The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince
One of the darkest legends in the Realm of the Elderlings recounts the tale of the so-called Piebald Prince, a Witted pretender to the throne unseated by the actions of brave nobles so that the Farseer line could continue untainted. Now the truth behind the story is revealed through the account of Felicity, a low-born companion of the Princess Caution at Buckkeep.
Reviewed on 27th June 2014
This novella is a prequel to Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series, an epic fantasy made up of four trilogies (although one had four books), though this is most reminiscent of the first of these. The story has two main characters, mentioned in the title, and tells the story of their lives from the point of view of a common member of the court. It’s a really interesting way to tell the story that makes a lot of in-universe sense and really draws the reader in to the range of characters presented.
Although short (I read it in two days, and was deliberately taking it slow to make it last), the book is a riot of emotions and Hobb manages to flit between tragic and lighter moments with ease. The tale is really well-crafted and flows at exactly the right pace. Unlike some of her previous shorter works, I felt this was the perfect length, reminiscent of her original Farseer trilogy without retreading material, and providing a little bit of insight into something that was hinted at in the original novels.
I absolutely loved this brief visit back to the Six Duchies, but I think a big part of that is because I’ve read the original trilogy - I don’t think it would be as appealing to someone who hadn’t.