Renegade's Magic by Robin Hobb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I want to hate this trilogy. I really do. There's so much that's wrong with it, how it doesn't follow the conventions or expectations of regular modern epic fantasy, but here's the thing: it doesn't follow either the classic fantasy tropes OR the modern awesome ones.
It takes its own path.
It doesn't fear to torture us or our main character. It takes us on a path that has a dual road, always caught between two major paths that just can't be reconciled.
And that's the thing. There's no easy or pithy deus ex machina even WITH a damn crow god that loves balance. It takes us to the wringer and cranks us through it with our hero and gives us NO happy ending for either side of the conflict. Neither the indigenous people nor the invaders get what they want.
It's real to life, unfortunately. And that's kinda the reason why I'm unexpectedly in love with this series, for all its difficult parts. I think of this more like a genuine exploration of the human condition, its psyche while piercing us with its hard gaze. Maybe it's a bit closer to a true literary skewering than a happy, fun fantasy.
I'm rather shocked, disturbed, and impressed. I should be annoyed and disgusted. But I'm not.
Maybe that's more impressive than a long line of carbon-copy fantasy, no?
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