Shannon A. (shannon_a) wrote,
Shannon A.

Did Robin Hobb Always Suck?

I fell in love with Robin Hobb's books in the 1990s. I ripped through the first three Fitz books (buying the third in hardcover!) and read the Liveship Trader books as they were published with just a bit less enthusiasm. I fell out of reading her stuff for several years, and then returned to read the Tawny Man books (which weren't up to the standards of the first three Fitz books, but were still quite good) and the Soldier Son books (which I didn't like as much) more recently.

So, I've been eagerly waiting for the first two of her new Rain Wilds Chronicles books to get into paperback. The second one is due any day, so Kimberly and I started reading the first one a few days ago ... and 50 pages in, it's awful.

It's the writing that I'm having real troubles with. Her sentences are often mangled, full of accidental alliteration, antecedent issues, and homophones that cause confusion when you read. She keeps repeating the same things again and again, telling you the same things again and again. Many of her sentences just aren't meaningful if you read them with a critical idea. She also keep telling you the same things again and again. A lot of the stuff is really puerile too.

There were a few things that I read today that were just embarrassing from how poor Hobbs' understanding of the English language seemed to be.

For example, at one point a fisherman is delivering a basket of fish, but then a bunch of dragons suddenly charge him. Here's what results:

"The fourth man looked up, gave a yell, and dropped his load."

No way that could be misunderstood, eh?

Just a few sentences after that we get a full on wellerism:

"They reminded Thymara of birds as each dragon seized a fish and then flung its head back to swallow."

Wellerisms: funny. Accidental wellerisms in "serious" writing: funnier, but not in a good way.

So, my question is this: did Robin Hobb's writing get considerably worse with recent books, or has it always been bad and I'm only noticing it now because I'm reading a Hobbs book aloud?
Tags: reading

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