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Robin Hobb The writing and novels of Robin Hobb for discussion.

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Old 22nd May 2005, 04:21 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?

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I just hope that now she's completed such a good series her tallent won't drop off with the new one. I have read the description for her new book and it sounds a bit dull and detailed
To me it sounds like it will be her best work. I never understood how detailed correlated with dull, particulary in fantasy which IMHO suffers from a severe lack in enough details or any at all in the bulk of novels.

I'm looking forward to the new series, sounds full of potential to me, it sounds like Hobb is writing a more matured work as her audience matures.

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What's the story about, rune ?
You can read various synopsis released in this thread [url="http://www.fantasybookspot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=107&start=0"]]HERE
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Old 15th December 2005, 07:27 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?

I don't actually rate Hobb that highly. Yes, the Farseer trilogy books weren't bad, but they weren't spectacular either. Maybe they are one of the best completed epic fantasy series of recent times, but there really isn't much competition for that. Fitz's characterisation is pretty well done, but again, it's not on a level with some of the best, and a criticism I've levelled at other well respected authors (Donaldson) - the other characters are often simplistic. Worldbuilding - here Hobb completely falls down, IMO. Her world is cliched, not well described and generally boring. There's very little imagination here, except for a little in the magic system. And the last book of the Farseer trilogy really didn't work for me - the deus ex machina, and combine that with a deus ex machina being dragons, not to mention the whole series naturally ending at the end of the previous book - just really put me off the series. The first two books were pretty good. But the third book was unnecessary, poorly written, not well plotted and only took away from the series as a whole. Hobb stands as one of the examples that a series doesn't have to be a huge epic to suffer from filler.

Details - that all depends on how they're presented. Presented in a Robert Jordan style infodump is horrible. Naturally incorporated into a series like in Gormenghast, where you learn all about the rituals through natural progression is excellent, as is the Erikson style of being thrown straight into a world you have no idea about. The details should exist - but they shouldn't necessarily be revealed all at once, they need to be a part of a story. That said, I don't think this happens to be one of the flaws in Hobb's writing, her problem is that these details just aren't imaginative.
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Old 15th December 2005, 08:14 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?

Yes, the business of trying to create a functional society, a coherent history, and believable character motivations can really hamper the originality of the writer, especially when it comes to world-building.

Writers who don't care about that sort of thing have a lot more freedom.

In all seriousness, how highly one rates someone like Hobb in part depends on how much realism a reader looks for in fantasy (and whether the reader has enough background in history, anthropology, etc. to be delighted by certain details and put-off by others).
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Old 15th December 2005, 10:16 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?

I'm all for a coherent society and world (though at times I really don't think Hobb has done this successfully), but it shouldn't hamper originality as well. It's entirely possible to do both, as Mieville, Erikson and Martin show so well. The more in fantasy I read, the more I'm agreeing with these criteria:
http://www.rinkworks.com/fnovel/

Hobb's world is a simple feudal society - but is it even that realistic a one? If Hobb did have "functional society, a coherent history, and believable character motivations", then perhaps a lack of imagination would be entirely acceptable. But other than Fitz, are all the character's motives believable? Verity seems unrealistically altruistic, Chade seems to be barely affected by his past experiences, Burrich again is incredibly altruistic, and Regal seems to lack all redeeming features. And there also seems to be the idea of only one real nation. They would have to be an incredibly insular nation (which you are given the impression they are not) for them not to have a number of concerns in foreign policy outside of their own continent. And what about for the people themselves?

Admittedly, Hobb addresses these concerns better than most fantasy authors, and is limited by the first person viewpoint, but as this is an epic fantasy, I expect there to be a decent degree of worldbuilding.

As with many of the series considered to be top-tier in epic fantasy, I find that I've suffered from overly high expectations. I saw a number of people recommending this as one of the best out there by a long way. And at this time I'd read Erikson, Martin and Bakker (the recommendations tend to be coming from the angle of being a lot better than Jordan, Goodkind, Eddings etc, which I found out in retrospect). So, I read the series, expecting one of equal quality, and it isn't quite that good, which leaves me disappointed. Its far from a bad series, it just isn't a spectacular one, IMO.
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Old 15th December 2005, 10:58 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?

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Originally Posted by Brys
Hobb's world is a simple feudal society - but is it even that realistic a one?
Compared to Martin and a lot of other authors who are considered the best simply because they are the most popular at the moment -- yes. Far, far superior in that regard, in fact.

But I'll ask you a question: would you fault an author who sets his or her story in a contemporary setting with a lack of originality on that account? And if not, what is the difference?
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Old 16th December 2005, 04:37 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?

If the author compensated by having originality in other ways, then I wouldn't challenge them - two examples, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and Amber by Roger Zelazny. They use contemporary settings but still can show a lot of originality. I take the point though, but for epic fantasy in particular, I feel that originality in the world itself is often important.
As I've said before and elsewhere, I really enjoyed the first two novels of the Farseer trilogy. They weren't perfect or quite the best in fantasy, but they were very good. But the last book felt completely unnecessary - the natural ending of the series for me felt at the end of the second book. That was a powerful ending, and bringing Fitz back to wander around for another 800 pages, then use a deus ex machina, really wasn't satisfying for me. If it had ended at the end of Royal Assassin, it would have been one of the most powerful endings to a fantasy series ever. As it was, it lost focus in the last book and felt pretty aimless and effortless for Fitz.
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Old 17th December 2005, 11:32 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?

i really liked hobb because of her vivid characters and i do still rate her as one of my favourite writers, BUT:
I didn't like her ending to tawny man. it was contrived and so boring.
i didn't like how she killed off characters that were in the way of an others happy ending (kyle and burrich)
and i didn't like liveships at all! and can't get into the new one.

so i don't think she is all that great a writer, BUT she has great ideas. the fool, talking boat ship things, the whole skill and wit and the rest of it. and she writes great, vivid characters far better than most other people. the fool, for instance, inspired a lot of love in a lot of people because of how cool he was.
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Old 18th December 2005, 12:09 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?

I'm afraid I rate Hobb very lowly although her Farseer trilogy was OK....
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Old 18th December 2005, 01:26 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?

Someday some of you will have to explain to me this obsession with "rating" everything.
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Old 18th December 2005, 05:53 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?

Well actually I wouldn't normally have used that specific word but seeing that the question in this thread used it I decided to employ it in my reply within that particular context. I'd prefer to say "like" as in I don't particualry "like" or enjoy Robin Hobbs prose or her stories all that much which results in me not feeling particulalrty "excited" or "mentally stimulated" or "inpsired" by reading her work. Naturally other members will enjoy her writing style but I'm clearly not one of them.

There, hope that explains what I meant to say a little more clearly...
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Old 18th December 2005, 02:34 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?

her work isn't really mentally stimulating, not in the same way as martin's is, but i like the characters. i think she is more of a woman's writer. when i went to see her at a booksigning there were a lot more women than men there. i think she appeals to us more, maybe.
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Old 18th December 2005, 05:46 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?

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Originally Posted by GOLLUM

There, hope that explains what I meant to say a little more clearly...
Not really, considering that the relative ranking of authors and books goes on all over the rest of the forum.

I admit that it's a harmless enough activity, I just wish it didn't replace actual discussion so much of the time, and for myself I fail to see the appeal.
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Old 19th December 2005, 08:27 AM   #43 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?

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Originally Posted by Kelpie
I admit that it's a harmless enough activity, I just wish it didn't replace actual discussion so much of the time, and for myself I fail to see the appeal.
Well you probably have a point there, I think the appeal is because some of us humans like to put things into boxes or categorize or compare various works and therefore the authors behind those works and also because some of us enjoy making comparisons and lists due to our competitive natures or maybe we're just control freaks. I'm only speculating here but there may be a grain or two of truth in that observation.

When members now ask me for recommendations I'm trying to use the PM service, so as not to detract too much from discussions where I may be prone to proclaim let's say that Erikson is my No .1 and some other author is No. 2 etc.. Sometimes it's hard though when you get people posting specific threads requesting rankings or comparisons or ratings of their so-called "top" authors, so I might try to employ the PM a bit more now rather than ignore outright contirbutions to those types of posts. On the other hand when someone requests a comparison b/w 2 authors or one's opinon on an author they've not yet read I'll probably end up posting warts and all....
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Old 10th January 2006, 04:40 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brys
I'm all for a coherent society and world ... but it shouldn't hamper originality as well. It's entirely possible to do both, as Mieville, Erikson and Martin show so well. The more in fantasy I read, the more I'm agreeing with these criteria:
http://www.rinkworks.com/fnovel/
...
Brys, thanks for that link! That had me in stitches on many a point
And Im quite in agreement with you: the more I read as a youngster, the more I needed a "no" to each and every question...

As for Hobb, I still havent made time for her...
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Old 10th January 2006, 05:03 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Re: How highly do you rate Hobb?

my friends and i had fun with that link trying to work out which books in particular were being picked on. ok we're sad.

i was kinda glad that i only had one thing on the list that i had in my novel. and that was just the length of it one (its 4 books at the mo, might be more if it runs long and needs slicing in half)
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