is drawn back into the intrigue of the politics of the Six Dutchies.

I think what I like so much about these books is that Fitz is so very flawed, and he does really stupid things, yet it all seems to reasonable and rational until you get to the consequences. But he lives with the consequences, and survives despite everything. Nothing turns out perfectly, but neither does real life.

My only warnings are that she likes to kill off people–no one is safe. And the deaths are not easy ones, and the injuries taken are not easy ones. No one takes a serious wound and walks away.

If you read Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin’s Quest then you will definitely want to read these books. If you have not yet read the Farseer Trilogy, then I strongly urge you to do so. You probably won’t be able to find them used–I almost never see them at our local used bookstore–but I think it’s well worth it to get them new.

 

as Megan Lindholm

 

Cloven Hooves (1991)

I realized relatively quickly that this was not the book that I wanted to be reading.

Already depressed, the last thing I needed was a story full of pain and sorrow and darkness. "I'll just finish this chapter, and then I'll pick up something else."

Except that I couldn't put it down. I kept repeating that to myself, until I realized I was more than halfway through the book, and may as well just finish it.

I'd read a bit, and think, "no good can come of this," but then think, "well, perhaps things will work out." And then it would get worse. But I had to keep reading. I had to know what happened, and I had to keep hoping that things would get better.

So. What is Cloven Hooves about? It's about growing up, and family, and love, and also about Pan, the half man-half goat of mythology. Evelyn grew up in Alaska, and returned there after she married. However, her husband's family needed him, and so Evelyn, Tom, and their son Teddy go to stay with Tom's family--just for a month he says.

The writing was good, and the story was compelling. But I really do not ever want to read this book ever again. Way too many really awful things happened--including memories of high school and being an outcast in childhood.
Rating: 6/10

 

Anthologies

 

Legends II (2004) edited by Robert Silverberg

I picked up this book just for the Neil Gaiman Shadow story, so the fact that I found it in the bargain bin means that any stories beyond ‘The Monarch of the Glen’ were an added bonus.

Homecoming - Robin Hobb
The Sworn Sword - George R. R. Martin
The Yazoo Queen - Orson Scott Card
Lord John and the Succubus - Diana Gabaldon
The Book of Changes - Robert Silverberg
The Happiest Dead Boy in the World - Tad Williams
Beyond Between - Anne McCaffrey
The Messenger - Raymond E. Feist
Threshold - Elizabeth Haydon
Indomitable - Terry Brooks
The Monarch of the Glen - Neil Gaiman

And 'Monarch of the Glen' was good. Very good. It made me want to go back and reread 'American Gods' Right Now. Which I have not done, but may very well do. Because I really like Shadow, and I liked reading more about him, as well as learning more about his past. I'm not sure what it is about Neil Gaiman's writing that I love so much, but it's there, and I read his on-line journal for the moments when his day to day bits turn into one of his small tales that draw me in.

Besides 'Monarch of the Glen' there were three other stories I read: 'Homecoming' by Robin Hobb, 'The Messenger' by Raymond E. Feist, and 'Threshold' by Elizabeth Haydon. All three stories had the same effect on the that 'Monarch of the Glen' did. I wanted to go back and reread that authors' other books. The Riftwar Saga, the Farseer Trilogy, and the Rhapsody Trilogy.

Robin Hobb's 'Homecoming' was especially good--the main character started out particularly unlikable, yet she managed to keep me reading despite that. It also gave backstory for an area of her world I knew little about.

Of the other stories in the book, there were three stories that I have no interest in reading (the stories by Card, McCaffrey, and Brooks) and stories that are from books that we have, but I have not yet read: George RR Martin, Tad Williams, and Robert Silverberg. Michael has read two of the three series, and loved them, so I should read them, but just haven't gotten around to them yet.

I'll let you know when I do.

Dangerous Women (2013) edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

Dangerous-Women“Some Desperado” (Red Country story) by Joe Abercrombie
“My Heart is Either Broken” by Megan Abbott
“Nora’s Song” by Cecelia Holland
“The Hands That Are Not There” by Melinda Snodgrass
“Bombshells” (Harry Dresden story) by Jim Butcher
“Raisa Stepanova” by Carrie Vaughn
“Wrestling Jesus” by Joe R. Lansdale
“Neighbors” by Megan Lindholm
“I Know How to Pick ’Em” by Lawrence Block
“Shadows For Silence in the Forests of Hell” by Brandon Sanderson
“A Queen in Exile” by Sharon Kay Penman
“The Girl in the Mirror” (Magicians story) by Lev Grossman
“Second Arabesque, Very Slowly” by Nancy Kress
“City Lazarus” by Diana Rowland
“Virgins” (Outlander story) by Diana Gabaldon
“Hell Hath No Fury” by Sherilynn Kenyon
“Pronouncing Doom” (Emberverse story) by S.M. Stirling
“Name the Beast” by Sam Sykes
“Caretakers” by Pat Cadigan
“Lies My Mother Told Me” (Wild Cards story) by Caroline Spector
“The Princess and the Queen” (A Song of Ice and Fire story) by George R.R. Martin

There are a lot of different stories here–on purpose.

Dangerous Women was conceived of as a cross-genre anthology, one that would mingle every kind of fiction, so we asked writers from every genre— science fiction, fantasy, mystery, historical, horror, paranormal romance, men and women alike— to tackle the theme of “dangerous women,”

Thus I was fully expecting there to be a number of stories I wouldn’t particularly like, or would even skip. And there were. Unfortunately for me, the dislikes were higher in number than the likes, and there were several dystopias, which I really dislike. And a lot of the women were in the neutral to evil category of dangerous. Which is fine, but all that dark got a bit overwhelming, which is why I took several months for me to finish this anthology.

...

“Neighbors” by Megan Lindholm was an urban fantasy, and although it was a little odd, I ended up liking it.

...

All in all, there were more stories I disliked than liked, which sometimes happens. As this covers all diffeerent genres, you’re likely to find at least one story you like, you’ll just have to decide if it’s worth the price.
Rating: 5.5/10

Published by Tor Books