Assassin’s Quest (Farseer #3)

Assassin's Quest (Farseer Trilogy, #3)Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After finishing Assassin’s Quest, I was left wondering how after two good books this could was given to readers to finish up the Farseer Trilogy.  Following Fitz’s journey to regain his humanity then seeking vengeance against Regal and then journeying to find Verity has all the prospects of an exciting book, however the result was tedious details that were repeated every couple of pages and then were the info dumps that actually had to be rushed(!) before the climax of the book.  And then after all the build up of the Red Ship War that the reader has been experiencing along with Fitz over two books, the end of the war isn’t experienced it’s described afterward to the reader’s frustration.

There were plenty of bright spots throughout the book, even when some of them were tainted with the book’s overall flaws.  The magic of the Wit and Skill were better understood, the mystery of the Fool and his interest in Fitz, Chade’s reemergence into public knowledge, and the unique type of dragons created in this fantasy.  Fitz’s interactions with a host of characters from familiar to new acquaintances was a mixed bag in terms of his character development, especially when it came to Kettle who Fitz should have verbally rounded on earlier than he eventually did.

Assassin’s Quest is essentially a mixed bag.  The book doesn’t reach the level of bad, but it is disappointing as the finale of the Farseer Trilogy.  If you’ve read the first two books then you should read Quest, but don’t expect a fantastic finish.

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Royal Assassin (Farseer #2)

Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy, #2)Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second installment of The Farseer Trilogy sees Fitz truly become a Royal Assassin as the Six Duchies is torn apart from by both external and internal forces.  The majority of the book centers on Fitz’s home, Buckkeep, as he assists his uncle Verity both physically and magically to help protect the common people.  However their efforts are hampered by Fitz’s other uncle Regal who uses the Skill-trained nobles trained by his own half-brother to disrupt communications and slowly kill his father, King Shrewd.  To add to these complications, Fitz must first deal with his health, his love for Molly, and his Wit-bonded wolf Nighteyes.

The various intrigues and duties Fitz must keep juggling is a realistic struggle that is the book’s strongest part, however as the book continues it also burdens the narrative the closer to the end than helps.  Given the style of the book, as an autobiography by an aged Fitz, the reader always has in the back of their mind that any dangerous situation that Fitz is in that he’ll survive because if he dies he couldn’t write the story.  However Hobb uses this knowledge to have a nice twist at the end of the book help Fitz escape his predicament right after the death of his grandfather, Shrewd.

Royal Assassin is a wonderful continuation of Assassin’s Apprentice as Fitz grows not only as a character through struggles both personal and “professional.” At the end of the book, the reader yearns to know what happens next to Fitz and all the characters Hobb peopled the fortress of Buckkeep with as the Raiders continue their campaign while the government heads inland.

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Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer #1)

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first book of Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy, Assassin’s Apprentice, is an easy-to-read fantasy adventure with political intrigue and social insecurity with a nice dose of magic.  Written in the first person as a memoir of an older Fitz looking back at his oldest memories and the beginnings of his career as an assassin.  Although Hobb could have used the older Fitz to create a larger picture of what was going on, she instead kept the perspective exclusively on what was happening in his life as part of the larger picture.

The book covers a decade in young Fitz life and shows the social isolation of a bastard who caused his father’s exile and abdication.  Young Fitz has an abundance of men to look up to throughout the 10 year period, who over the same period he either disappoints or learns to distrust.  Fitz finds himself dealing with two types of magical abilities, one treasured and one frowned up, which both shape his young life and potentially the future.  However at the end of the book, only one stage of Fitz’s journey is at an end and nothing really has been resolved save for the defeat of a court conspiracy.

Assassin’s Apprentice is not a standalone book, it is the first of a trilogy and ends with none of the threads introduced in anyway wrapped up.  But that doesn’t takeaway from the enjoyable experience it is exploring the Six Duchies with young Fitz as he begins to create a place in the world for himself.

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