Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Setting: The fictional world of the Elderlings
My copy came from: I purchased the Kindle version from Amazon
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Review: Slow in places, but overall an excellent end to the Farseer Trilogy! Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb is the third book in the Farseer Trilogy, and what an ending (or is it a beginning?) does it have!
They wrested that soul from the wolf and sealed it back into the battered body it had fled. They raised me, to walk once more in a man’s shape, to recall what it was to have a king and be bound by an oath. To this day, I do not know if I thank them for that. Perhaps, as the Fool insists, they had no choice. Perhaps there can be no thanks nor any blame, but only recognition of the forces that brought us and bound us to our inevitable fates.
Assassin’s Quest starts out with Fitz coming to terms with the changes in his life, and everyone thinking that he has died. First he heads towards Tradeford Castle, where Regal now rules. He has a long journey there, and then a long journey to his next destination, the mountains. There were many slow places during Fitz’s journey. There was a lot of Fitz being captured by Regal’s guards, but then miraculously Fitz is able to escape. This happened several times too many, and up until Fitz meets the minstrel, Starling, there wasn’t a whole lot to this book other than Fitz wallowing in his misery, which was a bit much to read. But once Starling comes into the picture, and then a mysterious old woman named Kettle appears, the story really starts clicking and coming together.
I really enjoyed the character of Starling. She’s had a tough life, and has a tough attitude about men and life. She just felt incredibly real, and I really liked her. I also liked the mysterious Kettle, who seems to know more than she lets on, and is seeking the White Prophet (whom could that be?).
Just because a man can do a thing does not mean he should do a thing.
There are several scenes where new information was given, and you know that the author has done a spectacular job with world building when one word gives you the shivers and sends your mind working away. There was also one “reveal” about a character that I’m still trying to puzzle out, but I like the ambiguity here, and I like a story that makes the reader think about characters.
It’s hard to talk about this book without massive spoilers, but the bulk of the story takes place in the latter half of the book, and there were many spellbinding scenes towards the end. Since there are dragons on the cover of the book, it isn’t a spoiler to say that the dragon scenes were flat out amazing. I do love a dragon and they did not disappoint here! (Although an annoyance I have with the cover pictured above is that Fitz is shown holding his trademark weapon, his axe. And yet, I don’t recall Fitz ever wielding an axe in this entire book. Perhaps I am wrong?)
“I go to serve my king. To lend whatever aid I may to Kettricken and Verity’s heir-child. And then to go on, to beyond the Mountains, to find and restore my king. So he may drive the Red Ships from the Six Duchies coast and we may know peace again.”
For a moment all was silence save for the slicing wind outside the barn. Then she snorted softly. “Do even half of that, and I shall have my hero song.”
“I have no desire to be a hero. Only to do what I must to be free to live my own life.”
“Poor Fitz. None of us is ever free to do that.”
Robin Hobb has written other books starring Fitz and also the Fool, all set in this world, and while this trilogy was neatly wrapped up, and you could stop reading here, there are still lingering plot questions that I’m excited to read more about! I think my next Robin Hobb read will be the Liveship Traders Trilogy, which was written after the Farseer Trilogy. As sad as I am to set Fitz’s story aside and venture into new characters, I’m looking forward to seeing how Hobb ties these stories all together. I hear that reading her books in order of release date is the way to go. There are many books set in this world so I’ve got a long ways to read, but I’m really looking forward to it.
Bottom Line: Fantastic end to a fantastic trilogy. A bit slow in places, but the ending is very well done.
Have you read the Farseer Trilogy? Who is your favorite character? Have you read any of the other books set in the Realm of the Elderlings?