Tag Archives: fitz

assassin’s quest

Assassin’s Quest (Farseer Trilogy #3) by Robin Hobb

From Goodreads:

King Shrewd is dead at the hands of his son Regal. As is Fitz—or so his enemies and friends believe. But with the help of his allies and his beast magic, he emerges from the grave, deeply scarred in body and soul. The kingdom also teeters toward ruin: Regal has plundered and abandoned the capital, while the rightful heir, Prince Verity, is lost to his mad quest—perhaps to death. Only Verity’s return—or the heir his princess carries—can save the Six Duchies.
 
But Fitz will not wait. Driven by loss and bitter memories, he undertakes a quest: to kill Regal. The journey casts him into deep waters, as he discovers wild currents of magic within him—currents that will either drown him or make him something more than he was.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a complex book to review. It’s very powerfully written but in many ways it’s a difficult read. Some elements of it could do with improvement (Fitz journey to Tradeford being a prime example) and our “hero” Fitz really doesn’t have the happy ending he deserves.

I found the journey through the mountains and the scenes in the quarry (especially the creation of the dragon) difficult to get through. They were slow and full of far too much introspection to make them enjoyable. Fitz suffered through this time and it comes through in the writing which makes it hard to experience.

A few old characters are pretty much dropped from the story. While Burrich is there at the beginning and we see a huge development in the relationship between him and Fitz, he is only a minor player in the second and third sections of the book. Chade pops up now and again but is barely more than a minor character while Molly is pretty much relegated to the background and Patience only gets passing mentions.

A few new characters are introduced. Some of the minor ones are poorly structured constructs for Fitz’s story and quite disappointing. The minstrels on the way to Tradeford and the young girl from the travelling actors on the way to Blue Lake being the worst of all.

Some others are much more interesting, Kettle being the best of them. I’ve seen other reviewers criticise how the author deals with her and her vague warnings to Fitz but it’s obvious to the reader who she is. Her gradual and then reluctant full reveal is very well handled and left me wanting to read more about her back story.

Starling is the other interesting character. She is a deeply wounded person and has become desperate to secure a future for herself by writing the song that will get her a home to grow old in. She flip flops through the story between betrayal and use of Fitz for her own ends to being his friend and supporter. She’s not a nice person overall but, like Fitz, I couldn’t help but warm to her. The author returns to Fitz in future stories and I hope to see more of Starling.

The Fool is back! As well as bringing in new characters the author takes some old, existing characters and makes them the star. Although Fitz is definitely the focus of the trilogy he couldn’t be Fitz without the Fool. The development of their relationship and the growth of the Fool’s character is wonderfully well written and is one of the main strengths of this book. There are so many facets to the character of the Fool that make him so likeable but I won’t go into any of them here as they would all be spoilers.

Finally, the only true friend that Fitz has is Nighteyes. He is his constant and his saviour. One of the discussions Fitz has is concerns about how Nighteyes is developing human characteristics but Nighteyes brushes it off and comments that it is the same for Fitz who has become wolf like in many ways. The power of the bond between them is never ending and becomes stronger all through the book. Although the story starts with how Fitz owes his physical life to Nighteyes it’s clear that he also owes his mental health to him. Nighteyes is the most fascinating and likeable character through all 3 books and even more so in this final installment.

I would like to see the author develop some of the smaller stories into a compilation of short stories or novellas. Kettle and Starling’s back stories and Nighteyes time with the wolf pack would be my Top 3 requests so far, closely followed by the briefly mentioned time with Rolf learning about the Old Blood.

Fitz’s story is definitely not finished, there are two more trilogies to come, but this story is finished. So many books try and drag on their stories and end up killing them but this is a satisfying end with the scope of more to come satisfying everyone. I’m very glad I returned to this trilogy after having read it many years ago.

royal assassin

Royal Assassin (The Farseer Trilogy #2) by Robin Hobb

From Goodreads:

Fitz has survived his first hazardous mission as king’s assassin, but is left little more than a cripple. Battered and bitter, he vows to abandon his oath to King Shrewd, remaining in the distant mountains. But love and events of terrible urgency draw him back to the court at Buckkeep, and into the deadly intrigues of the royal family.

Renewing their vicious attacks on the coast, the Red-Ship Raiders leave burned-out villages and demented victims in their wake. The kingdom is also under assault from within, as treachery threatens the throne of the ailing king. In this time of great danger, the fate of the kingdom may rest in Fitz’s hands—and his role in its salvation may require the ultimate sacrifice.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A lot of books suffer when they are the second installment in a trilogy. This book is an obvious setup for the third and final edition but it doesn’t fall into the common trap and is a very good read in its own right.

The crucial element of Fitz’s nature and magic, his Wit abilities, finally come to the fore and in a fantastically well described relationship with Nighteyes, a relationship that eventually both damns and saves him.

Two other important influences on Fitz are his relationships with Burrich and Chade. The former suffered tremendously in Book 1 but they manage to restore that and eventually it develops into a true friendship rather than just one of master and apprentice.

A similar development takes place with Fitz and Chade but on a different level as Chade is absent for a lot of the story forcing Fitz to make decisions on his own when he really needed advice from his old mentor. When he does return it is to find a much changed and more mature Fitz, one he is forced to accept as a colleague as much as an apprentice.

The two problems I have with this book are Fitz’s relationship with Molly. It’s a constant through most of the story but adds nothing. Having read the trilogy before I know where it’s heading and why the author treated their relationship this way but frankly it’s an annoyance in an otherwise great storyline.

The second issue is Royal and his usurpation of Buckkeep and eventually the throne. I find it very difficult to believe that Shrewd and Verity would have allowed it to happen so easily despite their individual distractions. I also find it difficult to believe that Chade was so powerless and that the Coastal Duchies permitted him to treat them in such a way. However, the political machinations were a real pleasure to read, how he manipulated the court and all around him for his own ends and how he managed to gain the power he craved. Seeing him brought low (hopefully!) in the final installment will almost be as enjoyable for me as it will be for Fitz!

assassin’s apprentice

Assassin’s Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb

From Goodreads:

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This is probably the 3rd time I’ve read this book in the last 10-15 years. It was the first ever book by Robin Hobb that I read and that hooked me on her as an author. She writes in a fabulously fluid and descriptive way that makes her characters jump into life and carries you along with the story. It’s a style of writing that makes you want to just keep going and is responsible for a couple of later than planned nights while reading this book!

The story itself is nothing new in that it’s a young boy, abandoned and alone taken into the royal family, trained to help them and growing into a pivotal role. It’s very character rich with many people to keep track of but Hobb’s style makes it so much easier as you get to know the characters without being bogged down with unnecessary details.

Apart from Hobb’s style of writing there are some stand out elements to her story. She isn’t afraid to hurt her characters and definitely doesn’t portray them in perfect light. The relationship between Fitz and Burrich is so well told as is Fitz and Chade. Fitz goes through an awful lot for what is essentially a young boy.

The Farseer Trilogy is followed by The Liveship Traders which is an even better story but the Farseer story is essential to setting your base for this fantastic world Hobb creates.