FitzChivalry has lived a difficult life. He never met his father, and his mother's people dumped him at the nearest castle gate when he was six. The only love he ever knew came from the gruff stable master given care over him and the animals who filled his childhood days. Beset with unwanted gifts that have been crippled by poor or non-existent training, he wishes for nothing so much as a chance to choose his own course.

The story intrigued me. Unfortunately, I didn't care for FitzChivalry as a character, and so the delivery felt a little flat. I stuck it out through the series because I did love some of the secondary characters. I enjoyed watching the people around FitzChivalry grow, even though he felt very stagnant. I appreciated their victories, and I enjoyed following their stories.

I will say the series does deserve credit in two very specific areas. First, the development of strong women throughout. Whether sympathetic or not, all the female characters in this series had agency and an admirable inner strength. Second, I give props for a brief exploration of non-traditional gender identity and preference in the third book. The exploration put Hobb ahead of the curve, and is certainly appreciated by this reader.