Robin Hobb is surely my favourite author. While there are undoubtedly numerous ways that she is a talented storyteller - it is her characters that make me read her books over and over again. For a time, I swear I was half in love with one of them. So, although I've lost count of how many times I've read this trilogy before, I still sit infront of this computer my eyes bleary and my face tight with tears. I swear I cry harder with every reading. I have read books by authors far crueler to their characters, but her writing is like the person who forces you into tears simply by asking what is wrong or putting an arm around you when you are trying so hard to hold all those tears in. Ah... how they spill at that kindness and that is her knack - to balance cruelty with kindness, and bad luck with deserved consequences and while Fitz is perhaps the character I identify with most strongly, I can say with honesty that each of the supporting characters is wrought with equal skill. I can close my eyes and picture them, imagine their voices, I know their woes and struggles by heart, and their quirks and habits. How people so complete could spring entirely from the mind of one woman baffles me - and I can only shake my head in wonder and sniffle quietly and blink the gummy feeling from my eyes.
I must hustle off to the other things I should be doing....but, I recommend anything she has written highly and I thank her once again for the gift of her stories that have taught me more about courage, honor, friendship and sacrifice than my own life has - and for that I shall be grateful.