Read The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb Jackie Morris Online


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.With FeliOne 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.With Felicity by her side, Caution grows into a headstrong Queen-in-Waiting. But when Caution gives birth to a bastard son who shares the piebald markings of his father’s horse, Felicity is the one who raises him. And as the prince comes to power, political intrigue sparks dangerous whispers about the Wit that will change the kingdom forever…Internationally-bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Robin Hobb takes readers deep into the history behind the Farseer series in this exclusive, new novella, “The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince.” In her trademark style, Hobb offers a revealing exploration of a family secret still reverberating generations later when assassin FitzChivalry Farseer comes onto the scene. Fans will not want to miss these tantalizing new insights into a much-beloved world and its unforgettable characters....

Title : The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780007498130
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 157 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince Reviews

  • Petrik
    2019-03-16 04:23

    There needs to be more novella like this.The Legend of the Piebald Prince was first briefly mentioned in chapter 31 of Royal Assassin. In this novella, we get to see the full story of the legend, which mostly focused on explaining the dark history of the Farseer line long before FitzChivalry Farseer’s storyline and the most important one, it shed light on why The Wit became despicable by the society in the first place.This is a short book, just around two hours read for me, but within 160 pages Hobb managed to tell a compelling story of tragedy, love, and betrayal. The book is divided into two parts/chapter only, I didn't expect the first part to be that dark in tone, it was fantastic. The second part sometimes felt a bit draggy but it was absolutely worth it to reach. As usual, Hobb’s prose remained the highlight of the book. Even though the book was told from a secondhand experience of the narrator, it was still engaging for me. Plus, there are a few apt and beautiful interior artworks done by Jackie Morris that will enhance the reader's experience, I know it did for me.Picture: One of the interior artwork inside the book.The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince is a great novella that provided a great insight into the history of Farseer and The Wit. I highly recommend this to any Robin Hobb's fans. I do have to mention that even though this is a prequel, I think it's better to read this one only after you read at least two books in The Farseer trilogy, this way you'll know more about The Wit and the families in the Six Duchies.You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest

  • Mark Lawrence
    2019-02-27 11:19

    First let's talk about the book - the physical thing. The edition I have is a Voyager hardback and they have gone to town on it. The cover artist, the excellent Jackie Morris, has additional artwork scattered through the text, including two coloured illustrations at the start, and pen and ink work through the body. Each page ends in a narrow scrolled design too. It's a lovely thing.This is a short book, technically a novella at 38,000 words.You should be aware when picking this up that it's in a different style to most books, including Hobb's other work. Like many of her other books this is written in the 1st person, but it's in the style of an account, which allows it to cover many years and a good number of complex events in such a short space. You pay for this in a loss of immediacy and a significant reduction in the amount of dialogue. A common 'rule' of writing is "show don't tell" but when you're as accomplished as Robin Hobb you can bend the rules almost to breaking point, and an account of this sort is primarily an exercise in telling. Hobb works her magic here and makes this a tale that manages to be emotionally engaging even while it covers so much ground.TWP & TPP provides a background to the Farseer books, providing a satisfying insight into some of their history.This isn't more of the same, it amplifies some aspects of the Farseer books and lessens others. Your reaction will depend on what you loved most about those books.The book doesn't assume any knowledge, so it's entirely possible that it will work well for those who have never read a Hobb book - but having read many of them I'm not in a good position to judge that.A beautiful book. A poignant tale, wonderfully written. Something to keep you occupied while you wait for Fool's Assassin!EDIT - you no longer have to wait for Fool's Assassin - so read it - wonderful book!Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes..

  • Bookdragon Sean
    2019-02-23 05:37

    I wish Robin Hobb would write more books like this. Well, I wish she would write more books in general, which speaks volumes considering how many she has already written. Her prose is simply excellent; it is so easily to become lost in it. This book tells the tale of a legend that is often referred to in the Farseer books. So, it’s great to see the story in depth, as it adds a sense of history to her already remarkable novels.An excellent backstory The Witted folk often claim to have a kinship with the Farseer line because they believe that the Farseers are descended from their own folk. Their suggestion obviously bares merit because FitzChivallry himself is witted, though this may have come from his mother’s blood line. Either way there is some of the Farseer blood with the hated wit magic. The first part of the story is, essentially, a love story in which a young Farseer Princess falls in love with a Witted stable boy. The story is one of love that could never last because a Princess could never marry someone so below her station. The woe begotten tale unfolds, and the Princess is left with a royal bastard; thus, the wit enters the Farseer blood line. The second part of the story follows a battle of succession. The bastard boy is first in line, but he has the hated wit magic. His conception out of wedlock, and of low lineage, results in the Dukes of the Six Duchies supporting a different claimant: Canny Farseer. If that wasn’t enough reason for the two rival claimants fight they both then fall for the same woman. What unfolds is a somewhat predictable story that ended in bloodshed. I think the first part of the story was much better, and without it, the second wouldn’t have been quite as good. Together though, they provide an intriguing backstory to the Farseer lineage.A great editionVery few authors can write one hundred and fifty pages of prose, and then sell it for £14.99 then at the same time have the reader feel like its money well spent. Indeed, the royal Farseer line has a darker history than I ever imagined. This will be appreciated most by those that have read the The Tawny Man Trilogy and The Farseer Trilogy because the reader will begin to see where the discrimination for the witted folk began. I personally recommend reading it afterFool’s Errand . It adds an excellent backstory to her world and specifically to that book in particular. I wish she would write more tales like this. The book itself looks very good. There are some images that accompany the story, which really help to evoke the nature of Robin Hobb’s writing style. I think the art work is great; it is the same as that on the covers of her books in the U.K. I love the designs. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this, but I found the ending of the overall tale a little predictable. Also because of the short nature of the tale there wasn’t much room for motional investment, which for me is the strongest aspect of her writing. So without it, it felt a little flat.A Witted 3.5 stars

  • Mark Lawrence
    2019-03-07 06:20

    First let's talk about the book - the physical thing. The edition I have is a Voyager hardback and they have gone to town on it. The cover artist, the excellent Jackie Morris, has additional artwork scattered through the text, including two coloured illustrations at the start, and pen and ink work through the body. Each page ends in a narrow scrolled design too. It's a lovely thing.This is a short book, technically a novella at 38,000 words.You should be aware when picking this up that it's in a different style to most books, including Hobb's other work. Like many of her other books this is written in the 1st person, but it's in the style of an account, which allows it to cover many years and a good number of complex events in such a short space. You pay for this in a loss of immediacy and a significant reduction in the amount of dialogue. A common 'rule' of writing is "show don't tell" but when you're as accomplished as Robin Hobb you can bend the rules almost to breaking point, and an account of this sort is primarily an exercise in telling. Hobb works her magic here and makes this a tale that manages to be emotionally engaging even while it covers so much ground.TWP & TPP provides a satisfying background to the Farseer books. If you loved those books, as I did, then you'll probably love this work too. It's entirely possible the novella will work well for someone new to Hobb's work - it certainly doesn't assume any knowledge of the Farseer world - but I'm not in a good position to judge that.For Farseer fans, this isn't more of the same, it takes and amplifies certain aspects and holds less of others. Your reaction to it will depend upon what you liked most in those books. But I think everyone will find things to love in it, and it's a great way to spend some reading time while you wait for Fool's Assassin to come out! Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes.

  • Phee
    2019-03-16 12:20

    It probably surprises no one that I absolutely loved this. It’s been available for a while but I preordered the paperback version that came out today (30/11/17) to match the rest of my Hobb collection. It was well worth the wait. I read it in one glorious sitting. This novella is the story of the Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince. Well known to those of you that have read the Realm of the Elderlings books by Robin Hobb. Through the course of that series you hear many tales of the Piebald Prince and his curse of the Wit, the despised magic that runs in the Farseer line. The tales we hear are all slightly different and exaggerated as these stories often are. In the time of Fitz Chivalry Farseer the tale is legendary and to most folk it justifies the pursuit of the witted. Especially during the Tawny Man trilogy where it plays a main part in the story. The only issue is that as so many decades and generations have passed since the Piebald Prince reigned, the tale is so distorted that you never learn the full truth. Until now that is. This is a wonderful novella. One that brought me many emotions. Hobb’s writing is as immersive as ever and I instantly fell into the familiar territory of this world. Oh how I wish I could read all the books for the first time again. Reading this has reassured me that if Hobb decides to revisit this world again in the future, I will be first in line to read it. Even though the story of Fitz and the Fool is somewhat finished, the world itself still has plenty of stories to tell. I’d love to hear the stories of some of the previous Kings and Queens of the Six Duchies. It was nice to finally get the full tale of this character, as I said earlier his story still has influence in the times of Fitz Chivalry. Obviously this being a novella, it was short. A little over 150 pages. But Hobb’s writing meant that the story was emotional, eventful and completely wrapped up in those short pages. It’s a tale full of rivalry, deception, love, family and honour. There are beautiful illustrations throughout that really added to the experience. I’d love to see the Realm of the Elderlings books with illustrations too one day. A girl can dream. This novella can be read before or after the main series. It doesn’t spoil anything for the rest of the RotE books. I think it would be a good entry point for those who are intimidated by the length of the main series or those who want to sample Hobb’s writing on a small scale. I loved the experience as someone who has read and loved RotE. It added great insight for me and definitely left me satisfied. Part of me was scared to read this as I thought it could never live up to the main series. But my goodness how wrong I was and gladly so. I am still utterly infatuated with this world, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

  • David Sven
    2019-03-18 08:08

    This novella covers the backstory of the Piebald Prince referred to in the Tawny Man trilogy. In the first book of the trilogy, the movement of those "afflicted" with the Wit Magic, calling themselves the Piebalds, claimed legitimacy because the Farseer Kings were said to have been descended from "old blood" through the Piebald Prince centuries before. This is that story.We hearken back to a time when Wit magic wasn't despised and learn how it came to be hated and why those with wit magic are treated with such prejudice. The story is written down by a companion of a Farseer princess whose son became a companion to the Piebald Prince and witness to the events as they unfolded. This historical account was to be stored away and hidden, one buried in Buckkeep library and another some place else. I speculate that it was these accounts being found centuries later that breathed life into the Piebald rebellion of the Tawny Man series.The writing was top notch as always from Robin Hobb, however, I think Hobb's style of writing only really shines for me when she can "sprawl" in a bigger story with a bigger page count.Highly recommended for fans of the Fitz and Fool novels. It would possibly be best appreciated if at least the first book of Tawny Man, Fool's Errand were read first.I'm giving this one...3.5 stars

  • Damian Dubois
    2019-03-14 09:18

    I have to say that I am a little disheartened that The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince isn't getting as much love as it rightfully deserves. That title alone is simply delightful and deserves a star just for that alone ;)They say that history is always written by the victor and in a way that is what exactly happens here. The Farseer books showed us the prejudice displayed against anyone showing signs of the Wit and from the tale being told by Felicity, a simple servant and maid in the employ of Queen Capable and King Virile, we learn of how events unfolded that eventually lead to the total mistrust of these folk and how the legend of the Piebald Prince was born...It has definitely been a long time between drinks for me, the last time that I actually read a novel by Robin Hobb probably bordering on ten years now. The urge to go back to the beginning and re-read the Farseer Trilogy has been quite close to overwhelming me at times and seeing my friends on Goodreads go through not only them but the Liveship Traders and the Tawny Man trilogies as well has only made that desire even stronger. And now that I've read the legend of the Piebald Prince my appetite has well and truly been whetted. No more excuses, get back into them! It was also help to read them all again so I can then move onto the Rainwild Chronicles which I haven't had the pleasure of reading yet.So, nevermind the shortness of the novel or the 'Once upon a time...' format that it is told in, this book is extremely well written and a fitting edition to the Farseer mythology.5 stars.

  • Alex Ristea
    2019-03-08 12:38

    I think it's fair to say that at this point I'm addicted.Some time will go by without reading any Robin Hobb, and I start getting the shakes, dreaming of the Fool, and wanting to go run in the woods alongside Nighteyes.Now, while this doesn't quite slake my thirst as much as the forthcoming Fool's Assassin will, it's still a welcome adventure.The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince is a delightful novella looking at the history of these two characters and how the Wit became demonized in the Six Duchies. They follow a similar style to the Farseer trilogy, in that it's in first-person, but is a recounting of events. You get the sense the story is being told with much hindsight and time to think.If you enjoyed that in her previous works (or if you're just like me and simply needed more Hobb), I think you'll enjoy this story.Have you read this? Which of the two stories did you prefer?

  • Althea Ann
    2019-03-11 09:36

    A prequel or ancillary to Hobb's Farseer series This short novel (very brief, compared to other volumes in the series) takes a point of history referred to in the other books (view spoiler)[(How those with the animal-focused telepathy known as 'the Wit' came to be maligned) (hide spoiler)], and fleshes it out, showing how rumor and propaganda can become future generations' accepted facts. As the title suggests, there's a lot of the fairy tale in this story, which is narrated by a wet nurse's daughter, raised as servant to royalty - but the style is purely Hobb's. It meshes epic events with the quotidian with aplomb, and introduces us to flawed yet sympathetic characters with such a deft touch that you'll finish the book feeling like they're people you really know.Recommended for all fans of the Farseer world.

  • Sotiris Karaiskos
    2019-03-10 10:25

    Στα 6 δουκάτα υπάρχει μία έντονη προκατάληψη απέναντι στα άτομα που έχουν τη μαγική ικανότητα να επικοινωνούν με τα ζώα, δε μαθαίνουμε όμως πως προέκυψε. Αυτό το κενό καλύπτει αυτό το ιδιαίτερα όμορφο και συγκινητικό διήγημα με τον καλύτερο δυνατό τρόπο. Πρόκειται για μία εξαιρετική ιστορία που τολμώ να πω ότι κάπως θυμίζει αρχαία τραγωδία. Αμαρτήματα του παρελθόντος, βιαστικές συναισθηματικές επιλογές, φθόνοι και φιλοδοξίες φέρνουν την αναπόφευκτη καταστροφή που επεκτείνεται στις επόμενες γενεές και επηρεάζει τις ζωές χιλιάδων ανθρώπων. Μέσα από αυτά τα λάθη όμως η αλήθεια βρίσκει τον τρόπο να επιβιώσει παρά την προσπάθεια ορισμένων να την αποκρύψουν.

  • Alissa
    2019-03-09 10:33

    The only lie I ever told her was my undoing, and hers, and the Stablemaster’s. Such is the power of a lie given to one you love.

  • Maija
    2019-03-04 07:29

    A great story of one historical event of the Six Duchies, giving some background info about the persecution of the Witted in the Farseer trilogy.

  • Mili
    2019-02-26 06:37

    Short tale, sadly wasnt that interested in what was told. Well thats not true entirely, if you summed it up its awesome to know what actually happend. I did enjoy the writing as I always do but the content was ok.

  • Philip Foster.
    2019-02-25 08:22

    The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince is wonderful novella which serves as a a prequel to Hobb's classic Farseer Trilogy, illuminating the history of the Six Duchies stories as richly as her earlier story 'Homecoming' (collected in The Inheritance) does for The Liveship tradrers. Homecoming told the tale of the first settlers arriving in the Rain Wilds and how they discovered the lost cities of the Elderlings. This story explains how 'the wit', (the magical bond formed by those who carry its gift with an animal), came to be cursed by the time of Fitz's story. At this earlier time the Wit is explained thus, “the tongue of the beasts. This was a magic that in those days some folk owned to having with no shame”. By the stories shocking and dramatic conclusion we know all too well how this ability and those who possess it, came to be so despised.The story is as much if not more about the emotional bonds which form between people as it is about the magical ones between human and animal, the consequences when these bonds are boken can be shocking and heartbraking. The stories narrator is perhaps an unreliable one, but only as unreliable as anyone who speaks of those they hold dear would be. With Hobb writing a new trilogy set in the Six Duchies, the first volume of which will be released late this year, this would be perfect time to read this story. Also, it's the year of the horse!

  • Emily
    2019-03-16 10:15

    I don't know why I was unprepared for the amount of agony and upset in this novella. From the title, anyone who has read the two trilogies featuring Fitzchivalry could deduce that this has something to do with the Witted, and in Robin Hobb's world, they don't get a lot of happy endings. Still, even when putting her characters through one hell after another, Robin Hobb writes with a skill that can't be denied. The voice of the narrator simultaneously makes the reader disgusted with her character and utterly confident in the truth of her tale.I can't say I liked this story of how the Witted came to be hated and hunted in the Six Duchies, but I can't help but admire the writer. I hadn't been able to read anything of hers since the Soldier Son trilogy, but this was a good reminder of what she can do. I'm still not sure I can handle crippled dragons, though, well-written or not.2017 update: Turns out I can handle crippled dragons just fine. I ended up loving her Rainwild quartet, which I went back and read after finishing the last Fitz and the Fool trilogy.

  • Tim
    2019-02-28 05:28

    This book combines two novellas that take place many years before the events in the Farseer Trilogy. However, it is best to read this trilogy first before reading these novellas. Otherwise, you'll have, in my humble opinion, a harder time appreciating the stories and getting into the story, into the context.--------------------The Wilful Princess: This story is about a low-born wet-nurse, working at Buckkeep, whose daughter should follow in her footsteps and thus assure a bright future for herself and her own family. Said daughter is to be the newborn princess's maid, companion, in everything she does and goes through: from raising over clothing and comforting to playing and horse-riding. Her mother told Felicity to remain with the princess at all times, to ensure that she'll have a job when the princess, who goes by the name Cautious, becomes an adult and ready to ascend the throne. All this doesn't go as planned, obviously.Cautious isn't so cautious any more when she decides to buy a slave and his tainted horse. One thing leads to another, not in the least once this guy, who has the Wit, becomes the new stable-master, as he seems to do a far better job than the actual/previous one. The mother of Felicity thinks their future is in danger, once Cautious is with child, so she commands her daughter to also be with child, no matter how. Just choose a potential partner, if only for the occasion. Here, even though Felicity followed the same lessons and got more or less the same upbringing at Buckkeep like the princess she was to be responsible for, she (Felicity) doesn't really mind the details ((view spoiler)[hair colour, for example (hide spoiler)]). Both the princess and her maiden are now with child(ren), which is not done. This will lead Buckkeep into darker times, as the story and events unfold.(view spoiler)[It was done to break the relationship between Cautious and the Witted stable-master, who went out horse-riding every day, especially as the horse had attracted Caution's attention. Felicity told the lie that he made also her pregnant. Cautious didn't verify, believed it on the spot. The lie would eventually bring chaos over Buckkeep: Cautious would dismiss her beloved stable-master, who was also tainted like the horse (as the Wit goes: man and animal are united), but how the came to be, was anything but peaceful. A very bloody sacking it was, something Cautious regretted very badly, as she had not thought it would happen like this. Eventually she succumbed. Felicity was to raise two children now: the piebald prince and her own, Redbird (because of his hair). But the piebald one was tainted/stained like his father, which was cause for mockery and laughter. Charger he was named, but this was never how the people and nobles would call him. As he was not loved among the nobles, he was very much appreciated with the lower folk, with whom Redbird quickly became friends. (hide spoiler)]It's a dark and sad story. How any means to serve an end are used, for selfish reasons: A wet-nurse who only thinks of her own situation and wants a more luxurious, comfortable life. In itself, that's fine, everybody wants a trouble-free life. But how the plan is devised, the abuse, the manipulation, and so on... It shows how vile humans can be. Due to mother's doings, her own daughter lost almost everything she had: Friendship, a warm home (Buckkeep), comfort, trust, love (one way or another, even if Cautious let her hormones run free ;-)). Luckily, Felicity realised the error of her ways and decided to raise Charger and Redbird (her own son) according to what she thought was right, not according to mother's ways.Nobles as well seem to be very indifferent about whose side to choose: As long as everything goes well, no problem. Once they sense something is wrong (for them personally: status, riches, etc.), they switch sides or turn into cruel creatures. Any reason is good enough to take revenge or obstruct the course of nature's ways.The Piebald Prince: This is a direct follow-up of the events in 'The Wilful Princess' and focuses on Charger, who is crowned the new king. Obviously, as he's a bastard (not 100% Farseer-blood), this causes political problems, especially in the Farseer-family and among the various dukes. High nobles back Canny Farseer (the son of Strategy Farseer, who's the brother of the current king), others back Charger (aka the piebald one).Redbird is not a strong lad like Charger is. Redbird was born too soon, thanks to Felicity's mother, who also ordered her daughter to break off Queen-in-Waiting Caution's pregnancy with a special brew, but she failed; the brew didn't work. (view spoiler)[Part of the plan was to switch babies, so Felicty had to put Redbird sooner onto the world, which had serious consequences for the kid. He was always very tired, never had enough energy, wasn't and would never be strong, ... (hide spoiler)]Redbird, like Felicity and Caution, was taught the same lessons as Charger. Redbird was talented enough to become a minstrel, but true to his word. Other minstrels often invented stories or enhanced them to make their masters more perfect than they were.Not only political problems were constantly lingering, love was another spoilsport between Canny and Charger (the Piebald king). In the end, as the Wit was now considered a curse and everything related had to be wiped out (people who had it, people who had had it, animals, ...), it also meant the end of Charger. Redbird, however, witnessed it all, yet remained in his hiding place for a long time. And it took a while before he could speak and eat again. Felicity (his mother) could care of him, while trying to not put too much attention on herself, as her son had been affiliated with the king, who had the Wit. Redbird decided to plot his own revenge on the new-crowned, yet illegally, king Canny. This, too, came to dreadful end. Redbird's revenge, that is.Both stories were written down by Felicity, in which she swore to tell the truth and only the truth, as her own son was adamant about truthfulness.--------------------As said above, don't read these novellas when you have not yet read The Farseer Trilogy. It's said that the Piebald Prince is also named in The Tawny Man trilogy, but I've yet to read those books.Robin Hobb did it again. The stories are beautifully written, in a very lovely style. The main characters are almost like real-life people. It's not difficult to feel sympathy for them (Felicity, Redbird, Charger, ...) as they go through difficult, troublesome times. It's also heart-wrenching to read, although not new, how low humanity can fall when they don't apply a critical stance or feel wronged. Which does not mean their actions are justified or should be approved of. On the contrary.Long story short: A recommended book!

  • manda
    2019-02-21 08:26

    12 Feb. '17goodreads | more reviewsYet again, Robin Hobb reminds me why she is amongst my very few, all-time favourite writers. I decided to read this novella before I dived into my re-read of the main Farseer trilogy. This you don't need to do, as the series stands well on its own without any of its historical context. The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince offers the truth behind many of the distorted beliefs passed as historical fact in the Farseer trilogy, and it's just fascinating to understand how much of an unsuspectingly unreliable narrator we have in the main series.But to speak of The Wilful Princess; even for a short story, this was a beautifully done tale. Seeing things from the perspective of the handmaid and then wet-nurse of the main characters might not work for some people, as by the end of the story, there are things even beyond Felicity's awareness and understanding. This leaves us with some questions left unanswered, some incomprehension of certain characters and motives, and for some readers, this could make or break the story.I was able to look at and enjoy it purely from the outsider (but objective) viewpoint of Felicity, which only made the unanswered mysteries all the more powerful. Admittedly, I would've liked to know more about Wiffen and how on earth Charger could have come to love such a fickle woman, as Felicity rightly describes. But our narrator's unfamiliarity to both Wiffen and her relationship with Charger/The Piebald Prince was only natural and understandable, and the fact the love affair between them remains a mystery makes it more realistic and magical at the same time.In fact, I think the choice of narrator was what made this work brilliant for me - rather than opting for the easier choice of multiple viewpoints/accounts from key characters.The unknown is part of what makes the tale stay with you far after you've closed the book. The key questions are answered, the purpose of the story is met, but enough is left open to our own interpretation; striking a nice balance between the elements.Like all her other books, I find that Hobb's narrator here also had a strong voice. Yes, she writes big tales and even for a novella this was on the longer side of the spectrum. But not one word is wasted. Not one sentence is an empty cushion to thicken the pages.The story itself is bittersweet, and made even moreso from the third-party viewpoint, who was closely linked to both the Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince. I don't believe it would have worked any other way.11 Feb. '17Review to come.

  • Stretch's Books
    2019-03-07 10:08

    So here it is, 4:30 a.m., and I just finished Robin Hobb's new 183 page novella "The Willful Princess & The Piebald Prince". A story given to tell more of the Farseer lineage. I must say, it's a really well written, entertaining piece of literature. I actually never put it down after I picked it up. Two reasons the book doesn't get five stars from me. 1: I haven't read any of the other books involving the realm of the Farseer's. I have them, but haven't read them yet. Although, I will be more informed now because I will have read them in order. That being said, reading "The Farseer Trilogy" & "The Liveship Traders Trilogy" is not necessary to understand or enjoy this book. 2: The ending was predictable from, oh say, by around the start of the last third of the book. There were plenty of twists and turns for 183 pages, and good ones at that. However, the last part can be seen from a mile off.Overall however, the book in my opinion was a fantastic read. If one is a fan of Robin Hobb and the afore mentioned trilogies, then he/she should definitely read this little addition to that universe.

  • Stefan
    2019-02-28 05:23

    Over the years, Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings has become one of fantasy’s most beloved settings. So far, the series consists of three completed trilogies (Farseer, Live Ship, and Tawny Man), as well as the Rain Wilds Chronicles, a four book cycle whose final installment is due out in March. In addition, there are a number of shorter works set in this fantasy universe. The most recent of these is the brand new novella The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince.It’s best to think of The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince as a prequel to the Farseer Trilogy, and like almost all prequels, it’s better to read it after you’ve read the books that take place later in the internal chronology. So, if you’re new to the Realm of the Elderlings, grab a copy of Assasin’s Apprentice instead.Read the entire review on my site Far Beyond Reality!

  • FrankieReads
    2019-03-16 04:27

    This was a great short story giving some background and perspective on the royal lineage of the Six Duchies and why The Wit is so hated. Besides the background story which is like a mini-prequal to The Farseer Trilogy, it's just a thumping good story! The main characters are interesting, the drama that ensues is engaging, and I was really drawn into it. I read it because I'm currently reading Fool's Errand, and there were multiple mentions of the Piebald Prince. Since I already had this book, I thought I'd stop and read the short story. So glad I did!

  • Claudia
    2019-03-02 08:33

    The story of the Piebald Prince and the events that led later on to the persecution of the Witted. It lacks the passion which usually accompanies RH’s characters, for it is told from the objective PoV of Felicity, the prince’s wet-nurse. Not a must, because it's not that compelling, but interesting enough.

  • Molino
    2019-03-13 12:09


  • Scott
    2019-03-10 11:33

    Robin Hobb takes us back to the early days of the Farseer reign in this slim tale of love and betrayal and, yes, magic. The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince should stand well enough on its own, but it will be much richer for those who have read her original Farseer trilogy, because they will understand just how grave and long-lasting are the consequences of what happens in this novella.The text is presented as a document written by the servant Felicity and hidden deep in the royal archives for some future generation to find and know the truth. While one document, in effect it is not one story, but two. (The book is even divided into two sections as if to accentuate this fact.) "The Willful Princess" is about the ill-named Princess Caution, examining her childhood and adolescence and showing how a few fateful choices lead to the birth of the Piebald Prince. "The Piebald Prince", then, describes the life of her son, and the rivalries and superstitions that brought his downfall.These two halves of a greater story actually feel very different from one another. In the first section, the narrator, Felicity, is a companion to the princess; she is a sort of sister and mother and servant all in one. The story is as much about her as it is about Caution and we get more of the moral complexity that Hobb is known for. Felicity is writing about it long after the fact, but because she was directly involved we are able to writhe at the impossible choices she is faced with, and have to bear the unbearable consequences with her.The second part reads more like a history or apologia of the Piebald Prince's life. While Felicity knew most of the people involved, many of the events she only knows of secondhand. This makes it feel more realistic, but it also means the narrative here is more distant, and it's harder to identify with the Prince and the problems he faces. But it's still a powerful story and this is where many of the connections to the later Farseer trilogy come to light.Ultimately, The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince is an excellent addition to the Realm of the Elderlings canon. It is a beautiful book, both the cover art and two full-page interior illustrations. And if it's shorter than Hobb's usual fare, it just means anyone that loves her work will have trouble not devouring it in one sitting.

  • Kaitlin
    2019-03-06 09:21

    This is a collection of two novellas, both set in the Realm of the Elderlings but based many, many years before the storyline of Fitz and other Fareseer character we know and love. You could certainly start with these books and they wouldn't spoil anything for you, and I would say they're a great place to 'try out' Hobb. However, I will say if you have read the other books in the Realm of the Elderlings then some of the things Hobb mentions within this will resonate a lot with you and enchant you (as they did for me).As always I believe that Hobb's writing style is fab. She's brilliant at drawing you in and making you connect to the characters who are narrating or part of the story, and this was no exception. We have two storues, the first, The Wilful Princess, focuses on Felicity and her companionship with the Princess Caution (of the Farseers). Felicity is from a simple family and yet she becomes firm friends with the baby Princess and stays by her through her life. They go through much and more together, and you follow their bond and the problems that Caution (not a good representation of her name) sets up for Felicity and herself.The second story is also narrated by Felicity but is a retelling of a story told to her by Redbird, and this is following the next generation of Farseer, The Piebald Prince. If you've read the later Farseer, Tawny Man and Fitz and the Fool books then you'll no doubt recognise the name of the Piebald Prince. this is his story and shows just why he became famous and his tale was passed down through the generations all across the Realm of the Elderlings.On the whole, both of these were short, to the point, but brimming with all the magic of the Elderling world and it hinted at all the extra to come. I adore these characters and this world, and I really enjoyed re-immersing myself with this (although I am sad again that there's not a lot more for me to immediately read). 5*s overall, I just love Hobb :)

  • Laura Fudge
    2019-03-13 10:13

    Set in the Farseer world, with Wit magic (the ability to speak to and bond with animals) this book follows the story of Princess Caution (the Wilful Princess) and Prince Charger (the Piebald Prince). Told by the companion of the Princess, Felicity, we see the story of the Witted prince overthrown from the throne, through jealousy, prejudice and pride. A story of how being witted has become such a bad thing in the Farseer world, this is a brilliant little piece of 'history' which not only helps to add colour and depth to the world she has created but also is a beautiful little story in it's own right. I have always wondered why Wit was so looked down upon in the Farseer world, and this elaborated on the story and made the prejudices in the books make more sense.I love Robin Hobb's books anyway, and have read the Farseer Trilogy, the Tawny Man trilogy and the Liveship traders trilogy, as well as the Soldier Son trilogy, and I love the worlds she has created. This book is a bit of a departure as it's a novella compared to the 500 page novels I am used to by Hobb, but I loved it nonetheless. It was beautifully written, in the voice of Felicity, and kept me intrigued and interested throughout. The illustration in the book were stunning and not only enhanced the story but have made the whole book a lovely experience. I have re-awoken my love for these books, and I have decided to re-read the Liveship Trader trilogy before moving on to the new Rain Wilds Chronicles.

  • Charley Robson
    2019-03-06 12:23

    Mm. This is a complicated one. On one hand: lots of good things. On the other ... the rest.If anyone has ever wanted to know what event it was that turned the Six Dutchies against the use of the Wit and all who wield it, and where all those dark mutterings point when FitzChivalry Farseer begins to display that same predilection, this is the place. Here, in two parts, comes the story of Queen-in-Waiting Caution, Lostler the Stable Master, and King Charger the Piebald Prince himself.We shall begin with the good, which mostly comes in the form of setup. First of all, this tale is told to us by Felicity, daughter of Caution's wetnurse, and her lifelong best friend. And, as well as best friend, lover. While Caution herself shows no predilection for being exclusively into women, Felicity is completely honest about her ardent feelings for her queen, and the fact that the sensual/sexual angle of their relationship was not seen as bad thing either by them or by their culture is equal parts powerful and admirable. Moreover, Caution herself makes for an interesting character. On one hand, she is the typical spoiled princess who gets into too much trouble, scorns anyone with wise advice for her, and only learns her lesson after a stern word from her father. On the other, when the paternity of her child is questioned, she stands up and openly declares that her motherhood is all that matters for the child's destiny, and that the absence of a father or husband does not at all lessen either her personhood or her status as a royal and a future queen. This really stood out to me, as we so rarely see such things in any genre, let alone fantasy. Caution's intent to rule as queen with her child as heir, without husband and without declaring the child's father, was an absolute highlight that shows how far fantasy - and the real world - might yet go.Moreover, seeing the world before anti-Wit sentiment became the norm is fascinating, if brief. Groomsmen, medicine folk, herders and keepers of beasts in every way may be openly Witted, and it seems to be absolutely accepted that this sometimes happens - and more often than not, taken as a potential advantage. Charger's Witted nature is not at all a bother to anyone, initially, which I was absolutely not expecting. The story also comes up with a pretty strong reason for such sentiment to exist afterward, however, which matches up nicely with its ongoing commentary on the nature of truth and how understandings of events are implicitly bound up with power and those who wield it. The final staging of the two minstrels' songs is a standout example of just such, and after Caution's stand, easily its strongest individual scene.However, these bright spots are let down entirely by everything else. Felicity is to blame for much of this - while she is close to Caution while Caution lives, she is always a step behind the action. Or, rather, twelve thousand steps. The princess' life, her relationship with Lostler, her formation of her plan to rule alone after the birth of her child, the growth of said child and his view of himself as he came into manhood and found himself contending with his cousin, and finally the events that led to his downfall, are all powerful, evocative events that I would absolutely have loved the chance to read in Hobb's beautiful, visceral emotional prose, buried in the heads of her stunningly realised characters and happily entangling my paws in the thousand-thousand threads of politics both personal and national that wind through them.Instead, we get Felicity's dull waffling, with none of the characters getting to speak for themselves, and thus reducing everyone to paper cut-out players on a stage so far away that I could hardly be bothered to raise my head to look at it. Furthermore, for being a book focussed so much on the actions of women, some of the story is breathtakingly misogynistic. Everything and anything about Caution's upbringing and her choices is blamed either on the princess herself, or on her mother, never mind that she has both a lover and a father who were equally culpable in everything. Felicity's own mother, who had the potential to be a Chade-like figure of intrigue and hidden power, is instead a bitter, dried up old prune who spits out anti-woman sentiment left, right and centre. And in the reign of King Charger, it is not the politics of his Wit, his parenthood, or his own peculiar personality that bring him down - no, it's another pesky woman daring to court both his favour and that of his successor and being too selfish to make up her mind, and even then continuing to be the font of all violence between them, up to and including the final incident that sees Charger's brief regin ended. Everything in this story is the fault of women, who are stupid, foolish, headstrong, coquettish and absolutely worthless in every regard save as being vessels for popping out children. A message in which our narrator is borishly complicit.The more I think about it, the angrier I get. Frankly, I would wish to see this book vivisected and rebuilt from the inside; using Hobb's multiple perspectives and penchant for complex situations and characters, winding their lives and viewpoints together and allowing us to see the hungers, fears, desires, hatreds and rash decisions that fed their actions rather than rushing us through a stunted history through the eyes of someone who didn't even see half of it happen, and who feeds us banal and deeply prejudiced reckonings of what she thinks they might have been feeling at the time, when she bothers to indicate that any of these dull two-dimensional dullards have thoughts or feelings at all.This story earns it solitary two stars for containing some bold and powerful ideas. Sadly, it loses all the rest for burying them amidst horrible execution and doubly horrible gender commentary. Its high points are absolute diamonds - but I, for one, do not think it is worth sticking my hands into the flaming, stinking pointy-toothed blender to retrieve them.

  • Mark Wilson
    2019-03-02 08:38

    A prequels of sorts to the Farseer series, this book's gives us the history of the Piebald Prince and an insight into the reasons why the 'witted' are sonrevioed in Fitzchivalry's time. As always, wonderful characters and storytelling and a hugely enjoyable fleshing out of Hobb's world.

  • KatHooper
    2019-03-22 10:13

    Originally posted at FanLit. Hobb’s FARSEER series is one of my all-time favorite fantasy epics. It’s about FitzChivalry Farseer, the bastard son of a dead prince. Fitz is a sad case, not only because his father’s dead and he’s illegitimate, but perhaps mostly because he has the Wit — an ancient magic that lets him communicate with and bond to animals. The citizens of the Six Duchies fear the Wit and kill those who practice it. But that wasn’t always the case…Now, in Robin Hobb’s most recent novella, The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince, we learn why the people hate what they call “beastmagic.” This is the story of a young (“willful”) Farseer princess who fell in love with a Witted stablemaster. The story is told by Felicity, whose mother had been Princess Caution’s nursemaid and who had strategically maneuvered Felicity into the position of companion to the princess. When Caution gives birth to the stablemaster’s Witted illegitimate child — a boy who becomes known as the Piebald Prince — Felicity raises him and tells us his story, too.So why did the Wit become a crime in the Six Duchies? In The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince, you’ll learn that it has to do with a scandal involving the ugly illegitimate prince, a thwarted would-be-king, a fickle woman, a love triangle, and a couple of murders.The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince has everything I expect from Robin Hobb — clear and succinct (yet lovely) prose, interesting well-developed characters (some to love and some to hate), realistic dialogue, beautiful romance, glorious tragedy, and a touch of ironic humor.If you’re a fan of Robin Hobb’s fantasy, you don’t want to miss The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince because it fills in some important backstory on the Farseer family and provides a lot of context to FitzChivalry’s bittersweet tale. And if you haven’t read Robin Hobb’s work before, you’ve really been missing out. The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince is the perfect way to correct that problem — it’s a great introduction to the FARSEER saga. After you read it, you’ll be itching to read Assassin’s Apprentice.

  • Rob
    2019-03-16 10:20

    It's a good year for Robin Hobb fans. This month Blood of Dragons. the final installment in her current series the Rainwild Chronicles, appeared and on top of that The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince, a new novella also set in the Realm of the Elderlings, was released by Subterranean Press. I'm currently reading Blood of Dragons but when This beautiful little book arrived I couldn't help myself an read that one first. As usual the people at Subterranean did an great job of making the book look pretty. It's a nice little hardcover with with a cover and two full colour interior illustrations by Jon Foster. This book is almost worth the price just for the looks....Full Random Comments review

  • Freya
    2019-03-12 07:11

    The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince is a lovely little book following two stories of the individuals mentioned in the title and is a little bit of 'lost Buck history' (as Robin Hobb wrote in the front of my copy!) which helps to explain why the Wit is so despised in the Six Duchies in the present day.It is a wonderful book with some lovely illustrations inside and is a perfect new bit of Hobb to keep me going until The Fool's Assassin is out later this year. It is written as a recollection of one of the characters a number of years on, documenting the truth of the events surrounding the Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince with the intent of one day bringing the truth to light. Recommended for Hobb fans who can't get enough of the the Realms of the Elderlings!