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Fitz and the Fool #1

Fool's Assassin

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2014)
Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown.

But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic, and assassin. A man who has risked much for his king and lost more…

On a shelf in his den sits a triptych carved in memory stone of a man, a wolf and a fool. Once, these three were inseparable friends: Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool. But one is long dead, and one long-missing.

Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives to seek out Fitz, but mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing but a blood-trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger?

Suddenly Fitz's violent old life erupts into the peace of his new world, and nothing and no one is safe.

688 pages, Hardcover

First published August 12, 2014

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About the author

Robin Hobb

284 books96.9k followers
** I am shocked to find that some people think a 2 star 'I liked it' rating is a bad rating. What? I liked it. I LIKED it! That means I read the whole thing, to the last page, in spite of my life raining comets on me. It's a good book that survives the reading process with me. If a book is so-so, it ends up under the bed somewhere, or maybe under a stinky judo bag in the back of the van. So a 2 star from me means,yes, I liked the book, and I'd loan it to a friend and it went everywhere in my jacket pocket or purse until I finished it. A 3 star means that I've ignored friends to finish it and my sink is full of dirty dishes. A 4 star means I'm probably in trouble with my editor for missing a deadline because I was reading this book. But I want you to know . . . I don't finish books I don't like. There's too many good ones out there waiting to be found.

Robin Hobb is the author of three well-received fantasy trilogies: The Farseer Trilogy (Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin’s Quest), The Liveship Traders Trilogy (Ship of Magic, Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny) and the Tawny Man Trilogy (Fool’s Errand, Golden Fool, and Fool’s Fate) Her current work in progress is entitled Shaman’s Crossing. Robin Hobb lives and works in Tacoma, Washington, and has been a professional writer for over 30 years.

In addition to writing, her interests include gardening, mushrooming, and beachcombing. She and her husband Fred have three grown children and one teenager, and three grand-children.

She also writes as Megan Lindholm, and works under that name have been finalists for the Hugo award, the Nebula Award, and the Endeavor award. She has twice won an Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Readers’ Award.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,346 reviews
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 76 books50.7k followers
July 1, 2022
Reading Robin Hobb makes me feel like I'm back in school ... or it would do if that were where I learned to write fiction. I have on occasion felt rather pleased with my writing, but reading Hobb's work always makes me realise I've got a long way to go.

Hobb's particular mastery is in characters and the relationships between them. No story is going to work in the long term unless the characters hold you, unless you care what happens to them. Hobb doesn't rely on shock or purple prose, she uses the understated power in close observation and an intimate knowledge of her subject.

In Fool's Assassin we're starting a third trilogy with characters that first came to the page 19 years ago. Many readers will have literally grown up with Fitz and the Fool, some others may have grown old with them. Two decades is long enough to see substantial changes in the readers, the characters, and the writer herself.

This is a book that wouldn't be possible without the groundwork laid before. It builds on the history we have with these characters and exploits it. The story that we see unfold has echoes the story that has gone before. Like a piece of music it builds on themes, reflects earlier melodies, improvises around them, and plays an old refrain.

Sections of the story that I can't describe for fear of spoilers hit particularly strong chords with me and were very moving, but whatever individual experience you bring to the book it's going to play on your heartstrings.

This isn't a high adrenaline book, though there's plenty of tension. It's more subtle than that, a more reflective and slower-paced tale. Hobb works her magic though and I felt gripped throughout. A powerful, passionate book that takes #1 spot on my reading list this year.

I've said in the past that I wanted to be careful not to wear out my characters' welcome. It can be an uncomfortable reading experience to fall out of love with a character, to grow bored with them. The lead character in my first trilogy, Jorg Ancrath, burned very bright and that intensity couldn't be sustained over a long series. With Fitz however I find that none of the enchantment has been lost and that it's not habit that keeps me following his story - it's because it's as strong and compelling as ever it was and a privilege to walk the pages with him.

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Profile Image for Petrik.
664 reviews41.2k followers
July 5, 2022
A truly beautiful and poignant start to the last trilogy in The Realm of the Elderlings series.

Seeing that this is book fourteen out of sixteen in Hobb's RotE series and it’s also the seventh book that features Fitz as the main protagonist, with the exception of new characters, Fitz, and The Fool (The Fitz and The Fool is the name of the trilogy, after all), every other character I mentioned have a strong possibility of being considered a spoiler so I’ll refrain from doing so. Instead, I’ll explain what makes this book stands out from the series and what makes this one of the finest books in the series so far.

Fool’s Assassin is the first book in The Fitz and the Fool trilogy, which is also the last subseries within Robin Hobb’s The Realm of the Elderlings massive series. The storyline began approximately fifteen years after the end of Fool’s Fate, Fitz is now old and living in peace but his past is about to catch up to him and put everything he holds dear in danger, like always.

“Time is an unkind teacher, delivering lessons that we learn far too late for them to be useful. Years after I could have benefited from them, the insights come to me.”

I won’t lie that my expectation for this trilogy was VERY low. Fool’s Fate ending disappointed me and The Rainwild Chronicles stands near the top of the worst series I’ve ever read. That’s why I’m really glad that Hobb decided to continue Fitz’s story one last time with this trilogy—at least that’s what I’m assuming here—because this was simply spectacular.

This book in a way is a retrospect book, the majority of the book were spent on Fitz’s current daily life and him contemplating about his past and present. However, with the extensive knowledge that Hobb has created for the past books, Fitz’s contemplation became something truly delightful, poignant, and sweet to read. We have seen his past as a kid, teenager, adult, it’s time to see Fitz deals with older life now. This doesn’t mean that he has turned completely into a different character. Sure he has become wiser (a bit), but he’s still the same sulking and brooding Fitz we know and they’re all for many damn good reasons.

“I was almost annoyed at her for spoiling my perfectly good sulk.”

The story direction obviously means—once again—that the book is almost completely zero of action sequences. I’m seriously glad for this, Hobb in my opinion is a not a good battle/action scenes writer, Hobb is always at her best when she dived deep into her characters’ personalities and thoughts. Reading her prose about Fitz contemplating about the passage of time and how age changed a person physically and mentally in this book turns out to be the best sequences she ever wrote so far; she could go on and on about this and I’ll devour it with joy.

“When we are children, we believe that our elders know all and that even when we cannot understand the world, they can make sense of it. Even after we are grown, in moments of fear or sorrow, we still turn instinctively to the older generation, hoping to finally learn some great hidden lesson about death and pain. Only to learn instead that the only lesson is that life goes on.”

Now, let’s get on to the best part of the book and what truly makes this book superb, the new character, Bee. I can’t emphasize this highly enough, Bee is an incredibly well-written character and I truly love reading about her. Just from this book alone, she has become one of the best characters Hobb ever wrote and also, she has a POV! Yes, that’s right, for the first time since Assassin’s Apprentice, this is the first time in Fitz’s series that Hobb included another POV other than Fitz, and this is a brilliant decision. I’ll be honest here, Fitz is a wonderfully written character but I’m not a huge fan of him, being inside his head for the whole trilogy can be tiring and sometimes annoying. Bee’s POV provided a dynamic and nice change of pace from Fitz’s POV that the series have sorely needed for a long time; it’s also fantastic to see other people’s thoughts on Fitz from another POV rather than only from Fitz describing what other people feel about him and dialogues.

Picture: Fool’s Assassin by Dominik Broniek

Fool’s Assassin is one of the best books within the entire series so far but it shouldn’t come as a surprise by now because from my experiences so far with Hobb, she’s on the top of her game with the beginning of her series. Her second book tends to suffer from the infamous middle book syndrome and the conclusion—with the exception of Liveship Traders—always fell a bit short of becoming amazing. However, looking at how the story went on in this book, this could truly be the first time the second book delivers a superior book in comparison to the first one for me; I still have to see if the rest of the series will make my opinion backfired on me or not. On to Fool’s Quest, only two books left now!

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
213 reviews2,561 followers
June 30, 2022
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Perfect in every way - the best start to any Realm of the Elderlings series.

This is now my 14th Realm of the Elderlings books I have read, and the start to the 5th and final sub-series. By now, I've come to know what to expect out of these introductory books. I'm going to get a slow pace that sets up the story, there isn't going to be an awful lot of action, and I'm going to get brand new characters that I will quickly get to know and love.

That's exactly what this book is, but it does so in a fashion that is spellbinding in it's quality and is making me more hungry than I have ever been before to read the next book in the series. I legitimately can't get over how wonderful the writing was in this book, and it's quickly setting up what may be one of my favorite trilogies of all time.

Story: 5/5

There isn't much I can say here unfortunately, as even the slightest explanation of what this plot is about will ruin some major reveals and plot twists for the reader. But suffice it to say the plot was absolutely marvelous. The pace of this story is admittedly very slow, but this isn't a bad thing when this author has instilled so much trust in the reader by this point that this story is going somewhere wonderful. Even with the slow plot, the stakes are high and my heart was beating out of my chest at several times in the last act of the book.

World Building: 5/5

This book doesn't explore much of the world, and in fact only really takes place in three locations, with one of the locations eating up probably 90% of the book. But the way that Robin Hobb describes things in such a beautiful way allows you to picture everything that is happening with vivid quality, and paired with the knowledge of this world that has already been given to the reader in previous books, there isn't a world that feels more real than this one in all of fantasy.

Fantasy Elements: 5/5

This has been the one area that I have criticized in the past, as I am not in love with the main two magical elements that exist in the "Fitz" books. One of them being the ability for humans to link to an animal and be able to communicate and bond with them, and the other the ability to mentally communicate with other people who have the same ability over extremely long distances. They feel so specific, and aren't the major plot device that is used to convey the story.

This book shattered that, not by expanding the abilities themselves, but introducing a character that interacts with them in a different way. I can't say much more than this without spoiling something major, but it's an extremely satisfying way of exploring this magic system and makes me so excited to read more about in future books.

Characters: 5/5

This is where Robin Hobb shines, and I have said many times in the past that Robin Hobb is the single greatest character writer in all of fantasy. This book is the best of her character writing, and I've never read something that comes even close to the quality as this book in this regard.

The new characters are so well written that you feel like you have been with them for this entire series, not just this one book. And you are able to connect with them on such a close level that it just brings an enormously warm feeling to be able to read about these characters in such an amazing way.

I particularly enjoy the way the several of the main characters have aged through this book, particularly Fitz, who was a young boy when this series began, and is now an older man. Never before have I read a series that so perfectly encapsulates the transition from youth, through all stages of life, and it's going to make me extremely sad when this series is done and I can't go through this journey with these characters anymore. It's genius writing, and I hope dearly that someone else can give me this feeling again.

Writing Style: 5/5

Robin Hobb is a marvelous writer, and her ability to make you sympathize with literally every single character in this book makes this an instant masterpiece. Everything is written in such amazingly vivid detail, and even when things aren't tense (which most things aren't in this book) it is gripping and extremely difficult to put down.

Enjoyment: 5/5

If it wasn't clear by now in this review, this has been one of the most enjoyable books that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. From the first page to the last, I was swept up in this brilliant world, with incredible characters, and absolutely cannot wait to read the next book in this series.

Profile Image for oyshik.
207 reviews656 followers
January 15, 2021
Fool's Assassin (The Fitz and the Fool,#1 Realm of the Elderlings,#14) by Robin Hobb

The story is simply incredible. The talented, supernatural Fitz, protector of the realm in many ways, has finally left behind his past and returned to his past love to live happily- until he gets an invitation to help his old friend. Hobb introduced many new characters. And their development was mind-blowing. However, fast-paced or action lovers may not love this story, as the story was slow-paced. But I doubt anyone will deny Hobb's beautiful writing skill, worldbuilding, and character development.
Time is an unkind teacher, delivering lessons that we learn far too late for them to be useful.

Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,109 reviews44.3k followers
March 14, 2017
Fitzchilvary Farseer, who has now adopted the name Tom Badgerlock, is enjoying his retirement; he has a fairly calm life compared to his assassin days. Most of the book is given over to him looking back on his youth and trying to move on from the past; it's a deeply introspective journey. Robin Hobb somehow managed to make the narrative flow so eloquently that I didn't realise that I'd stormed through the entire book in a day.

How does she do it?

I think it’s all about the wonderful characterisation of Fitz and his relationship with his Fool, his Beloved. The two old friends have been separated for many years, and Fitz longs for the company of him. He is happy in his domestic life, but without the Fool there is a hole in his heart, a whole that could ever be filled with anything but the Fool. Not even a renewed relationship with his childhood sweetheart Molly Redskirkts could fill the gap nor could his strange daughter: Bee. He simply misses his friend and nothing but the Fool could end the emptiness.

"You never miss the water until the well runs dry."

Robin Hobb leaves a trail that suggests that the Fool will return back to his Fitz, and this is what drove the novel forward. The domestic life of Willywoods is a mere front for separation between the two men. Fitz does his best; he keeps himself busy at home and protecting the outcasts his former mentor sends him. Also, his mysterious daughter keeps him very busy with her peculiar, yet familiar, nature. This keeps him busy; this keeps him distracted, but he still waits for his Fool, for his pack.

A strong bonding


The relationship between the two is what makes this series so powerful and emotional, as the series matures so does their friendship. They have come a long way together, and have lost a great deal together. The two are attached to each other in a way that breaks the bonds of friendship and boarders upon the magical. They are connected. Without each other they would be nothing; they have saved each other from death many times; they are more than friends: they are the White Prophet and Catalyst.

"Undeserved forgiveness. Friendship defined."

Robin Hobb’s novels are superb. It is easy to become lost in her wonderful world. She is my favourite fantasy author. For me, she is just the best out there, at the moment, in her genre. No other writer I’ve come across can write friendships this deep and meaningful. This series gets better as it goes along. I am looking forward to seeing how it will all end, but I’d rather it didn’t end because then I could keep reading these books. It would be impossible to write a review for this book and not mention the ending; it has left me in suspense for a whole year. I think it was the best ending she has written so far, I do hope Fitz finds his Bee, and that the Fool gets his revenge.

A heartfelt five stars
Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
858 reviews1,730 followers
January 26, 2019
Long after the events of Tawny Man, when I thought all was wrapped up for good, Ms. Hobb came back and dropped this. And what a beautiful start she gave to this trilogy.

Tom Badgerlock is living in Withywood with his wife, all the kids grew up and left the nest to make their own life. Magic of Skill is keeping him young while his wife is slowly withering away into old age. He is enjoying his life but still can't stop drowning himself in self-pity at times. Those are darker times but he tries his best for the sake of his wife whom he loves dearly. It is Fitz we are talking about so trouble is never far, and here too trouble comes in form of a small package. Too bad Fitz didn't realize the real danger until it was too late.

There are two other characters that grabs a lot of attention in this story. First is Fool, seriously anything related to Fitz is incomplete without him. They are the ultimate soulmates. No matter from which point they start their journey but one way or the other, their paths are bound to converge. For most part Fool we see in Fitz's memories and how he worried himself to know if the Fool is safe. Fool's appearance in the book is brief but once he is there it is all about him and the different paths world could take, all depend on, like every other time, on the actions of Fitz and the Fool (so the name of the trilogy is actually the exploration of the relationship of the two).

About second character, I want to say a lot but every word will be a spoiler to the previous books. So I will try to keep it short about this pivotal character. This character is closely related to Fitz and all the while Fitz was worried about Fool, it was this character that was in real danger. Too bad it was too late when Fitz and Fool realized this.

But for me the real star of the book was Hobb's writing. Even if the characters were frustrating at times, story was moving at a sluggish pace and yet I kept turning pages, gobbling down word after word. It was so beautiful. The pain, the sadness, the struggle, the waiting, it was all so real. Even if I felt that the story was a tad dull at times but I still won't change a thing about it.

It was good to see Fitz and Fool again, only I didn't expect them to be this sad. Only if I could cheer them up.
Profile Image for Becca & The Books.
306 reviews6,305 followers
May 15, 2022
The most compelling Fitz book to date and an epic start to the final trilogy
Profile Image for Kat.
940 reviews
June 24, 2017
Fitz would say, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” Hobb would say that 2 stars aren’t bad. Still, it is with reluctance and some trepidation that I slap 2 stars onto this book. These days, I don’t write many elaborate reviews anymore, but I feel that I owe an explanation here.

Before things gets heated, I will proclaim my undying love for most of Hobb’s works in the paragraph below, because that appears the custom among underwhelmed, and therefore apologetic fans. Feel free to skip the next paragraph instead!

Right. When I heard about this series I was overjoyed. Two decades after I’d discovered Assassin’s Apprentice in a second-hand bookstore and had fallen in love with Fitz and the Fool, I had not expected to meet them again. And so it was with a mixture of anticipation and sweet nostalgia that I waited for Fool’s Assassin. I first met Fitz during my turbulent early teens, and as he took me with him through his life, book after book, trilogy after trilogy, I felt like I grew up with him. I remember missing my train stop because I was too engrossed in his story. Like yesterday, I remember how I - sadly also in a train full of commuters - broke down in tears when Someone asked me if I was "all right?" Of course I wasn’t all right! And I refuse to write this down to my being an emo teen: like with Fitz, a part of me died too that day. But I read on. I marveled at John Howe’s cover art: his perfect portrayal of Fitz, and that cover of Fool’s Errand, that I could stare at like my girlfriends did at Peter Andre’s abs in his Mysterious Girl days. Soon after, I had the opportunity to meet Hobb in a Dutch bookstore and, fortunately for her, I was insecure enough about my English that I did not bring her an ode. I let her quietly sign my copy instead. Then the Liveship Traders trilogy came along, and I reread it 3 times, or maybe 4?

This book I will not reread.

After the initial excitement of being back in the Six Duchies ebbed away, I began noticing peculiarities. Niggles, that at first I could easily shrug off. Like how unlikely it was for Fitz to let a wait by forgetting all about her, then simply ignoring her presence. And how odd that a man who was literally immersed in assassin’s practices and mortal danger since his early childhood, passively wondered about the sudden arrival of behind in his private rooms. Not to mention his lethargic approach when a

That, I could write off to Fitz possibly having lost his “edge”, a fear that he and others expressed throughout the book. Stranger is that he only briefly considered the “suspicious” events, before re-immersing himself in his domestic, talcum-powdered dream with a slightly mellowed, yet still occasionally scathing Molly.

What followed was a day-by-day account of humdrum, interspersed with Fitz’ life-weariness, angst for Molly’s ageing body and mind, and a longing for . In self-indulgent pacing, Hobb explored these topics over the course of the next 500 pages, in-between padding involving clothes, parenting issues, and repetitive narrative questions that were echoed back and forth between the two narrators, all the while barely touching upon traces of a plot other than a sense of foreboding and...

Repetitive clues. Look, I’m someone who usually blazes through books, devouring them as fast as I can. I’m therefore probably the last person to point out the culprit in a murder mystery. Then how is it possible, I ask, that a writer that I hold in such high regard due to her proven brilliance in weaving subtle hints and clues into a story, managed to insult my intelligence so this time? I was so disappointed in Hobb’s Fitz in this book. I found it unacceptable that in spite of an avalanche of clues - almost patronizing in their blatancy - Fitz was this blind to the gigantic elephant in the room: the fact that

Man! I was so incredibly frustrated with Hobb’s choice to turn Fitz - if nothing else an admirable observer - into such a dense, oblivious character for the sake of her foreseeable, stretched-thin plot. I figured it out the moment the BLOODY

Ahem, excuse me.

So to make matters worse, Fitz’ narrative voice felt distant throughout. I understood him being subdued and weary after his traumatic past. I did. What I didn’t understand was why he not only had to be morphed into a shadow of his former self, but also into a stranger. I mentioned how his training and skills - his “edge” - appeared to have vanished. Small examples that stood out: despite having experienced a similar childhood, he repeatedly told his in a silly children’s book. And he showed his belly like a submissive wolf whenever one of the women in his life scolded or threatened him - and Molly, Nettle, Shun, even Bee had in common that to varying degrees they ALL treated Fitz with disdain, contempt, and sarcasm. I couldn’t handle letting my ereader do a search for the number of times he grovelled, muttering how “sorry” he was, but it was a lot.

Where’s Kyle Haven when you need him to smack some respect into that lot?:p

Ah, those gorgeous Liveship Traders books! Were the many narrators in that series all beautifully fleshed-out characters with unique voices, in Fool’s Assassin the two new characters were cookie-cutter idiots (My guess? It's a transparent strategy to make their coming-of-age in the following books more striking). And Fitz and his sounded so alike that at the beginning of a new chapter it wasn’t always clear whose head I was in. Bee’s narrative voice was perfectly uninteresting and added zero oomph to the story, since she mostly described exactly the same daily grind as Fitz. A missed opportunity that’s so unlike Hobb... I despair.

Anyway, only in the last 80 pages of this book did the pacing suddenly pick up, and did Fitz display some character when confronted with . However, soon it became clear that this scene and the following “fuss” at the inn all served as a set-up to make his a more believable action. Yeah well, that didn’t work, did it? Not only was his behavior bizarrely at odds with Fitz’ lethargic character up until that point, I found it a forced, inelegant twist unworthy of Hobb.

I should stop, shouldn’t I? And I I will. But let me point out a few final, minor annoyances first: 1) what on earth was up with that Either you kill off a character or you don’t. You’re not supposed to bring some warped version of That’s only okay in pulpy PNR. Here, it was just lame and icky. And 2) due to the overall lack of plot I was extra annoyed with the little teasing story-lines that turned out loose ends: Everything crashed and burned in favor of the dull daily grind.

BUT... I’m determined to end on an optimistic note! Friends mentioned that Fool’s Quest is everything Fool’s Assassin was not. I’m a quarter in and I agree. So far, I’m engrossed in what feels like an old-fashioned, classic Hobb again. I’m so relieved, I could cry.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
832 reviews3,724 followers
February 15, 2021

"Nothing warned me on that bright day that the darkest time of my life had begun."

03/05 : Reread of the week before finally summoning the courage to read Fool's Quest (please don't break my heart) (please) (pleeeeeeease)

First of all, don't be fooled by the #1 here : you CANNOT read this book if you haven't read the two first trilogies. Trust me, it wouldn't make sense AT ALL, because it's Fitz's journey you're following here, and it started in Assassin's Apprentice.

If you're - even a little - accustomed to this series, you must know that every chapter is introduced by a short excerpt from someone's memoirs - mostly Fitz's. That's why I chose to write this review as an outlet for my memories linked to these amazing books.

Fitz told his story. This is mine. Feel free to stop reading now if you can't stand personal reviews.

When I started college for the first time, I screwed up. The truth is, I thought that I was ready to live in a dorm far from my family but I just... wasn't. Soon I began to ditch class more often than not, completely locked in my reading bubble (which is so ironic because I was in literature. I mean, I could slap myself). Of course my parents were worried and angry and you know what? They were right to be, but my 18s self would have never agreed with this, because basically? She was a fucking moron. But move on. Anyway, I managed to convince them that I needed to live out campus because ... well... less distractions let's say, and moved in a tiny apartment some months later. I still remember the loneliness I felt this first night, on my couch surrounded by blank walls.

I still remember saying myself that I was wrong and didn't make the good choice. I still remember feeling scared, so scared (don't judge - I come from a 4 children family and never ever knew how to deal with silence - I didn't know then, anyway)

This first night I grabbed Assassin's Apprentice and never stopped reading. This first night I was hooked by Robin Hobb's astounding writing which flows so easily that you don't even realize that you just read 600 pages in one sitting. This first night was filled with Fitz's despair, The Fool's wit, Chade's strange schemes and Regal's cruelty.

I won't deny it, I ate these books up in a week, stopping only to eat and (sometimes) sleep. What can I say? Fitz always had the power to draw me in, to make me feel his struggles, his doubts, his hopes. Don't expect a perfect male-lead : It's Fitz - I mean, I didn't hide that he is my favorite character of all times but if you don't know him, you need to learn that Fitz is a whiny, heart-wrenching, lonely, "I do mistakes for a living" kind of character. But oh, boy. How real he is. How incredible and complex the relationships are in these books.

Jump a few years. Picture a student in teaching, who barely has enough time to breathe, let alone read. Yes, it was a multiple year book slump. Yes, it was as horrible as it sounds. Now, imagine how I felt when I discovered that Robin Hobb had, in fact, written a new trilogy about my beloved Fitz I felt dumb to not have learnt it earlier. Of course I was ecstatic. Of course I was full of hope, love, but damn, how worried I was! And the truth is, I was right to be, in my opinion anyway. Because this ending? I cried for hours after this - don't get me wrong, I wasn't angry at Robin Hobb for the path she chose for Fitz, because this bittersweet ending? It was so him, he who manages to screw up relationship faster than I say Wit. But I digress. I remember the day I finished it, in the middle of nowhere, fishing on a lake with my boyfriend (who was fishing. Mostly, I read and make coffee. I'm useful like that). I remember saying that it couldn't be the end. IT COULDN'T BE.

I'm so glad to have been right.

Well, really, I'm always glad when I'm right, I mean, who isn't? Huh?

"Do not agonize about yesterday. Do not borrow tomorrow's trouble. Let my heart hunt. Rest in the now."

If you're still with me, first of all : congrats. I'm not gonna lie, before starting this book I was scared shitless : will this book be the one that would spoil the series for me? Will I love it as much as the others? Will I, will I...

So, did this book so awaited disappointed me? Not by a long shot. From page one I was tearing up, smiling, from page one I felt like coming back home. Do you expect some full action-packed book? Oh, no, no, please don't. If you know Robin Hobb, then you are aware that as a first book in one of her trilogies, you have to wait for things to settle down before expecting real action. Of course I was never bored because COME ON, IT'S FITZ, and as always, his insightful but way to late interpretations of the events of his life enthralled me. Anyway, I thought I should warn you : Robin Hobb's books must be savored. In any case the pace definitely quickens in the second half and kept me captivated and yes, in awe.

However, what you do find are incredibly multi-layered characters (Can I say that I adored Bee and the changes she brings in Fitz? Yes? Also, this character evolution? Fucking perfect), an intricate web of complex relationships, a beautiful and stunning writing, and as always with this series, the need to be accepted for who you are despite your differences - the excruciating journey that can be life. Because what's Fitz story but the expression of perseverance despite all the darkness lurking, all the rejections he faced?

I don't care if the story can be seen as non eventful and boring - watch out, because loss, fear, sadness or joy can overtake you at any instant, suddenly and harshly as Robin Hobb masters it.

I don't care because I'm home, and I'm overjoyed to be. This story is about family, the one we have and the one we create. And we readers are part of it, in a way.

Guys. GUYS! I feel like crying.

► Because these books? I never want to finish them - I dread their end, and again, Robin Hobb proved me that I was right to do.

Edit : Because you KNOW you want to read these books (please do), here's the order to respect : (I know, this is SUCH a commitment!) in italics, the books that aren't mandatory to read, but it's in the same world, and we understand things better^^

- Assassin's Apprentice ★★★★★
- Royal Assassin ★★★★★
- Assassin's Quest ★★★★

- Ship of Magic ★★★
- The Mad Ship ★★★★★
- Ship of Destiny ★★★★★

- Fool's Errand ★★★
- Golden Fool ★★★★
- Fool's Fate ★★★★★


- Fool's Assassin ★★★★★
- Fool's Quest (released in August 2015)

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,910 followers
May 27, 2017

I mean, WOW.

I've read something like nine, now ten of her books at this point and they were all epic doorstoppers split as trilogies, and this one may actually be my favorite of them all.

Why? Well, it wasn't because there was a ton of death and grief in it. Indeed, middle-aged retired Fitz having a well-deserved life with his childhood sweetheart and bringing a new winter baby into their lives was probably the sweetest damn thing the author could have done for him.

She writes it so well that I don't even miss all the epic dragon battles or the battles with the Forged or the battle for the kingdom on the high seas, with Skill and Wit fighting together for once. No. In this case, it's introspection and memories and trying to put all the hard crap behind him and settling into the life of his dreams.

Too bad he's aging slower than his wife and he fears that she's going mad because of a pregnancy that lasted two years.

But what is the real kicker is the fact that she wasn't crazy.

In fact, his kid has both the Wit and the Skill.

This is where it gets really interesting, because we see this kid grow up with our favorite hero, the Catalyst without the White Prophet, and we as readers are making all the connections as Fitz does not, safe in his marital and familial bliss, even after his poor wife has died. On top of that, his daughter Bee is easily one of the most fascinating characters in the book.

No, the thing is... this book is objectively sedate. The currents of being a dad, missing his old friend the Fool, loving his wife... all these things are written so well that it's gripping and fascinating, but as we keep feeling the tension build, knowing that something will inevitably go wrong, we're left hanging on the edge.

Nearly the entire book is a setup. We know this. We're just reveling in a gorgeous span of time, giving Fitz the peace he'd always desired after having become the most deadly assassin and mass-killer of the land.

I just didn't expect to be completely bowled over by this slow boil and the emotional reunion or the rest that immediately follows it.

I cried. I stopped reading and I cried. That's the kind of effect this book had on me, and I generally don't cry with any books. I'm too used to plots and situations.

This one caught me unawares. Hard. So. Ten stars. :)

I'm gonna plow through all three of these doorstoppers in a row. :)

Profile Image for Linette.
113 reviews7 followers
August 11, 2016
Fitz, my old friend, how I've missed you. Sit, here by the fire, have a brandy and let us catch up.

This is how I felt coming back into Fitz's company after a decade apart. Reading this book felt like catching up with an old, dear friend. We've both changed, spent years apart, and yet as soon as I started to read the first paragraph it was as if we'd never parted.

Minor spoilers if you haven't read the earlier Fitz books:

This was a wonderful book. Fitz and Molly are living at Withywoods, quietly and happily, with Patience. Chade is still up to his shady tricks in Buckkeep, along with Kettricken and Nettle. At first we are only concerned with some domestic problems - Fitz no longer allows the politics of the world near his home, family and quiet life. Fitz doesn't venture far from home in this first book, instead the excitement keeps coming to him, whether he wants it or not.

Of course, the problems do not stay domestic or small...they never do for poor Fitz, no matter how he tries to hide and push away the world. We are introduced to some new characters and get to know them and care about them in the way Robin Hobb always makes us do. We meet one special new character, and oh I do like her.

There is even a remnant of a certain wolf flitting amongst the shadows on occasion, watchful and wise. <3

The ending is somewhat of a cliff-hanger, and I'll forgive Ms. Hobb for that only because she is bringing more of my favorite Fitz my way and how could I possibly stay upset with her when she's doing that?
And in the words of a wise fool, 'Time is an unkind teacher, delivering lessons that we learn far too late for them to be useful'. I wish Fitz didn't have to learn so many lessons.

I did figure out one of the major twists in this story fairly early on and was a tad frustrated that Fitz didn't, but just a minor quibble.
4.5 stars

I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,548 reviews2,934 followers
April 22, 2017
Reread on 19.04.17-21.04.17 - Still agree with everything I said below, and on the reread there's a whole load of things that I just adored spotting a bit earlier, now I know what's to come in this book and book #2. I am SO excited to go onto #3 when it's out, so I am now diving into the second on for a reread of that :) 5*s still :)

This is possibly my new favourite ever book and once again it's a book focused on Fitz Farseer and the Realm of the Elderlings and is written by Robin Hobb. Although Hobb intended to finish up Fitz's storyline with Fool's Fate I think that book and the exceptional amount of emotional turmoil it awoke within me (lots of tears and smiles throughout) proves that she knows this character and can return to him at any point seamlessly. I thought that I could accept the way that the Tawny Man series ended as it was so beautiful and tragic all at once, but after reading this I truly believe I would have been missing so much had I not been able to dive into this series later on because it is truly exceptional!

What I love about Hobb is the characterisation she has built over so many long novels with Fitz and many other in the cast. I feel like I know Fitz so well and yet his story is constantly surprising and exciting in this tale. She's able to convince me not only that Fitz and his friends are real, but that I am right there with him and experiencing the pain, happiness and tragedies with him. Fitz's character growth across the entire Realm of the Elderling's series is the best character growth I've ever encountered in a plotline and I just have to say that the story is excellent too. Whenever I though I might have sussed something I knew I was being led along sneaky trails by Hobb and that when the real revelation came I was shocked and awed by how it all turned out.

There are some very highly emotional scenes within this book which deal with tragedy, sadness, disability and other harsh topics, but Hobb's mastery over her world and characters means that these scenes cut you right to the core and make you cry along with the characters who you love so much. I couldn't have said where the story was going to end up at any point and I was so excited and hooked into it that I never wanted to stop reading it.

We also get the introduction of another viewpoint character within this book which I think worked incredibly well. In all the other Fitz books we don't get to have any view but his and the messages and scrolls which appear at the start of the chapters, but seeing the new viewpoint of this book was excellent and added a whole other feeling of awesome to the book (Plus I LOVED the character we followed).

This story is set about 15 years after the ending of Fool's Fate and I have to say it's exceptionally well written because it skips over a large chunk of time in the first half seamlessly. Often when you read a book which covers a long time in a short period of pages it can come off as 'easy and unconvincing' but I think that the way Hobb handled it was flawless and beautifully balanced.

In terms of the story and how much I loved it I can;t begin to put it into words because truly it was exceptional in every way. By this point of the series we are fully absorbed and attached to the characters and seeing what befalls them over the course of this book just made me an emotional wreck by the ending! I was sat in bewilderment and astonishment at how emerged I had been in the story for the last couple of chapters and coming out of my book trance was tough and emotional.

Also, this awoke some emotions within me that not many books do, not only tears but excitement, happiness, tenderness, love, bitterness and anger. So many moments which are basically flawless between the characters, and so much more information about a certain type of character who have been a mystery to the reader since book 1 in the Farseer Trilogy.

In case you cannot already tell, I adored this book and it is definitely tied for my favourite book ever next to Fool's Fate. Hobb is definitely staking her claim in the world of Epic fantasy and dominating all my other favourite authors in terms of skill, quality and passion for the world and characters. I cannot wait to read book #2 in the series and then eagerly await book #3 being released (I might have a breakdown if it's not out in a year or so though) as I have no doubt it will be just as fabulous. I cannot wait to see what will happen next, and I will immediately be starting book #2!

This is a 5* book for sure (although I would give it more if I could) and I would highly recommend starting at the beginning of the Realm of the Elderlings books and working your way through this fantasy that Hobb has convinced me must be real somewhere. Utterly incomparable - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Profile Image for Veronica Belmont.
Author 5 books4,823 followers
June 5, 2015
I agree with other reviewers who don't want to give anything away. So instead, I'll give this book my highest praise; praise that listeners of the Sword & Laser know to be true.

I stayed up on multiple nights, IN BED, reading this book without falling asleep. I actually had to put the book down, consciously, to go to bed.

This may not sound like a big deal ("Oh, the book didn't put her to sleep? Good for her I guess.") but it really truly is. I so love these characters. It was so wonderful to see them again, and meet the new ones along the way. So much heartbreak and love, sadness and reconciliation. It makes we want to read the trilogy of trilogies again, which is kind of intense. I need to remember all the things I've forgotten! Thanks, Robin :)
Profile Image for Neeta.
110 reviews17 followers
April 28, 2019
Upon hearing that Robin Hobb was finally writing the sequel I’d always hoped for, I was excited, but also wary as it’s not uncommon to find awful sequels for well ended book series.
I’ll cut to the chase and tell you, I was definitely not disappointed. Hobb’s prose is as flawless and as wonderful to read as ever, easily sliding us back into Fitz’s life as enjoyably as in previous books.

Fitz is living the life he’d always dreamed of, with Molly by his side in the comfort of his family home at Withywoods. Much of this book details his everyday life as a family man struggling to reconcile his past life as an assassin with his new home life, running an estate. The pace is much slower, and I can understand if some readers might feel frustrated by this, but I found I enjoyed it simply because of the detailed look we get into Fitz’s thoughts. I empathised with Fitz and was able to understand both his pleasures and pains. Idiotic Fitz makes a return too, on multiple occasions (he’s not Fitz without his bad decisions and rashness lol).
His thoughts were engrossing, and at times heart breaking. Some of his struggles were so ordinary and everyday, I think that most people will find that they can relate to something on a personal level. This is something I’ve always loved about Hobb’s writing, she could be writing about Fitz doing the laundry and can still manage to draw you in and make those pages turn as fast as if it were a scene in which Fitz were dying, all because of the realism and depth of her character’s musings.

There is a second POV in this book, which was equally as gorgeously written as Fitz’s, but I won’t go into that ;) I think readers will enjoy this unique character and their POV as much as I did though.

Onto a few negatives. While the slow pace didn’t affect my reading experience, there was a nagging little thought in the back of my mind going ‘when is hell gonna break loose?’, as you expect it will eventually when reading a Robin Hobb book. It took much longer this time round, and the action was surprisingly fairly limited throughout the book also. My second qualm is a spoiler: Lastly, being a fairly impatient person, I’m not too fond of cliffhangers and Fool’s Assassin ends with a big one.

These negatives didn’t have an impact on my enjoyment of the book (obviously from my rating). It was still a page turner and a perfect return to the magic of The Six Duchies and my favourite characters. The writing is Robin Hobb at her best, expressive and thoughtful with detailed and varied characters.
I have some theories about where the story is headed and I’m incredibly excited. Book 2 promises to be explosive and full of magic. I hope the wait isn’t too long.

5 stars
Profile Image for Em.
648 reviews132 followers
September 5, 2016
I've waited a very long time for this book to come out, 10 years in fact. I've read all 9 books several times and I don't think I ever really gave up hope that there would be another book after Fool's Fate. The last year I have barely managed to keep a lid on my excitement. Robin Hobb will always be my favourite author, her books are so beautifully written, they break my heart every time. I always have this nervous excitement that just builds and builds as I get towards the end of the book.

Fool's Assassin started off a bit too slow in my opinion but then this often happens in the first book of a new trilogy and I was sort of prepared for that. I was never the biggest fan of Molly and was a bit disappointed that she featured in such a large section of the book. However, Fitz was as lovable as ever and as usual he was trying his best to juggle a million things at once although, again, as usual everyone was still on his back.

I really begrudged Bee at the beginning, I'm not a fan of children in books, I didn't want Fitz to be tied down with a child, I wanted him to be free to roam around frolicking with the Fool! But, Robin made me fall in love with Bee, she was such a tiny thing, wandering the passages of Withywoods on her own and I read these words after her bereavement and she just broke my heart. I now consider her up there with Fitz, Fool and Nighteyes.

Bee looked like a brush for hoof oil when I saw her, a little stick all swathed in black with the fuzzy pale stubble standing up on her little head.

I was turning very page anxiously waiting for the Fool to appear, although unfortunately he doesn't turn up right until the end and even then I was pretty devastated, well completely devastated if I'm being honest. I just have to trust Robin and hope that the situation improves. If it doesn't I don't know what I will do. It's a shame I have to wait at least a year to find out.

Poor Fitz, things never go well for him and it seems like he is now about to start out on another huge quest, I only hope the Fool is able to tag along and keep him company.

One of my favourite quotes from the book.

She gathered her strength. 'What you called him?'
She spoke in a learned tongue, without accent, only the dropped words betraying her.
I swallowed fear and regret. This was not a time to lie.
'Beloved. I called him Beloved.'

Hopes for the future are simply more of this and more of Wolf Father.

3 reviews
June 25, 2014
I received a copy of Fool's Assassin on Netgalley.com to read it and write an honest review.

I read the book only a week after I had finished reading the Tawny Man Trilogy so the idea and the general flow of Hobb's book was still fresh in my mind. I dived into the ARC with an open heart and open mind expecting to read about Fitz and his new life away from Buckkeep, but also about his new adventures and other exciting things.

I expected too much. 80% of the book covers their day-to-day life and Fitz coping with various stupid and boring events, for example dances, celebrations, which clothes to wear (there's entirely too much talk about clothes in the book. Seriously), what to buy and what to do. The book introduces another narrator which could be done better, especially if the new narrator told the reader ANYTHING interesting or important for a Fitz novel.

The characters in the new novel are very superficial and empty. We get to know FitzVigilant and Shun but only as far as to know that they are both huge douchebags, and the only character development Shun receives is going from 'kinda annoying and self-absorbed' to 'omg-i'm-a-goddamn-queen-diva'. I swear I was more impressed by the random cat who wanted a basket and a blanket than by the characters that have been very well constructed in all previous trilogies. Even old characters like Chade, Dutiful, Elliania and Kettricken are somehow empty so that the reader does not get the feeling of them being really *there*.

The plot is non-existent. Really, what plot? There is no plot! There's only about 500 pages of boring recounts of day-to-day lives of boring characters (the new narrator is very out of place), and the last three chapters that cover about 80 pages are the only interesting part of the book. If I had wanted to read boring books I'd stick with Bleak House.

I was really really very disappointed with the novel. Not so much because the story did not go as I wished or imagined, but because it was BORING. No plot. Bad character development. Nothing interesting to read up to the last three chapters. And even then it ended on a cliffhanger when all previous trilogies did not. I'm still hoping to hear that all of this was a bad joke played on us by Hobb and that the actual novel will be different and actually worth of bearing the name of such an acclaimed and competent writer as Robin Hobb has continually proven to be.

Profile Image for Najeefa Nasreen.
57 reviews59 followers
April 13, 2022
5/5 stars

I started my journey into Robin Hobb's world. I had researched whether I can start on with Fitz and the Fool before having read The Farseer Trilogy or the other installments prior to Fool's Assassin. I found out that it would be better to start with The Farseer Trilogy. I didn't listen to those suggestions and with a leap of faith, I dived into Fool's Assassin as I could not wait any longer. I've been hearing about the praises of her books for a long long time. It was high time for me to pick up one of her books and start on to see for myself what impact Hobb leaves on me as the expectations were already high. I admit reading the prior installments would have given me a different and better experience and feel altogether yet, Hobb managed to keep me informed with most of the information needed. And, with no surprise, she lived up to the hype. Yes, only after one book, with all the confidence, I can see her becoming one of my favorite authors of all time.

In the image : Bee Farseer (Picture credit: Kristina Ealey)

In the image : Bee

"A secret is only yours so long as you don't share it. Tell it to one person, and it's a secret no more."

The best thing about reading epic fantasy is that the story doesn't stop with just one book. It continues, and with every book, we get more and more attached to the characters and their journey throughout the books getting ourselves deeply immersed into the story and the world that the author builds for us. Along the way, we cry when they are hurt, we are overjoyed when they are happy, and we get agitated when they are angry. Hobb pleasantly grabs the attention of the reader and you don't even realize when she got you fully immersed in the depth of the plot.

Hobb is a master in character building. I didn't even know when I got emotionally connected to Fitz, Molly, Bee, and some other side characters. The connection that she has created between Fitz and me, I'm pretty confident will go a long way in her other installments to this series. There were so many moments that strung chords with me and were very moving to say.

"There is, in all honesty, no way to kill someone mercifully."

It is very difficult to get bored with the book. I didn't want the book to finish, yet I wanted to know more and more about the world. I want to read more and more of her work, and I can't wait for my copy of Fool's Quest to arrive so that I can again escape to her world of Elderlings and never come back. Fitz was such a passionate and compelling character that it was a privilege to walk along with the pages with him. The story is about family. And, I think we all are a part of this family now.

Review Posted: 13 Mar 2022.

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Profile Image for Emma.
2,394 reviews824 followers
July 28, 2021
Reread July 2021
I’ve upgraded to 5 stars now! Now I’ve read the whole series, this book makes complete sense- the first time I read it I had some doubts and wasn’t entirely sure what was going on- but it’s utterly brilliant.
July 2016
I am A big fan of Robin Hobb and FitzChivalry. Her books are so character driven that I feel I know Fitz inside out and so was slightly surprised to realise this is only the seventh book he has been in. This is the first book where I think I have lost a little faith in him, not that it's ever been a surprise that he is a flawed character, but he has always been my hero.

This was slow and gorgeous as only Robin Hobb can be and yet with all those pages, the ending still seemed rushed.

I remember not being completely taken with the Farseer trilogy the first time I read it and yet with hindsight, they were brilliant: they improve in the context of the overall story arc of Fitz's life. So I think I need to read the rest of this trilogy to understand everything in this first volume of the Fitz and the Fool.

I love the world that Robin Hobb has created and I loved revisiting it. Not sure whether I love this..yet..
Profile Image for Erin.
30 reviews9 followers
March 21, 2015
As someone who enjoys character-oriented fiction, Robin Hobb has always been a particular favorite. She manages to write with a depth and honesty that not many authors manage, and her character development is second to none.

The Farseer books have tracked Fitz's development from youth to adult, and in this trilogy, deeper into middle-age. I really, really enjoyed Fitz's voice in this book. It's rare to find fantasy from an "adult" perspective and Fool's Assassin is a treat, if only for this fact. While we see an older Fitz is the Tawny Man trilogy, he's marked by years of exile; here, he's coming off a decade of normality and happiness, seeming much steadier for it. Make no mistake - this is still the Fitz we know and love - but there's a maturity here that wasn't present in earlier books.

Robin Hobb is also fantastic at conveying emotion, and with it, bludgeoning your heart. I find her books to be emotionally devastating with a sort of understated deftness: Hobb's characters don't often die, but they suffer, and Fool's Assassin is no exception to this rule.

This isn't an action-oriented book and is, in my opinion, the slowest book Hobb has written: things don't really kick off until the last 100 pages or so and it ends on a pretty big cliffhanger. This isn't really the first book in a trilogy, but rather, the first third of a story; much of what's told here is exposition and focuses more on characters, their relationships, and setting the stage for what's to come. This doesn't really impair by enjoyment of the story, but it is, in part, the reason I gave the book 4 stars rather than 5.

My other qualm

There's a new point-of-view character introduced about halfway through. I won't spoil who, as that's a plot point in itself, but I was pleasantly surprised. While at first I was turned off by the idea of a Fitz book being narrated by anyone other than Fitz, I was won over almost immediately. This narrator is very different from Fitz and serves as an excellent counterpoint - I underestimated how interesting it is to read from an alternative perspective, and I expect exciting things to happen with this character come Book 2.

In terms of plot, I'm a huge fan of where this series seems to be heading. I initially had no idea what to expect from Fool's Assassin; while Fool's Fate emotionally devastated me, I thought the ending was a bittersweet yet perfectly fitting end to Fitz's story.

If you've come this far in Fitz's story, I don't doubt you'll enjoy Fool's Assassin. Those more enthralled with the intrigue and conflict in previous series' may come out a little disappointed, though I think there's still enough here to keep you hooked.


The Fool's Assassin.

The Fool's Assassin.

Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews596 followers
April 18, 2021
A secret is only yours so long as you don’t share it. Tell it to one person, and it’s a secret no more.

Fool's Assassin is the first book in The Fitz and The Fool's Trilogy, The 5th series in The Realm of the Elderling world and the 14th book. Wow, I can't believe I've reached book fourteen. After reading fourteen books in one world I say this with full confident that this book is the best in the series, I was surprised that it is for me, lots of people said this is the best but I was unsure till I read it. Some books loses quality as there go higher, I'm glad that is not the case with book.

This book features lots of themes that I love, great portrayal of father-daughter relationship, friendship and family, the romance even though it was only for a short part of the story, it was well executed. The plot took place over a decade after Tawny Man trilogy.

Self-pity only gets you more of the same.

The magic system is getting more depth, The Skill magic is well explained here more than it was in the previous books. The skill is a magic of the mind, they can communicate long distances, persuade people to do things and heal people.

The world building is one of the things I love about Hobb's work, it was explicit and greatly depicted, its awe inspiring. The writing is amazing and easy to comprehend and unlike the other Fitz's book this is written in dual POV of Fitz and Bee a new character.

My favourite character is Bee, a nine years old girl. She is such an unusual child, she is smart, brave and kind, the way she behaves towards her father is one of my favourite things in this book. Her character is so well written, despite her age I love her POV.

Fitz's finally stood up for himself, he is now living as Tom with Molly and her children, he has indeed come a long way. I hate that he still takes orders from Chade though occasionally they might seem.

Riddle was a reoccurring character, I love his friendship with Fitz so much. Nettle is still not used to Fitz as her father though she loves him.

I don't care much for Molly, but she made an impact in this book. Dutiful, Kettricken and Elianna were barely in this.

I don't like Shun, she is such a spoilt brat. FitzVigilant is an idiot. I love Perseverance, hope I get more of him in the next book.

The Fool didn't make an appearance till like 95% into the book, I hope that changes in the next book.
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
720 reviews1,172 followers
May 3, 2022
Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.nikihawkes.com

Before I get into talking specifics about The Fool’s Assassin, you should know that Fool’s Fate (the last Hobb book that included these characters) was the story that single-handedly made me want to start a book blog. It was profound and wonderful – a perfect completion to the story arc that had been developing since the Assassin’s Apprentice. I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed the pieces out of that book. Most importantly, it was so mesmerizing that even though I read it a couple of years ago I still remember every detail – it’s likely to stick with me for the rest of my life. I don’t usually have such a profound connection to a story and its characters, but those rare occasions when I do is proof that books are magical. So, having finished Fool’s Fate feeling completely satisfied with the ending, I was thrilled when I found out Hobb decided to continue the story.

There’s more?!!!! :D

Although several years had passed for the characters, picking up The Fool’s Assassin brought me back home. It’s as if nothing had changed – the people were rounded and interesting (because they are too real to be considered mere “characters”), the world was rich and familiar (especially because I’ve since explored more of it in the Liveship Trilogy and the Rain Wild Chronicles), and the plot was totally immersive. Hobb conveys such a great depth of character that I was immediately absorbed back into Fitz’s world. All of the things he’s gone through on his journey came tumbling back over me in waves of joy and sorrow, but I also found myself hopeful for his future as he faced several new challenges.

Without giving much away, I feel it’s prudent to point out that Hobb spent a good portion of the book introducing some amazing new characters (don’t worry, there were plenty of meaningful passages with beloved characters too). Because of this, however, the overall arc of the story really didn’t come into play until near the end of the book. A couple of my fellow reviewers didn’t love how long the story took to get going, but seemed to agree that it was still oddly absorbing. While I can definitely see where they are coming from, I love being in Fitz’s world so much that every moment felt golden and purposeful. It gave me new insight into Fitz himself (which I loved seeing) and also made me fall in love with some of the new characters. I think the bond they formed with both Fitz and the reader will be very important going forward. I loved every bit of this book and was incredibly sad when ended. It was heart-wrenching and beautiful, and the next one can’t come too soon.

I consider The Fool’s Assassin a must-read for any fan of the series, but would strongly recommend that anyone new to Hobb’s work start with Assassin’s Apprentice, where all the magic began! It takes a while to fully appreciate the beauty of the story, but it is well worth the wait!
Profile Image for Lema.
191 reviews81 followers
April 4, 2018
[My critical brain says 4.5 stars, my heart says SCREW THIS GIVE IT FIVE]

“Time is an unkind teacher, delivering lessons that we learn far too late for them to be useful. Years after I could have benefited from them, the insights come to me.”

Say hello to the slowest book on earth that managed to captivate me from page one, because Robin Hobb continues to be an evil genius. I gotta say, after my disappointment with Fool's Fate (if you are interested in me ranting click here) I was very apprehensive about continuing on with the series, would it continue to disappoint? or should I just stay along for the ride and accept whatever will be served to us?
I was already too far gone, The Realm of the Elderlings -with all the frustrations it caused me- will forever be in my very top fantasy series of all time.. I became so invested in Fitz and the Fool that they became real people to me.


A piece of warning though, and not just about this containing ZERO action, literally, but I feel I need to warn you all fans who reached this book, that the Fool doesn't appear until much MUCH later in the book. Aside from those two points, this is one of my top books in the series with Royal Assassin and Golden Fool being my absolute favorites.

“I was almost annoyed at her for spoiling my perfectly good sulk.” Classic Fitz throwing shade at himself :'D
Glorious Fitz in all of his glory *swoon*

This is the book where I loved Fitz best, where his already multi-layered character acquired more complexity and depth, we see him here in a new light literally, as there are chapters that aren't in his POV and for the first time we get to see him as seen by an other. I won't say who's the other POV is to try to minimize spoilers.
My other favorite new character is Bee, I love that little nugget, she's almost as intriguing as the Fool and she's adorable and I just can't ahhhh *clutches heart*

“I will always take your part, Bee. Right or wrong. That is why you must always take care to be right, lest you make your father a fool.”

So long story short, I loved it to pieces, it was full of tiny emotional scenes here and there that would just suprise me out of the blue with punches to the gut in way only Robin Hobb has mastered. I'm currently deep into Fool's Quest, because Holy Shit THAT ENDING GUYS! it made up for the entirety of the slow-paced plot! I just had to run and start the second book IMMEDIATELY!
Profile Image for Franco  Santos.
485 reviews1,333 followers
June 18, 2016
When the bee to the earth does fall, the butterfly comes back to change all.
Reseña sin spoilers (como todas).

Agggh, Hobb, te detesto. Me tuviste 550 páginas a merced de una historia que consistía esencialmente en decoraciones para el hogar y compras, y se te ocurrió la genial idea de darme un mazazo en la cabeza en los últimos cuatro capítulos. Eso fue duro, malvado, casi imperdonable. Personajes tan tridimensionales que vivían conmigo en mi rutina acabaron siendo sombras desdibujadas de lo que alguna vez fueron. Pero claro, cuando ya creía que todo estaba perdido, que nada volvería a ser como antes, en escasos párrafos mis viejos amigos de los Seis Ducados volvieron a respirar como siempre lo habían hecho, la acción se hizo presente sin previo aviso y yo, solo un pobre lector que, resignando, venía sufriendo de aburrimiento tres cuartos del libro, no pude reconocer lo que sucedía. Ese cambio brusco me agarró desprevenido y terminé en estado de shock, sin saber qué hacer, sin saber qué pensar, sin poder reaccionar. Yací en una parálisis mental, incapaz de darme cuenta de que lo que tanto extrañaba había regresado.

There are endings. There are beginnings. Sometimes they coincide, with the ending of one thing marking the beginning of another. But sometimes there is simply a long space after an ending, a time when it seems everything has ended and nothing else can ever begin.
Como ya dije, gran parte de Fool's Assassin me resultó aburrida. Literalmente no pasaba casi nada, excepto refacciones hogareñas e introducciones de personajes sin gracia. Sin embargo, una vez leído el final, me dije que, a pesar de los efectos soporíferos que este tomo tuvo en mí, tanta espera valió la pena. En serio. El cierre de este libro es de lo mejor que ha escrito Hobb, quizá empatado con el de Fool's Fate. Asimismo, me deja tranquilo saber que los errores y el lento ritmo que padecí no se repiten en Fool's Quest, así que muero de ganas por saber qué le va a deparar este nuevo camino a los protagonistas de esta saga. El más oscuro de sus vidas.
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,937 reviews775 followers
January 9, 2016
I have had two life-altering experience when it comes to fantasy, first reading David Eddings The Belgariad as a teenager and then reading Robin Hobb The Farseer trilogy in my early twenties. They made me love fantasy. So it was with a great pleasure to finally be able to read the first book in The Fitz and The Fool Trilogy.

In this book Fitz is living a happy life with Molly, raising her sons, living a peaceful life in the country. But when a messenger disappears, everything changes, although he doesn’t know it yet, it will take some time before he realizes that. And that’s how much of the plot I’m going to reveal. The rest is up to you to find out!

Robin Hobb has written a fabulous book, a worthy follow-up The Tawny Man trilogy and I loved every page, every chapter was a truly joyous experience, it’s a book you read until your eyes can’t take in anything more and you have to sleep so you can continue reading the next day. It’s well written and intriguing to read and it’s never boring, even though there isn’t much action in the book. I was pulled into the story and the only thing that I didn’t like was reading the last chapter and knowing that it will be a while before the next book.
Profile Image for Mizuki.
2,928 reviews1,168 followers
May 13, 2018
Pre-review@2107:I have mixed feeling about this new series, I want to revisit Robin Hobb's fantasy world but I'm a bit tired of Fitz and the Fool. *sighs* Why can't we readers be left with the knowledge that Fitz is happy with his new wife and her family and the Fool gets to retire from his duty and lives a well-earned peaceful life or something like this?

Thoughts after reading: alright, I had complained about "I don't want to read one more Fitz's book and why can't Ms. Hobb just let him live in peace!?" before, but as soon as I saw the Chinese translation of this book, I gripped it. And OMG, once I started reading the novel, I'm glad to return to Ms. Hobb's fantasy world and reunite with those familiar characters and learn more about what had become of them.

PS: I felt so bad when horrible things happened to our beloved characters!
Profile Image for Evie.
36 reviews
December 24, 2022
Somehow Robin Hobb was able to make Fool's Assassin a natural continuation that was supposed to be wrapped up (with the conclusion of the Tawny Man trilogy) while seamlessly weaving story and characters into and throughout the already established lore and history of the Realm of the Elderlings. There is no sense of force in continuing Fitz's story from the end of Fool's Fate, and Robin Hobb is able to remind yet still awe you with the depth and care of her characters, making you despise some and fall in love utterly and completely with others, both old and new.
Profile Image for Alex W.
80 reviews4 followers
March 11, 2023
Well I am definitely going to have to collect all of my thoughts on this one, but I can pretty much say that out of all of Hobb’s amazing slice-of-life writing I’ve read and loved so far, this book is probably my favorite. If not, right up there.

Emotional, exciting, shocking, heartbreaking, heartwarming, and overall, magnificent.
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