Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy
Setting; A fictional olden-time setting, in a fictional world (think castles, swords, ladies, and magic)
My copy came from: I purchased the Kindle version from Amazon
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Review: What a story! What a book! Bring on book three—I’m desperate to read on! Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb is book two of the Farseer Trilogy, which focuses on FitzChivalry, bastard son to Chivalry, who abdicated and died long ago. I first read book one of the trilogy, Assassin’s Apprentice, last year, and I finally got around to reading book two. Without spoiling too much of the plot of the first book, Fitz is a great character. He’s likeable, but deadly, strong, but unsure, and he’s a compelling character to read. His magical abilities include the Wit, an ancient magic in which he can speak with animals, and he also possesses a bit of the Skill, where he can read others minds and influence them. I’m two books into the world of Fitz, and I’m still not 100% sure what these magics truly are. I’m hoping to get a bit more insight into Fitz and his abilities in book three – if the synopsis on Amazon can be believed, looks like we’ll get more information about magic in the next book.
“This, more than anything else, is what I have never understood about your people. You can roll dice, and understand that the whole game may hinge on one turn of a die. You deal out cards, and say that all a man’s fortune for the night may turn upon one hand. But a man’s whole life, you sniff at, and say, what, this naught of a human, this fisherman, this carpenter, this thief, this cook, why, what can they do in the great wide world? And so you putter and sputter your lives away, like candles burning in a draft.”
“Not all men are destined for greatness,” I reminded him.
“Are you sure, Fitz? Are you sure? What good is a life lived as if it made no difference at all to the great life of the world? A sadder thing I cannot imagine. Why should not a mother say to herself, if I raise this child aright, if I love and care for her, she shall live a life that brings joy to those about her, and thus I have changed the world? Why should not the farmer that plants a seed say to his neighbor, this seed I plant today will feed someone, and that is how I change the world today?”
“This is philosophy, Fool. I have never had time to study such things.”
“No, Fitz, this is life. And no one has time not to think of such things. Each creature in the world should consider this thing, every moment of the heart’s beating. Otherwise, what is the point of arising each day?”
The strength of this series is in the characters and the world building. I again loved Fitz and his struggles, although I honestly could’ve done without so much of the Molly drama. I like Molly, but so much of the tension between Fitz and Molly felt a bit forced, and those scenes could’ve been edited down somewhat. Again, I loved the Fool. He is quickly becoming my favorite character in this series, and he brings an unexpected air to his scenes. I also really loved Kettricken, wife to Verity. She was so strong and a true leader. The “there goes a Queen” scene was spectacular.
Another favorite is gruff Burrich, but the debate of whether or not Fitz should trust Burrich was a bit overplayed here. That debate should’ve ended at the end of the last book, and to see that question arise again at the end of this book was a bit of been there, done that. But I suppose that’s why Fitz is so likeable. He’s not perfect, and he doesn’t always see the truth behind people’s actions. He’s just very real, and I like reading about him!
Keystone. Gate. Crossroads. Catalyst. All these you have been, and continue to be. Whenever I come to a crossroads, whenever the scent is uncertain, when I put my nose to the ground, and cast about and bay and snuffle, I find one scent. Yours. You create possibilities. While you exist, the future can be steered. I came here for you, Fitz. You are the thread I tweak. One of them, anyway.
In this entry we finally meet the famous Nighteyes, a wolf that Fitz bonds with, and I loved reading Nighteyes. Fitz and Nighteyes can communicate with each other in their minds, and this was interesting, although there was a bit of oddness here in that Fitz is seeing Molly romantically if you get my drift, so there were some scenes that were, well, odd. Besides mentally communicating with Nighteyes, Fitz can also communicate with the King-in-Waiting Verity, and again, just some scenes involving that mental link were just a bit odd.
In the first book, it was very clean and while violent, was not overly gory. The gore factor is upped a bit here, although nothing too disgusting, but there is some sex. Nothing overly graphic, but it is in the book. It was almost to the point where I wanted to skip the Fitz and Molly scenes; just because it’s not something I’m interested in reading. It wasn’t that graphic, I just don’t think it added anything to the book.
“I am not ‘boy,’ ” I pointed out, surprising myself. “I am FitzChivalry.”
“With an emphasis on the Fitz,” Chade pointed out harshly. “You are the illegitimate get of a man who did not step up to become king. He abdicated. And in that abdication, he set aside from himself the making of judgments. You are not king, Fitz, nor even the son of a true King. We are assassins.”
When reading Robin Hobb, I don’t have a rushed feeling. I think this is why I waited a year before picking up the second book in the trilogy. I wanted to have time to savor the writing and the world and to be able to devote hours at a time to read the book. With that being said, I’m not waiting another year to read book three! I’m going to start it right away, as book two leaves off, not on a cliffhanger per se, but at a turning point where I’m desperate to continue on.
Bottom Line: An excellent fantasy with exceptional world building and characters.
Have you read any Robin Hobb? Are you a fan of Fitz?