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Robin Hobb

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Lord Terrisman:
Hi, I have some questions about Robin Hobb. 

I have heard many things about Robin Hobb and have been considering reading her work for quite a while.  I have heard absolutely great things about some of her works and then terrible things about others.  It seems like her work is fairly controversial as far as how people enjoy it.  I would like to know your guys' opinions on this.  Which of her books are great?  Which of her book are less than great?  Where should I start with her books?  Content warning?  Anyways, thank you guys so much!

Bookstore Guy:
I liked Hobb's early stuff.  Start with Assassin's Apprentice.

Her new stuff, however, I absolutely hated.  It felt pointless.  Of course this is all a matter of opinion.  I got a ton of hate email for saying how much Dragon Keeper was a waste of time and a lacked an actual coherent story (to which I was told that I shouldn't read Hobb's work for story.  Story is just a bonus in Hobb's work).  So apparently some people really like Hobb's new stuff.

In short, the best thing you can do to form an opinion on Hobb's work is give it a read.  If you like it, keep reading.  If you don't like it, stop reading an move on.

Peter Ahlstrom:
I liked the first three trilogies (Farseer, Liveship, Tawny Man). They should be read in that order. I liked the Liveship books the best; they have a broader scope to them. (They're in third person with multiple POVs but the other two trilogies are from one first-person POV.) (Though note that the third Farseer book has clear retconning of earlier events when it becomes obvious she didn't know where she was going. The second two trilogies are coherent and internally consistent. The first trilogy has a depressing ending and you don't get a good payoff for that character until the end of the third trilogy, but the good payoff does come.)

I could not bring myself to read the second of the Soldier Son trilogy; I didn't like anyone in the first book and found it TOO depressing. There's a part when everyone starts dying of some plague, and I found I was completely unmoved since I hated all those people anyway.

I would like to read the Rain Wilds books eventually since they continue the Liveship/Tawny Man story, but the first two books were one book that got split into two by the publisher, and it seems like that also happened to the next two books. That hardly ever makes for a satisfying read. (Such as Bujold's four Sharing Knife books, which are much more satisfying if you consider them as only two books.)

Steve's objections to Dragon Keeper seemed symptomatic of the split and made me wonder whether it would be more satisfying when followed immediately by its second half. But then again, she did just come off the Soldier Son books, which I just could not do. Writers change over time, some for the better and some for the worse.

Lord Terrisman:
Thank you for the opinions.  A lot of what you guys have said is also what I have heard.  I've heard that she has gone down hill over time starting with the Soldier Son Trilogy.  So I'll just maybe start with the Farseer Trilogy and go from there.  Thank you so much!  Any more advice?

I'll echo what the others said.  Farseer trilogy is good, if a bit amateurish.  It's obviously her earliest work, but the story is good.  I was lukewarm on the Liveship trilogy.  Some very interesting characters made me love parts of the book while the rest bored me to tears.  Having said that, you learn alot about the world that comes into play in the Tawny Man trilogy.  That's where Hobb really shines IMO.  Definitely a good read that tugs on the heart strings.

I agree completely with Peter's assessment of Soldier Son.  I bought the first two books together because I loved her earlier work.  I forced myself to finish the first and couldn't bring myself to begin the second.  Unless I hear an outcry from readers that her writing has taken another turn, I won't be picking anything up anytime soon.  Sometimes writes DO change and you never know what you're going to get.  I know people who love her new stuff, but just not for me.


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