Alarmingly quickly after finishing the first book (reviewed here) I polished off the second in this third trilogy by Robin Hobb. I’ll keep things as light as possible but there will necessarily be spoilers for the first book below.
Bee and Shun have been taken, but Withywoods is far from Buckkeep and a lingering curse means word will be a long time coming. Will Fitz and his allies find out in time, or will his daughter and ward be spirited away to the unknown realm of Clerres, out of reach forever?
The story feels quite close rather than being grand in scale, but loses none of its impetus or urgency for that. Indeed, the more personal stakes make it more immediately sympathetic than a global war or suchlike. As an undertone, the ageing Fitz seeing the court change around him and his old ways becoming outdated has a sentimental realism that can be readily appreciated, whether the reader is old or not.
As before, I read this book far faster than my usual rather sedate pace, in much the same way I eat chocolate rather more enthusiastically than lesser treats. I’m taking a short break before I start the third and final book.