So apparently I was a little farther in the book than I thought I was when I posted my initial impressions of Robin Hobb's writing (I am reluctant to say, "Ms. Hobb" since it is a penname and a title with a penname seems odd to me.
I just finished this, well, I guess you can call it a book. Here's the Amazon link:
As I mentioned in my initial impressions of her writing, she's a fantastic writer. Really high quality world-building, character depth, prose, etc etc.
Also, the fear of soap opera-ness did not materialize in this, well, I guess you can call it a book.
So, why do I keep saying, "I guess you can call it a book"?
If I had written this 474 page "story", it would have been the equivalent of 3-6 chapters of one of my books.
I mean, sure, what happens is momentous to the characters it is happening to, since they're all sheltered, never-been-out-in-the-world types, but even that isn't enough.
It hasn't even started yet!
There are four books out in this series so far, and I pray that the fourth book is a conclusion, because as it is going right now I can see Book I being the introduction, Book II and Book III being rising action with some twist of some sort thrown in for Book III, and then Book IV being a conclusion.
But I can also see the possibility of Book II, Book III, and Book IV being nothing more than more of the same with no real rising action, climax and resolution.
By the way, did I mention the book ends on a cliffhanger? And by cliffhanger, I mean, practically nothing has happened the entire "book", out of nowhere something happens, and then it's the end of the "story" not just before any sort of resolution, but before any sort of confrontation occurs!!!
WHAT DID I JUST READ???????
If I did not have the three sequels waiting for me at home, this would be a very generous 3 out of 10 and 1 star on Amazon (on the merits of the impressive writing alone, the plot is nonexistant in its immaturity (as in, not developed past Act 1 in a traditional three-act story)) and if this was not the work of a master writer, it wouldn't have been worth a 1 out of 10. I would have told everyone to run far, far away from ever reading this "story".
And this would have been an unforgivable offense in an unfinished series. Had I picked the story up in 2010 when it was published, I would never pick up another book by Robin Hobb. I suppose being a master at the craft affords Robin Hobb some allowances that an unknown author would never have (like publishing an unfinished book and not being eviscerated for it).
As it is, I am going to go and read the remaining three stories and wait to pass judgement on all four.