Robin Hobb on Twelve Kings in Sharakhai
I just had a most wonderful email land in my inbox. It was from Robin Hobb. She’s been reading Twelve Kings in Sharakhai. I knew because she’d posted a few times about it on Twitter. I was on pins and needles, if I’m being honest. She’d hinted at liking it so far, but you can never be sure. Things might have soured after a good initial start, or the demands on her time might have forced her to set it aside.
I first met Robin at ConFusion some four years ago. I can admit here that I had a fanboy moment. I was nervous and didn’t really know what to say, but I think we made some pleasant chit-chat, enough for me to see how down-to-earth she is (as are most folks when you actually get to talk to them). Some of my greatest influences in writing have been authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Friedman, Glen Cook, Tad Williams. Well, I read Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice (and the rest of the Farseer Trilogy, and later, the Liveship Traders) when I was really starting to form my tastes as a reader and as a budding writer. I really gravitated to the serious tone and the depth of characters and the immersive quality of her world and her writing. One of my favorite things to explore in writing is how the individual can affect the larger canvas of society, and how, in turn, the world can affect the individual, and for me that was one of the hallmark’s of Robin’s writing. In short, to say that she’s someone I respect and look up to in the field of writing, and specifically in epic fantasy, would be a gross understatement, so you can understand my nervousness in waiting to hear what she thought.
As it turns out, Robin enjoyed the book. Here’s what she had to say:
Twelve Kings in Sharakhai is the gateway to what promises to be an intricate and exotic tale. The characters are well defined and have lives and histories that extend past the boundaries of the plot. The culture is well fleshed out and traditional gender roles are exploded. Çeda and Emre share a relationship seldom explored in fantasy, one that will be tried to the utmost as similar ideals provoke them to explore different paths. I expect that this universe will continue to expand in Beaulieu’s skillful prose. Wise readers will hop on this train now, as the journey promises to be breathtaking.
Today, my friends, I am dancing on clouds.