Robert Beveridge's Reviews > Royal Assassin

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb
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's review
Jan 22, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: finished, cle-pub-lib
Read in November, 2003

Robin Hobb, Royal Assassin (Bantam, 1996)

There should be a law against ending books like this, especially when they're the second part of a trilogy. Imagine what it must have been like for the poor souls who read this on the day of release, and then had to wait another year to find out what happened next.

Royal Assassin continues the story of Fitz, son of an abdicated prince, assassin for the king, user of magic both human and bestial. It also continues the building of the world of the Six Duchies, and adds a new component; while most of the diplomacy (outside the small world of Fitz, that is) in the world of the first novel in this trilogy took place with what amounts to a sledgehammer, the second novel brings in political intrigue on a much more delicate level. The king's two younger sons, Verity and Regal, sit ready to leap at one another's throats, as the four coastal duchies (who support Verity) and the two inland duchies (who support Regal) sit poised on the brink of conflict. It doesn't help matters much that the Mountain kingdom, which sits on the other side of the inland duchies, just married its daughter and queen-to-be off to Verity. Things look pretty bad for the inlanders, right? Well, if they were, we wouldn't have a novel.

Royal Assassin continues on at the same pace as did Assassin's Apprentice; it may be a huge-looking effort (my trade paperback version is 580 pages, and almost as thick as the trade paperback edition of that doorstop known as Harlot's Ghost), but believe me, now that you've gotten yourself into the story, the slowness with which it begins (as did Assassin's Apprentice) is easily forgivable, and you'll be sitting and reading long after you'd promised yourself you'd stop.

I warn you now: stop before you get to page five hundred, and wait until you've secured a copy of Assassin's Quest before reading the end of this novel. The twists and turns will leave you growling in frustration if you have to wait to dive into the last book in the trilogy. It's almost as memorable, and frustrating, an ending as we got from George R. R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (and two years later we're still waiting for the fourth book in THAT series, a form of slow torture that is crueler and more unusual than anything the U. S. Justice System has ever come up with).

And with that, I'll go back to chewing my fingernails and waiting for the library to get the third volume back in (since I can't find it in any of the bookstores near me). ****
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The Singer of All Songs hehs. thanks for pre-warning me to have the third book in hand- i can never endure a lingering cliff-hanger. oh and i do hope the story picks up soon, as you said, it IS quite slow currently- (i just finished the first), and i do hear good reviews of it ;D

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