It’s not often a series so enthuses me that I neglect other activities to finish it. I must admit that in this case, I was drowning in these books’ memories even to the detriment of my partner. For this reason, I must warn my followers against these books…
I’m writing about Robin Hobb’s most despicable series, The Realms of The Elderlings. I didn’t get to read them in order of course (and some may say at all since I listened to the audio books on Audible), but started with Dragon Keeper and was hooked. It’s not harmless either – I spend hours upon hours in these books… this world, and ignore life.
I guess I must talk about the plot, which is amazing, though sometimes the writing lags behind, but I guess none of us can be perfect every time. It follows the history of a fantasy world of low magic – i.e. mages don’t throw fireballs here, what magic there is, is realistic and believable, and yet still fantastic.
There are several distinct trilogies. In the first, we are introduced to the main protagonists, their interactions, family and… well, no spoilers here. but say an assassin, his apprentice, a royal family under threat from within, and a maybe transgender alien. In any case, we’re introduced to all these, and follow thee character of Fitz as he tries to protect his king whilst falling apart himself as he fights accusations of witchcraft and even execution, and the disbelief of those close to him.
In the second series we travel across the world to Bingtown, where a society of sea traders with living ships face off pirates and foreign sea raiders. A character recurs, but I won’t say which and helps a ship find it’s true identity as an enslaved dragon.
After this we go back to Fitz, and follow him again, though this is where I am now so I can’t really say how it ends.
Back to the Rain Wilds in season 4, and the dragons rise. A group of youths find themselves looking after a bunch of stunted dragons, trying to find their way upriver to an Elderling City. This is the longest set, and yes, they get there eventually. But what awaits them, you’ll need to read or listen to know.
And then finally (so far) we’re back with Fitz, or… for most of it, Fitz’s daughter as she’s kidnapped and taken half way around the world – it seems – and what happens after.
It’s all so long and immersive.
I get so emotionally involved with all the characters, especially Beloved… Some of the audiobooks are 40-50 hours long. You will not be able to stop.
I can only suggest you keep your loved ones away from these books, or else you’ll lose them for hundreds of hours at a time. And they will laugh, and cry. They’ll get excited, and concerned. Do not let your people read these books! They are too good!
More seriously, these are aimed at adults. There is some YA fantasy here, but also more mature themes. They are not children’s books by any stretch. Of course, your mileage may vary, but I would suggest educated judgement. As an adult, make sure you read the entire series before you let your family access them. It’s the only responsible thing to do.