A startling insight came to me after reading a blog by Leona Henry. I did not realize the dominance men have had on the fantasy genre. I thought that problem lay more in science fiction.
Supposedly J.K Rawlings was told to use her initials in order to hide her gender. I was curious why my fellow writer Diana Peach wrote under the name D. Wallace Peach. Now I understand better. Another example is Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden who skyrocketed into fame after taking on the gender neutral moniker Robin Hobb.
When I surveyed my reading so far this year, my fantasy picks have been Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie, both male. Therefore I have added to this travesty…with some enjoyment I might note.
So when Robin Hobb came out with her new trilogy, The Fitz and the Fool , I jumped on the feminism train and grabbed her books. After all, we must unite to right a wrong.
Okay, so I was going to read them anyway because I loved her Farseer Series, and this continues the tale.
Last week Robin visited Powell’s in Beaverton for a signing. She lives locally in the Northwest and comes there at least once a year. (At least Peter said so, and he is Powell’s science fiction and fantasy expert and moderator)
The Fool’s Quest continues the story of FitzChivalry Farseer, supposed bastard of the king’s brother, who is hiding out as Tom Badgerlock, having devised FitzChivalry’s death. In an attempt to save the Fool’s life, he returns to the palace with him and soon becomes swept up in court intrigue and distracted by the perilous health of the Fool. Believing his strange daughter under the protection of those at his manor home, he leaves her there while he administers to the Fool. With that brief inattention, she is kidnapped by a cult known to the Fool and taken to their island where she is regarded as the Shaysim. This is a rare being able to read the lines of the future. She is acclaimed the “Unexpected Son” by those who do not realize that she’s really a girl.
The first half of the story drags as FitzChivalry tries to please all at court while worrying about his daughter. He does a lot of handwringing and guilt trips, but doesn’t seem able to launch a rescue. There is lots of angst over the Fool, over the captured daughter, over his old mentor Chade, but no action. After a while, it gets frustrating. A few interesting twists and turns to the story add a richness, but FitzChivalry dallies overlong for my taste.
Meanwhile, Bee, the daughter, in order to save her life and that of her companion Shun, keeps the fiction going of her true gender
…maybe much the same as Robin Hobb did herself.
I am once again putting my first book of the Alysian Series, Caught in Time free from September 18 thru the 22nd thru KDP Select. I plan to advertise in Robin Reads on the 18th and Freebooksy on the 21. I’ll let you now how it turns out. Meanwhile, if you haven’t garnered Caught in Time yet…now’s the time.