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.
** 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.
This review won’t be pretty, I’m severely disappointed with this installment.
I don’t know if this is considered an unpopular opinion or not but if it is, I’m warning anyone who’s a fan of this book to just skip reading this review. Everything here is my opinion and if you loved this book, I’m truly happy for you. Believe me, it pained me to give this book a 2 stars rating—and this is me being generous already—but I really can’t give this book a higher rating than that.
Snail’s Quest, Repetition Quest, Tea’s Quest, Patience’s Quest, or just Ass Quest, for all I know Assassin’s Quest shouldn’t be the title for this book. Royal Assassin ended on a cliffhanger that immediately pushed me into starting this book and at first, I was amazed and delighted by the strong start of the book. The way Hobb dealt with the aftermath of the final events in Royal Assassin was fantastic and I thought it would stay that way throughout this tome. Sadly, it didn’t.
Before I get into the things that didn’t work, I’m dedicating this single paragraph towards my favorite parts of the book—which shouldn’t come as a surprise—Nighteyes, The Fool, and Hobb’s prose. Strong beginning aside, Prose-wise this is Hobb’s best so far. Her writings kept on getting better with each installment and there’s no doubt her prose was one of the main reason I was able to finish this book. I also thoroughly love reading Fitz and The Fool development here and I’m starting to see why a lot of readers praised their friendship highly. However, when it comes to the best part of the book and the trilogy itself, Nighteyes once again became my favorite and saving grace. I don’t think I can’t emphasize this highly enough, Fitz is a much better character when Nighteyes is around him. Unfortunately, these are the only good parts of the book for me.
There are so many things that didn’t work out for me that if I was to list and explained them all, it would be spoilers and it would make this review extremely long. Instead, I’ll just describe the major parts that didn’t work out for me. Let me start with the female characters.
One of the greatest female characters of the trilogy, Patience, didn’t make an appearance (just like my patience reading this book), but rather than her, we get four completely new female characters. Usually, this shouldn’t be a problem especially when we already know that this is not the last trilogy in the Realm of the Elderlings series. But, three of them were completely useless and infuriating for the storyline, this includes Starling. Yes, in my opinion, she doesn’t belong in the story other than being an anchor for Fitz and the gang.
The main issue I had with these new characters are they appeared only to show that they’re freaking aroused by Fitz and wanted to have sex with him right from their first encounter. One character even said she wanted to sleep with Fitz only because Fitz’s face “flushed”, The Sims has more believable sex story than this.
It’s infuriating that on one hand, Hobb writes fantastic, complex, and realistic female characters like Patience and Kettricken, on the other hand, she put in these thot (that hoe over there) which served almost no purpose rather than to be turned on by Fitz’s. Apparently being depressed aroused ladies in the Six Duchies.
This isn’t even the main problem, almost every damn side characters are actually an asshole here. Nighteyes and The Fool were literally the only true friends for Fitz, the rest have some kind of hidden agendas for him. Some said Fitz is whiny and moody, I'll say that he deserved to be those. Try being in his shoes and see if you’ll accept the situation calmly or not. I’m not saying Fitz isn’t stupid, he is, some of his actions don’t even make any sense. However, even if Fitz sacrificed his balls or any parts of his body (which in a way, he already did plenty of times) for these people he always tried to help, it simply won’t satisfy them. I’m talking about everyone, this includes Verity and every goddamn prick who doesn’t know the meaning of the word gratitude.
One of MANY examples: Fitz did something wrong because he didn’t know about the situation-> (insert character name) that knows about the situation was angered because of his action, BUT he/she won’t tell Fitz the reason why.
Repeat this til braindead.
The thing is, the more knowledgeable character said if he/she let him know, the results will be catastrophic but then when Fitz finally found out, NOTHING happened. This illogical actions happened tons of times, especially when it has something to do with the magic system Skills. I have to also say, Skills have become one of the worst magic systems I've ever read, it's way too vague, abstract and it relies heavily on the concept "why not?". For example, one character would say “I can’t help you, I ran out of power to Skill.” 5 pages later, Skill the shit out of everything, or Fitz said “I must not Skill, it’s dangerous” 1 page later, Skill the shit out of everything.
Repeat this til braindead again.
I could go on and on but let me get to the main problem, pacing issue. Ever since Assassin's Apprentice, there’s already a pacing issue that lingers, Royal Assassin contained the same issue, but in here? it was tenfold worse. This is especially true for page 220-400, which was one of the most boring experience I’ve ever had in my lifetime of reading. My temptation to DNF at this period of time was insane. The main problem was once again, repetition overload, and mostly because Fitz was alone with a bunch of new characters here. Fitz is a finely written character, there’s no doubt about that whether you love or hate him. But this trilogy main appeal is not Fitz on his own but his relationship with all the other side characters. Their interactions, written by Hobb, made reading through a bunch of nothingness great. Leaving Fitz alone just bored the crap out of me and made the already draggy pacing even worse. Also, instead of focusing on the storyline, we instead get tons of herb and tea gathering that made me think this is a historical fantasy of British ancestors. I doubt the British drank tea that much, all the characters were practically a tea master or addict.
The conclusion was also full of deus ex machina that it made the 500 pages of traveling not satisfying. After struggling so hard to reach the conclusion, the conclusion ended within two short chapters and one of them being completely off-screen. This is at most a 400 pages book, this book contained 330k words and most of them are either repetition or a summary of the last books. It’s like the editors gave up on editing because of boredom and said “You know what? Let the readers know how painfool editing are.”
Picture: Assassin’s Quest by Marc Simonetti
I’m sorry Robin Hobb and I’m sorry for the fans for writing this review. It’s very rare a book could disappoint and infuriate me this crazy. Assassin’s Quest was a major disappointment to the trilogy; 2 stars rating is, in fact, the lowest rating I ever gave to the last book of a trilogy. I’m just glad this is over. Some of Hobb fans warned me that this is one of her weakest books, I sincerely hope it’s truly the weakest because I don’t think I can bare through another book like this. The good thing is, the same fans also told me that everything starting from here are mostly smooth sailing. I will definitely continue to The Liveship Traders but contrary to my original plan, I’m going to take a few books break first before diving back into this world. But hey, at least the books are pretty I guess.
Much sadness and mishap are packed into this trilogy. Didn't expect the trilogy to be as sad as it was. It seems to like this one a bit less than the other two books in this trilogy. It still has action, adventure, drama, adult situations, and a little bit of dark humor. Some of the scenes tend to drag, and the ending is fairly unsatisfactory. Still, it's a worthwhile conclusion to the trilogy.
Sometimes a man doesn't know how badly he's hurt until someone else probes the wound.
”Death is always at the edge of now. Nighteyes’ thought was gentle. Death stalks us, and he is ever sure of his kill. It is not a thing to dwell on, but it is something we all know, in our guts and bones. All save humans.”
Sometimes I think that Nighteyes actually is the wisest character of them all. >_< He has a way to see the truth in the world and he’s never hesitant to voice it which certainly is a trait many of us humans lack. XD Well anyway, let’s not get philosophical right at the beginning of my review. *lol* Let’s focus on the third book of this awesome series instead. ;-)
I know many of my goodreads friends gave “Assassin’s Quest” a rather low rating and weren’t happy with the ending and even though I understand their reasoning I still feel the need to declare that I liked it! Yes, you read right! I liked it and enjoyed to read this 700+ pages book! So how come that I ended up relishing this book even though about 70% of my friends didn’t? I guess the answer to this is simple: I had no expectations! *lol* After the ending of book two I had no idea where Robin Hobb wanted to go with this so you could either say that I was blissfully oblivious to every possible outcome or you could go with the theory that there were so many possibilities that I didn’t care in which direction it would head. XD
No matter how you prefer to look at it, it definitely made it easier to cope with the huge changes that happened in this book. And truth be told, there were quite a lot, which probably is the reason why so many of my friends didn’t enjoy this last book. For instance the story line is no longer bound to Buckkeep but plays in the Six Dutchies instead and unlike in the first two books skilling is taking a huge part as well. Some parts of the plot are even played out through skilling alone and if we wouldn’t have been with Fitz we might have never known about those details. So yes, the surroundings are different, the tone of the book is different, the interactions between the cast of characters are different and the ending is so very different to everything everyone imagined that it is kind of hard to wrap your head around it. *lol*
It’s different, yes, but in my humble opinion “Assassin’s Quest” isn’t only a great book but also worth reading. ;-) And because I still have so many other things to say I’ll head directly to my characters section now!
You are entering my character section, which is also widely known as my spoilery spoiler section so if you don’t want to be spoiled and still want to experience this book on your own, you better don’t continue to read now. XD This is a fair warning! Don’t say I didn’t give you a choice because unlike Fitz you actually have one. ;-P
”No choice, no choice, no choice. Never any choice about anything. Fate had made me a killer, a liar, and a thief. And the harder I tried to avoid those roles, the more firmly I was pushed into them.”
My poor Fitz!!! I don’t know how often I said this already, but no matter how often I say it, it still holds true! If you ask me Fitz is Robin Hobb’s personal scapegoat and when she wrote his character she probably was like: Mhmm how else could I destroy him?! Because seriously, that boy went through so much already and he JUST DESERVES BETTER THAN THAT!!!! Plus the injustice that happened in those three books is outrageous!!! I mean, he died for his king and then he was forced back into his body!!! The peace he had once again ripped away from him because other people decided that his work wasn’t done!!! Believe me when I say that I understood every single one of Fitz emotions!!! I mean he gave them everything, his youth, his love, his life and yet it still wasn’t enough?! What else could they possibly want from him?! It’s no surprise he wanted Regal and his coterie dead and I don’t even blame him for his stupid actions. For him they were justified! Also DAMN THEM ALL FOR PLANNING TO USE HIS DAUGHTER WITH MOLLY AS WELL!!!! He did everything for them and that’s the way they repay him for it?! By being willing to use his only daughter as a tool and pawn as well?! AADFASKDFASFDJSAKDFAJSDKFA! That made me so angry I can’t even!!! *breathes fire* And yet, still despite everything that happened, despite all the things they would have done to him without even batting an eye, Fitz still would have given his LIFE for Verity’s dragon!!! Because he is precious and pure and he loved Verity!!!! GAH!!! As for the ending, I saw the thing with Molly and Burrich coming from miles away, so it was no surprise for me. Poor Fitz obviously didn’t anticipate it though. =(( I feel so heartbroken for him! T_T And Regal… I can’t believe Fitz let him live! He actually LET HIM LIVE and turned him good by implanting fanatic loyalty in his mind!!! OMG!! Of course Regal died in the end, but it was not through the hands of Fitz!!! My precious, precious destroyed boy… T_T
”That debilitating fear was a cowering presence inside me. I knew, with a sick certainty, that if I were pressed I would become it. I was no longer FitzChivalry. I was what was left after fear had driven him from his body.”
”The choice was simple. Be a wolf, with no past, no future, only today. Or a man, twisted by his past, whose heart pumped fear with his blood.”
”You can’t even imagine what you’ve taken away from me. I should be dead, but you wouldn’t let me die. All with the best of intentions, always believing you were doing what was right, no matter how it hurt me. But who gave you that right over me? Who decreed you could do this to me?”
”You. He has refused to allow you to be put into the dragon. He could do it, you know, whether you willed it or not. He could simply reach out and pull you into him. But he refuses. He says you love your life too much, he will not take it from you. That you have already laid down too much of it for a king who has returned you only pain and hardship.”
*sighs deeply* Verity… it made me so sad to see what has become of him. I mean I always hoped that Verity would come to their rescue bringing the Elderlings with him and then we find him carving a dragon out of stone. =( Gosh, what it cost Verity to make that dragon! He lost his memories, his humanity; he gave everything into that dragon just to bring him to life. It was painful and sad to see Verity like that, especially because he was one of my favourite characters and I always hoped that he’d actually become the king of the Six Duchies and would live a long and nice life with Kettricken. Robin Hobb wouldn’t be Robin Hobb if she wouldn’t have spoilt things for me though. *lol* Plus even in those last moments of his life he used Fitz and it was something that rankled me big time. I mean I understand why he used his body to sleep with Kettricken but damn, Fitz deserved better than that and Kettricken too. So yes, I definitely was no happy camper when it came to that turn of events. >_<
”I am glad, glad that you are alive. To see you take breath puts the breath back in my lungs. If there must be another my fate is twined around, I am glad it is you.”
I think now is the moment to scream: I LOVE THE FOOL!!! His character is soo damn amazing that I can’t help but adore him!!! The Fool was always one of my favourites and that he played such a huge role in this book made me more than just a little happy! I always wanted to know more about him and his roots and my wish was finally granted! XD Also I loved that Starling believed him to be a woman who is in love with Fitz. *lol* I mean yes, he’s definitely in love with Fitz but I’m pretty sure he’s no woman, or at least not all of the time. ;-P If you ask me the Fool was initially born as a man but is gender fluid and considering that this book was written about 20 years ago I have to give Robin Hobb kudos for being brave enough to invent his character!!! <333 Still, there is so much I don’t know about him and I hope that one of the other trilogies will provide me with even more information about his origins and background story. I can’t get enough of him and I want MORE!!!!
”That is one thing that in all my years among your folk I have never become accustomed to. The great importance that you attach to what gender one is.” “Well, it is important …” I began. “Rubbish!” he exclaimed. “Mere plumbing, when all is said and done. Why is it important?”
”Over and over and over again, you forget your place. You are not a prince, you are an assassin. You are not the player, you are the game-piece.”
What can I say about Chade? I’m glad he and Fitz sorted things out and that he mourned him when he thought him to be dead, but still. I hate that Fitz was always some sort of tool for him. I’m sure Chade didn’t know any better because he was raised being a tool himself, but damn I can’t forgive him for everything he did. Especially not for trying to use Nettle as a pawn as well!!! It was wrong and he should have known that!!!
”Honor and courtesy and justice … they are not real, Fitz. We all pretend to them, and hold them up like shields. But they guard only against folk who carry the same shields. Against those who have discarded them, they are no shields at all, but only additional weapons to use against their victims.”
I still don’t know if I liked her or not. I mean she was as likeable as they come, but I didn’t feel anything for her. In fact I was as indifferent to her as Fitz and I’m not okay with them being occasional lovers. Fitz deserves so much better than that and I really hope that one of the other books will finally give him the happy life he longed for! He deserves it!
Fitz & Nighteyes:
You will pay for this. I promise you. In answer I leaned down to pat his shoulder and then scratch his ears. Wag your tail, Nighteyes. “He’s a loyal old dog. I should have known he wouldn’t be left behind.” The things I endure for you. He wagged his tail. Once.
I have so much love for those two!! Their friendship is everything and it made me so sad when Nighteyes decided to go his own way for a while. I mean, I know why he did it and what he wanted to achieve with it but it was really sad to see them separated. By now their bond is so strong that Nighteyes is no longer just a wolf though. He has human features and this certainly doesn’t make it easy to live among the wild wolves. Also can we take a second and appreciate the joining of the Fool, Fitz and Nighteyes?! I love those three together!!! Bless Nighteyes for accepting the Fool into their pack! <333
Fitz & The Fool:
His cool fingers moved tentatively down my face, tracing the scar and the broken nose. He leaned down suddenly to rest his brow against mine. “When I recall how beautiful you were,” he whispered brokenly, and then fell silent. The warm drip of his tear against my face felt scalding.
I LOVE THIS SHIP AND I WILL GO DOWN WITH IT!!! You can say what you want but I adore those two!! They fit together so perfectly and if anyone should be at Fitz’s side then it’s the Fool!! I mean seriously their chemistry is amazing and I ship them harder than I ever shipped Molly and Fitz. Plus it’s not one-sided!!! No matter how much Fitz tries to deny it, it’s still obvious that he cares for the Fool deeply and even loves him!!! He was so worried when the Fool had a fever and he knows him better than anyone else!! OH AND DID I MENTION THAT THE FOOL KISSED HIM!!!??? He freaking kissed him!!! AHHHHHHH!!! *runs around hyper* I will ship them forever and for always and I genuinely hope they’ll be reunited in one of those following trilogies. XD <333
”There was a naiveté to you that none of the ugliness could stain, as if you never truly believed in evil. It was what I liked best about you.” The Fool swayed slightly where he sat, but righted himself. “It was what I missed the most, when you were dead.”
”Ah, Fitz,” he said quietly a moment later. “You do not know how much it means to me that I can still make you laugh. If I can stir you to laughter, I can laugh myself.”
”There, now you have said it,” the Fool replied as if I had proven his point for him. “And I love you, and all that is a part of you.” He cocked his head and the next words held a challenge. “And do you not return that to me?” He waited. I desperately wished I had never started this discussion. “You know I love you,” I said at last, grudgingly. “After all that has been between us, how can you even ask? But I love you as a man loves another man …”
Chade & Fitz:
“Oh, my boy, my boy, I believed you were dead. When Burrich sent me word he had found your body, I thought my heart would break. The words we had when last we parted … but here you are, alive if not well.”
Curse Chade for being willing to use Fitz’s only daughter!!! No matter how much he seems to love Fitz, as long as it would serve his purpose and his king, he would still sacrifice my boy in the blink of an eye! That’s not right! Where is his conscience? How can he do such a thing to a person he loves? I don’t understand it and I think I never will. I could relate to Fitz’s anger and I don’t blame him for being furious with Chade. In fact I understand him way too well! >_<
”You can have me,” I told him quietly. “And I will do my best to bring Verity back, and do all I can to restore him his throne. You can have my death, if that is what it takes. More than that, you can have my life, Chade. But not my child’s. Not my daughter’s.”
Verity & Fitz:
”I knelt on the rise, looking down at the town, knowing clearly what I wished with all my heart to do. And I could not do it. Nothing held me back, no man lifted a hand or sword to me and bid me turn aside. Only the small insistent voice in my mind, battering at me. Come to me, come to me, come to me. And I could not do otherwise.”
Okay, I admit it. As much as I love Verity I was still slightly angry at him for forcing Fitz to come to him. I mean, that boy endured enough and now he even had to go on a quest because Verity told him to. I know Verity didn’t do it on purpose but still, it left a bad aftertaste especially because Verity of all people should have known how powerful a skill command is. Also I didn’t like how Verity’s life ended. Sure, he saved the Six Dutchies but he would have deserved better than to end up as a stone dragon. Plus that unfeeling Verity had nothing to do with the Verity I came to love. Poor Kettricken, to go all that way only to discover that her husband has no feelings for her anymore because he put everything he is into a dragon. *sighs* I guess when it comes to this ending I’m totally with the 70% of my friends that didn’t like it. *lol*
”It would be a poor courtesy to Hod’s skill to pass this on with a blunted blade. Take better care of it than I did, Fitz.” He resheathed it and handed it to me. His eyes met mine as I took it. “And better care of yourself than I did. I did love you, you know,” he said brusquely. “Despite all I’ve done to you, I loved you.” At first I could think of no answer to that. Then, as he reached his dragon and placed his hands on its brow, I told him, “I never doubted it. Never doubt I loved you.”
There were many things I didn’t like about “Assassin’s Quest” but despite everything that happened the positive things still outweighed the negative aspects of the book. It was not the ending I expected and if things would have gone my way I would have gone for a nicer conclusion, considering that Robin Hobb wrote other books that feature Fitz and the Fool, I can’t be all too unhappy about it though. *lol* A solid and unexpected ending for a great trilogy.
I know I’m SOO going to regret this but I really, really, really need to know how Fitz’s story is going to continue.
Aww damn, I’m so not ready for that heart-ache. *frowns and fidgets* OH TO HELL AND BACK AGAIN!!!
To say it with Celaena Sardothien’s words: “My name is Virginia, and I will not be afraid.” I can do this!! I can do this!!! I CAN FREAKING DO THIS!!!
Kay, I think I’m ready now. *lol*
P.S: Oh wait, is that an actual dragon in the background? How come I missed this?! OMG! O_o
It’s a hard thing to do to constantly force yourself onward in a series that has never managed to fully catch your interest, just waiting for it to improve. And then to reach the end and realise that it doesn’t.
I really wanted to like this series. After finishing both the first and the second book I was torn between two different ratings, and on both occasions decided to give the book the highest one. All in hope of drastic improvements that could make the series as interesting as I hoped it would be from the beginning. But in the end, I was disappointed, and I simply have no patience left.
Assassin’s Quest has the exact same problems as the first two books in the trilogy, only much more so. My irritation with Fitz grew by the page, and at this point he is very near to becoming my least favourite protagonist ever. I was warned about it, but I didn’t heed those warnings simply because I didn’t think it would be this bad. He goes around whining about everything and everyone, and refuses to do anything about it. When I started reading this series, I expected an intriguing tale of an assassin and his exploits. If Fitz even deserves to be called an assassin, he must be the most useless one in the fantasy genre. He only attempted one actual assassination throughout the entire book, which did not even come close to succeeding.
The other characters are not much better. I’m not going to write a long paragraph about each and every one of them, so let it suffice to say that in the end there were only two characters I enjoyed reading about: Patience and Nighteyes. One of them did not appear in this book at all, the other was absent for large parts of it. The rest of the characters did nothing but frustrate me one way or another.
I need to talk about one more character though. Regal. Regal Farseer is doubtlessly among the worst villains I have ever read about in fantasy. While there are many antagonists motivated solely by a lust for power, Regal stands out among them. Like Fitz so eloquently said, he is ”a whining, spoiled child who schemed to take his older brothers' toys.” And when Regal gets the toys he so desperately wants, he has no idea whatsoever of how to hold on to them and defend them. So he turns into a madman for no apparent reason, and becomes a paranoid idiot who believes that everyone just wants to take from him what he rightfully deserves.
Then there is the matter of the constant failures of the protagonists. Like I wrote in one of my status updates, the entire book (and trilogy) is about failure after failure after failure. You can see each one coming long before it happens, rendering the book amazingly predictable, and every time Fitz managed a miraculous escape, mostly through sheer luck. Because of all that, large parts of this final book were utterly and completely pointless, and served no other purpose than to pull the reader through yet another of Fitz’ numerous failures.
Furthermore, the ending was not satisfying at all. First, it felt rushed. The entire trilogy was concluded and in the space of two short chapters at the very end of the book. Too much was squeezed into that small space, which is almost ironic considering that there were long parts in the middle of the book in which nothing happened at all. Second, it didn’t really explain anything and provided few and inadequate answers to questions raised. Besides the fact that a handful of characters have died, one could just turn the time back to the beginning of Assassin’s Apprentice, and it would be a rather similar ending to the one delivered here.
To summarise all that in one short sentence, I was not happy with this book at all. There was so very little that caught my interest that it became a very difficult book to get through. To be fair, there are a couple of interesting parts introduced in the last third of the book, but the problem was that at that point I was so disillusioned I did not care about any of it.
Because of the infamous bad apples again, I am willing to give the works of Robin Hobb another chance. But not yet.
Though it pains me to say this, Assassin's Quest is the weakest installment of the Farseer Trilogy. It's not necessarily a bad book but I am pretty split down the middle on things I did & didn't like about this conclusion and so a 2.5 stars felt appropriate.
While the opening scene is very strong, this book ultimately suffers from a monotonous journey with an indistinct & rushed conclusion. Unfortunately, I won't be able to explain myself further without spoilers.
So the book begins with the resurrection of Fitz's human form from Nighteyes. Burrich, Chade, & Nighteyes now accompany Fitz in a hidden cabin in the woods while he attempts to relearn what it means to be a man instead of a wolf.
This is a strong opening & is by far one of my favorite scenes in the book.
The sequence ends in an emotionally charged battle of words that scatters our heroes onto their own separate paths. The conflict is written incredibly well, with each character having a justifiable perspective. It pierced my heart to watch them allow their disagreements to fracture the group, but overall it felt like a realistic & necessary development for all involved.
So now Fitz strikes off with only Nighteyes to assassinate Regal & we come to one of my biggest qualms with this final book.
IT'S. SO. DAMN. REPETITIVE.
Events proceed as such from this point on:
1. Fitz is captured.
2. Fitz's situation looks completely inescapable.
3. Fitz escapes (usually with help from Nighteyes).
4. Fitz uses his Skill to peek in on Burrich & Molly.
5. Optional: Fitz meets a young woman who tempts him to sleep with her.
I haven't measured, but I can confidently say at least 60% of the book is made up of this cycle repeating itself.
The first time Fitz is captured, I was on the edge of my seat wondering how in the world he could escape from Will's grasp & from inside of Regal's castle. But when Fitz is captured twice more, the excitement of the moment is quite dampened by the fact that I'm certain he will find a way out of his situation.
This renders Fitz's capture/escape scenes pointless & uninteresting for the most part.
All the while, Fitz manages to meet three separate women (none of which are Molly) who all want to fuck him. Look, I know Fitz is supposed to be dashing or whatever, but this is overkill.
If this weren't enough to make me roll my eyes, all of these women turn out to be insufferable.
The first, Honey, makes Fitz the butt of all her jokes & sarcasm, only to sneak into his sleeping quarters within a couple days of knowing him. When he refuses, she goes back to being sour & self-important for the rest of the time she is in Fitz's company (even after he saves her life & her sister & father's lives).
The second, whose name isn't even important enough for me to remember, is part of a travelling caravan that Fitz briefly joins. He is momentarily tempted by her offer, but eventually declines out of loyalty to Molly. When thwarted, this girl threatens to go to the caravan leader with her suspicions that Fitz is the Farseer Bastard King Regal is searching for. So to put it plainly, she's a piece of shit.
Lastly, we meet Starling, a minstrel who Fitz also encounters in the traveling caravan. Starling begins with a lot of potential & seems at first to be one of the most realistic female characters Fitz meets in this installment. My opinion of Starling quickly goes downhill when she first reprimands Fitz over how he treats Molly, then immediately tries to sleep with him.
What the fuck?
Fitz refuses, and from this point on Starling is nothing but a headache for Fitz. She tags along with him simply because she wants to bear witness to something amazing that she can write a song about & secure her own future. Along the way, she ends up revealing the existence of Fitz's child against his will, constantly puts off angry, angsty vibes, and goes on a weird & largely unresolved tangent about The Fool being a woman who is actually in love with Fitz.
I mean what the actual fuck???
Am I supposed to like this character? Am I supposed to sympathize with her?
At one point, Fitz is in a situation where he can ambush a group of people who absolutely will torture him if they catch him. Starling is horrified by the prospect, suggesting the heroic thing to do would be to issue a challenge to his enemies instead of taking them down unawares.
Bitch what do you think this is? A fairy tale? OF COURSE I'M GONNA TAKE THEM OUT IF I HAVE THE CHANCE WHY WOULD I ISSUE A FUCKING CHALLENGE???
Near the end of the novel, she reveals her sad story to Fitz & once again tries to sleep with him. By this point, I am so done with this character that I couldn't even feel bad for her. She's completely irrelevant & a huge distraction from my enjoyment of the story.
Needless to say I'd probably strangle her if I were Fitz so kudos to my boy for maintaining his composure in the face of all that nonsense.
But please don't think Fitz is an angel here because he isn't.
Fitz constantly uses his Skill sense to check in on Molly & Burrich, even though he is repeatedly warned that doing so puts their location at risk of being discovered by enemy Skill users.
Once, perhaps I could understand. But he literally checks in on them like 10 times, each time being cautioned by Verity that doing so is incredibly dangerous.
One of the last things that really bothered me about this last installment is that I still have no idea why the magic systems function the way they do.
I understand how the Wit works. I understand how the Skill works. But I don't know know why.
This is perhaps due to the First Person nature of the story, as Fitz isn't an expert on his abilities either. But Hobb found ways to fill the reader in on the historical situation of the Six Duchies & the Mountain Kingdom through Fitz, and so I'm not sure she couldn't have done a similar thing with the magic system.
This lack of understanding becomes super apparent as the finale of the book plays out. Verity's creation of the Dragon, Kettle's release from her Skill burning, The Fool's 'betrayal', the effects of the Skill Road on Skill users, the Pillar to the past, the wakening & control of the Elderlings. All of it just floats around in a hazy sea of "it works that way because it works that way" & that's not always enough for me to feel satisfied.
Otherwise, Hobb maintains her excellent writing all the way through to the very end of this trilogy. She could probably write a detailed to-do list & I would be hanging on every word - that's how addicting her words are.
I also particularly enjoyed the glimpses of scenes we get with Burrich & Molly. I found the endgame of the two falling in love a bit... strange to say the least, but they definitely have some of the most compelling scenes that break up the intense monotony of Fitz's travels.
The Fool & Fitz have some really gratifying relationship development, as does Kettricken in her struggles to find Verity & serve the people of the Six Duchies.
Upon reading this conclusion, I'm definitely torn. I'm glad to have finished this trilogy, as it is surely a story worth reading. I've grown close to Fitz, Nighteyes, & The Fool (along with a couple other characters), and I enjoy the world Hobb has created here.
But after falling in love with Royal Assassin, I was hoping for something a bit more satisfying from Assassin's Quest. As a whole, a good trilogy with a killer middle book. I'm quite excited to move on to the Liveship Traders Trilogy!
my reading resolution for this year is try to complete the many series i have started but havent finished. and i really hope this book isnt a sign of things to come.
either a) i waited too long between books and completely lost my interest in the story, or b) this final book in the trilogy is significantly inferior to the first two. based on other reviews, im gonna go with a combination of both.
fitzs relationship with nighteyes is the only thing worth reading about in this. i am a massive believer that animals and humans have a very special bond with each other and i love how this story showcases that. ‘the wit’ is one of my favourite fantasy elements i have ever read.
that being said, everything else about this is mediocre. it started off strong but then it became too much travelling, too much introspection, too many horribly written female characters (honestly, the fact that this book is written by a woman is shocking to me), and a very lackluster ending to a three book long battle. fitz deserves better.
what a shame because i have such positive feelings for the other books in the series.
I already knew that Assassin's Quest is considered to be one of the weakest novels in the Realm of Elderlings series. I am not sure about that statement but I liked the first two books in the Farseer trilogy more than this one. First of all, there is too much detail and repetition. Fitz does something stupid, is captured or attacked, he is saved and then the story repeats itself. I can’t remember how many times he skilled even though he knew perfectly well she shouldn’t have. In short, Fitz is more of an anti-hero in the trilogy and he continues to not be very bright, which is a bit tiring. I still care about him because Hobb is a true expert in writing characters. Nighteyes and the Fool remain the stars of the series while the two additions, Starling and Kettle, did not impress me much.
The writing was beautiful, nothing changed here. However, after hundreds of pages on the road, I felt the ending to be too swift. Also, I did not enjoy some plot decisions the author took. I still loved spending times with the characters who I consider to be almost my friends and I am looking forward to continuing with the series in the near future.
Robin Hobb certainly knows how to deliver a spectacular conclusion. The build-up going into these final chapters was immense; she draws the plot out so much that when the ending does arrive, it’s almost explosive because it’s so shocking that it has finally been delivered. I love the way she keeps doing this to me, but this book wasn’t without its faults. The villain, Prince Regal, remains a bit of a frustrating mystery and the final resolution, though good, was a little glossed over. This is the only book of Hobb’s (in which Fitz is the narrator) that I have problems with. Firstly, though, I’m going to lay down the positives.
The Lone Wolf
Fitz has narrowly escaped death a few times now, and his most recent escape has, quite literally, changed him forever. His bond with his wolf has intensified tenfold. Fitz now thinks like a wolf, and acts like a wolf. He’s a different man because of the ancient magic that saved his life. He seeks solitude and the great outdoors; he wishes for seclusion and to be completely left alone; thus, he must overcome another great personal obstacle if he is going to exact his revenge. He must return to himself and think like a human once more. This is no easy task because his only companion is his wolf Nighteyes. Fitz is in danger of losing himself completely if he doesn’t realise the importance of his part in the events to come.
"I thought we had lost you. I thought we'd done something worse than let you die.' His old arms were tight and strong about me.
I was kind to the old man. I did not tell him they had."
He still pines for his Molly, though he knows he must forget her. The world thinks he is dead, so to go to her would put her in serious danger. Fitz has enemies, many enemies. They would gladly murder anyone associated with him to draw him out. So, Fitz learns to live with his personal sacrifice and move on; he knows Molly is safe with Burrich: he is now left to follow the path of the lone wolf. But, this is something he must overcome; he cannot save the Six Duchies by himself. He needs his Fool; he needs his friend: he needs his Beloved. This really drove the story forward, as Fitz began to overcome his sorrow.
The antagonist makes no sense
The ending was exciting and fast, so very fast. It was a good ending but it needed more substance; it needed to be seen through the eyes of the characters, and not mentioned in a brief summary. In addition, I though the revelation of what drove Prince Regal was incredibly flat. I expected there to be some great, and hidden, evil that guided his corruptness; I thought there would be a reason for his usurpation and self-serving selfishness that almost destroyed what was, at the time, his own realm. It just doesn’t make sense why he would allow his territory to be taken without a fight. If he wanted to be King, then surely he would want a large kingdom and not one surrounded by enemies. His actions made little sense and were just plain stupid to the point of ridiculous.
Indeed, Regal appears to be a spoilt boy who has no sense of any intellect. His actions were self-destructive and random. He’s a terrible antagonist because there is no logic to his character. If there was a true reason behind his motives it was never revealed. This is my only criticism of Hobb’s writing; it is the lowest point of this entire series because of it. But, it is far outweighed by the positives of her storytelling. This series, overall, is really good. Regal is only one aspect of the plot. The protagonist is still excellent and well thought out regardless of the sloppy bad guy. Fitz has come so far through this story and has developed into a true hero, as signified by his final actions towards his biggest foe and how he helps his king. This is more important that Regal’s poor characterisation. And, as ever, his friendship with the Fool defines this series; it makes it what it is. Only together could they find King Verity.
Fitz, the presumed dead assassin's apprentice, whose tales have now become the stuff of legend in the Six Duchies is a beaten and battered remnant of his former self. He survived death with the help of poison, his wit-bonded companion Nighteyes, and his trusted allies Chade the assassin and Burrich the stable master (and father figure). The majority of this world believe he is dead. Even his wife who is pregnant with his child. There are still the terrible raidings by the Red Ships that decimate whole settlements and leave people as the murderous zombie-like Forged. Also, the assumed dead rightful King, Verity is still trying to accomplish what many people believe is foolish in trying to venture to mythological lands to make allies with the equally legendary and fabled beasts, The Elderlings. Our first-person perspective viewpoint FitzChivalry, the Wit-tainted and Skill-talented bastard, still desires to murder his uncle, the pretender monarch, King Regal.
"I’m going to kill Regal. And his coterie. I’m going to kill all of them, for all they did to me, and all they took from me.
Regal? There is meat we cannot eat. I do not understand the hunting of men.
I took my image of Regal and combined it with his images of the animal trader who had caged him when he was a cub and beat him with a brass-bound club.
Nighteyes considered that. Once I got away from him, I was smart enough to stay away from him. To hunt that one is as wise as to go hunting a porcupine.
I cannot leave this alone, Nighteyes.
I understand. I am the same about porcupines."
Some top reviewers I know don't like this final entry to the Farseer Trilogy. Although it is lengthy, often poetically over-descriptive, can occasionally be difficult in it's intricate and complex magical scheme concept sections, and features lots of travelling - I loved it. It's intoxicating and almost dreamlike within its presentation and I adored that but will acknowledge that it is not for everyone. I've also been advised that after this point Hobb rarely puts a foot wrong in the gigantic, door-stopping Realm of the Elderlings saga and I cannot wait to continue. (I would be right now if I wasn't writing this!)
I'd say this is approximately double the length to Royal Assassin and a large amount of that difference in page count is the Fitz, Nighteyes (and occasionally a friend or two) travelling sections, either to attempt to assassinate one uncle or to attempt to aid another uncle who is half the world away. At certain instances in the prior two tales, it was slow-going but this takes it a lot further. What also happens quite frequently is that as Fitz is often alone he finds out about events taking place across the environment by skill-dreaming. This is where he can be in somebody else's mind and can see and feel things from their perspective. The skill sections can be confusing, whether the dreams, the power to converse with a person a world away, or the fact that some skill-wielders are so powerful they can murder with just a thought.
Many of my favourite cast members are presented here but others who we followed and truly cared about last time are only mentioned. This is due to the fact that most people believe that Fitz is six feet under. FitzChivalry has a few distinguishing features, a scar on his face, a broken nose and a streak of white in his hair, all from when King Regal was torturing him previously. He has to be stealthy throughout, often with the aid of Nighteyes' senses. People recognise him, people see him and believe he's undead and poor Fitzy Fitz as I'm sure the Fool might say, well, he has to be one of the unluckiest protagonists of all fantasy.
The Fitz and Nighteyes (his wit-bonded wolf) mind-linked conversations were excellent as always. He's one of my two favourite individuals featured in this novel. In Nighteyes, Hobb really has crafted an amazing character and it aids the already excellent world-building as we can witness that same event, town, or possible confrontation from alternative, very different perspectives. Chade, Burrich, The Fool and King Regal are brilliantly presented again. There are a few impressive new additions such as the minstrel Starling who occasionally follows Fitz around and the mysterious old Lady Kettle.
This really was an emotional undertaking/quest for me. Some of the cast re-meeting or certain story-defining revelations released a plethora of emotions within me. I cried, was rejuvenated, amazed, shocked, fell-off the metaphorical stool I was sitting on. I found Assassin's Quest exquisite and the narrative of the Farseer Trilogy completely. It wraps events up well here but there is so much left to explore of the world, what could happen to the characters next, the potential unpredictable nature on the horizon etc... The last twenty-percent, after lots of walking, camping and hunting, was sublime. This is edging slowly but smoothly towards being one of my top three series of all time. Now, if you excuse me, back to the Realm of the Elderlings.
"I healed. Not completely. A scar is never the same as good flesh, but it stops the bleeding."
Robin Hobb is an amazing author. The characters she builds are so realistic. You become completely entranced and connected to all the characters in her books. She has superb storytelling skills that won't let you put the book down. I STRONGLY suggest reading The Farseer Trilogy This book was definitely my favorite one of the series. I loved watching all the small plot lines develop and come together. There was so much going on in this one, and Fitz stumbled from one chaotic mess into the other. I felt for him, I truly did. Obviously, there are many other characters I’ve come to love in this series. Nighteyes is probably one of my favorites. Like I said, these characters will feel so familiar to you. Robin Hobb is on a plane all her own in terms of storytelling, and getting you to truly feel for her characters. Assassin’s Quest is just that. A huge, long, unending quest. And throughout it all its pure torture for our protagonist, as he tries to silently protect all whom he loves, despite the fact that they all think him dead. It’s perhaps the best quest novel I’ve ever read. Yes, I’ll go ahead and say that. This was adventure at its most perilous, its most primal, a doomed mission at wit’s end. Much of this quest involved the true bonding with his wolf Nighteyes, and how that shaped his character. And how that shaped his wolf. At the onset of the book Fitz showed more characteristics to a wolf than he does a man. But subtly Hobb presents you with the opposite happening with Nighteyes. He slowly begins to think and act upon situations like a human would. It’s brilliant writing. Again, Hobb astounds with her ability to write. In conclusion, this book is my favorite of the three. I fell in love with so many of the characters -and wanted to viciously murder some of the others. I would highly recommend you read this series, if you haven’t done so already. I can’t wait to read more of her work.
the way i had to plunder through 800 pages of this book with a man child as my POV!!!!
fitz as a bb boy was cute and adorable. fitz as a teenager was understandable and likeable. fitz as an adult.....man i never wanted to bitch slap someone so hard!!
sometimes the way he processes information is so two dimensional and shallow, like.....in this book almost everything informational is barely taken in at face value. he lives in this world where anything 'mystical' and 'fantastical' is brushed aside; he's so pragmatic it almost hurts. ugh, men.
for half of this book, fitz sort of reverts to this cry baby and i wanted to strangle his unsufferable ass. but it's fine. the other parts of this WERE FUCKING GREAT AND INCREDIBLE!!!!!
let me just reiterate that robin hobb TRULY is a master of her own class. literally unmatched. while i can see how this last part of the trilogy might be a hit or miss from other people who've read this in its entirety (i mean for me, the second book was the best), this was still an epic conclusion that still left A LOT of thinsg open ended and for definite good reason. im truly excited to delve deeper into this series and i'm glad i got just a delicious spoonful with what this series has to yet offer:)
nighteyes is truly, truly the best. literally carried so fitz could run smh.
I really enjoyed the first 1/3 of this book but much of it was repetitive and started to drag. I also feel the conclusion didn’t have the payoff I wanted for how bored I was at times. I do think that many events in this book will have greater payoff in later books in this expansive universe, but that doesn’t help how I felt about this reading experience. I’m still very happy I have the foundation of the Farseer trilogy for continuing with the rest of the Realm of the Elderlings and look forward to seeing Fitz again in the future.
I very rarely give only one star; it feels melodramatic, especially since I gave Royal Assassin five. But after the quality of the first two books in this trilogy, I was shocked and appalled by this one--and, what's worse, I was bored.
In this book, Fitz leaves Buckkeep and all of the other characters we've come to know and love over the first two books. He spends most of the 760-page book hiking across the continent, much of it alone, much of the rest with random throwaway characters who appear for the first time in this book (many of whom disappear after a couple chapters and proceed to have no more impact on the plot). It all feels like filler. When he finally meets up with other major characters, there's more walking, more filler... what happened to all the passion and intrigue of the first two books? It's hard to put my finger on what went wrong here. It feels as if the author just stopped caring. Even the writing became repetitive.
Then there's the end. It's just awful. Hobb leaves all the antagonists that have been wreaking havoc throughout the trilogy to be dealt with in the last 30 pages or so; inevitably, it's rushed. Not only that, it happens off-screen, in narrative summary. You thought after all this pain you'd actually get to see a final battle with the Red Ships, or Fitz assassinating Regal? Nope. The ending itself is decidedly bittersweet, but after this slog I no longer cared about the characters I'd been so emotionally attached to for the first two books, so it didn't really bother me.
I've tried to find some redeeming quality here, but honestly thought the book was hideous, and it definitely brings down my opinion of the trilogy. It's a shame because the first two books were so good... if only this had been a duology.
After the spine-tingling cliff-hanger at the close of the book two, I was fully expecting a cathartic close in this the third and final book in the Farseer trilogy. However, I found myself getting bored with the tiresome -- and seemingly endless -- quest that took far too much of the last half of this 700-some-page finale. Perhaps it was the monotony of the long-haul slough that our hero and his allies endured for 200-plus pages , or even the deus ex machina by way of dragons. (How convenient and stereotypical of the genre!) Or maybe it was just the deliciously unresolved endings at the close of books one and two that whet my appetite for more. In any event, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed with the close of "Assassin's Quest". Of course, there are just enough plot-lines left loosely tied -- or is left unraveled -- that I admit that my curiosity is piqued for the second trilogy about the later years of an older FitzChivalry. But I'm more than content to leave that for a future rainy day.
I have a lot of friends who love Hobb's series, so I'm going to assume the problem here is one of compatibility: this book and I, we're just not compatible.
I tend to like plot driven books, well developed villains, and I don't want a Gary Stu protagonist, but I do want my hero to be heroic. To win from time to time. It's the main character and I'm following his story, of course I'm going to root for him!
Sadly this book followed a pattern I didn't like:
1. Fitz would do something wrong, often because he didn't know better. 2. Someone more knowledgeable would scold Fitz for being ignorant, but would not explain stuff. 3. Since Fitz still doesn't know anything, he'd do something wrong again. Rinse and repeat.
This happened at least 5 times during the book, twice Fitz was betrayed, a few times Fitz was just an idiot and did something when he knew better, and some times things simply went wrong.
And that was the plot of the book. By the end I was completely tired of everything going wrong again, and again, and again.
And Regal, our villain. I was so confused by him. I kept feeling like I had two very different villains. Sometimes he'd be portrayed as nothing more than a spoiled child turned into a terrible prince; yet sometimes he'd have enough cunning to place spies, foul Fitz's plots and devise strategies.
Who's the real Regal then? The cunning evil one? Or the spoiled brat who drinks too much and smokes too much and should by all accounts be too drugged to hatch up any kind of plan? There was a complete mix up in the characterization here that made my head hurt more than once.
And then we get a completely disappointing ending. We don't even get to see the battle, it's narrated in an almost offhanded way. Like the threat from the Red Ships was nothing more than a red herring. A plot device conveniently set to get the plot moving, but of no consequence after all.
Sadly, I can't say I liked this book and I don't think I'll be reading anything else in the series. :(
It is always a great feeling to start the last book of the trilogy, especially if you loved the previous books. Excitement, curiosity, eagerness, all mixed up in a huge ball of emotions. The ending of the Royal Assassin was a game changer and it lifted my expectations for this book in such way that I couldn’t wait to find out what will happen next with Fitz and his companions and what fate will befall the Six Duchies.
Writing this review wasn’t an easy task. Not because I was struggling to channel my thoughts and find the proper words but because I couldn’t really mention the important and interesting things that happened. If I did, this review would have been a few sentences long and filled with spoilers. Unfortunately, this only means that not many things of importance happened and that was my biggest problem with this book and it affected my rating.
I already mentioned the ending of the previous book. Based on those events, I imagined, or to be honest, hoped, that this book would be an epic tale of revenge and the quest of our main hero would be filled with interesting and action packed encounters with the Forged, the Red Ships and Regal’s soldiers and members of his coterie. Sadly, those encounters were rare and the biggest part of Fitz’s quest was traveling. Long travels usually mean slow pace and I usually don’t mind slow pace in books when it has a purpose of introducing us with the characters and the plot but that is generally more common in the first or middle book of the series, not the last one where we expect things to pick up and all those plot threads to resolve. This book really suffered from it and I dare say that it suffered from that infamous “middle book syndrome” even though it wasn’t a middle book however strange or stupid this may sound to you. That feeling I mentioned in the beginning of this review was depleted as I kept on reading. This felt like I was reading a travel log of a tea enthusiast. Fitz would travel, gather some herbs in the process, there was a vast description of his surroundings, he would meet some people here and there and then he would make some tea. And almost every woman he met wanted to sleep with him. I don’t know what kind of herb is elfbark but if someone knows where to find it, please let me know. This was so boring and it kept me putting this book down a lot and starting something else. Maybe this won’t bother you much but it made finishing this book a lot harder for me and it left me wondering was it all really that necessary. What I really want to say is that this book could have been much shorter and the “less is more principle” could be applied here.
The only thing that kept me going was the hope that the pace will pick up and soar even, leaving me catching for my breath as the adrenaline rushed through my body because of the immense action and sadly, it never did. When Fitz finally found Verity nothing groundbreaking happened and I was a bit disappointed.
Before I convey my final thoughts, I have to mention the side characters. Other than the wolf Nighteyes, with whom I fell in love with from the first moment I met him and who will remain as one my favorite fantasy characters ever, I was left with the impression that they are a bunch of assholes. No matter what Fitz did and no matter how big the sacrifices he had to make to achieve the goals of others, it was never enough for them and they always demanded more of him and made him feel like crap. No wonder he was depressed and miserable all the time which made loving him as a character hard but I was able to connect with him anyway because I’ve had similar experience with people.
The grand finale was underwhelming. I expected a grand battle but instead I got a “Veni, vidi, vici” recap of things. After enduring the prolonged build up, the ending sequence felt a bit rushed and everything was so anticlimatic and left me apathetic.
The writing was beautiful and I’m sure Hobb’s prose had an impact on many writers of epic fantasy, but sometimes, I need something more. Assassin’s Quest failed to meet my expectations and it fell short in delivering the thrilling conclusion I was hoping for.
I must confess I fell in love - with a wolf and a fool, a queen and her dragon and a little boy who, stumbling through life, falling and blundering at every step, grew into a better, wiser man. I fell in love with the world Robin Hobb created in these pages. Assassin's Quest was for me even better than the previous 2 books of Farseer. And the trilogy as a whole took a place of honour on my "all time favourites" shelf.
Well, that was... interesting. If there’s an author who knows how to crush a reader’s expectations with a hard blow it’s Robin Hobb.
This was dramatically longer than both previous books yet... VERY LITTLE HAPPENED. Apologies, nothing happened.
I seriously don’t know what to say here since this book was littered with nothing but over 800 pages of: Traveling. Repetitive recounts. Continual, petty, hormone-induced, why-won’t-you-fuck-me arguments that bring nothing to the narrative. Traveling. Seriously-Why-won’t-you-fuck-me arguments/fights whatever you want to call it. Horribly written female characters(why does Hobb keep doing this!?). More recounts. And... traveling.
Excellent conclusion to an incredible series. I absolutely love the Farseer trilogy and while Royal Assassin is probably the better book, Assassin's Quest was also simply wonderful. This was a satisfying ending to this story and certainly took me places I wasn't entirely expecting at the outset of Assassin's Apprentice. Fitz is such an interesting character and a great protagonist to follow. His growth throughout these books was great.
Robin Hobb has solidified her spot for me as one of the best in the business and her writing is second to none. I'm so happy I decided to give this trilogy another try because wow, what a great time that was.
Having now completed the Farseer trilogy, I’ve identified three major characteristics of Hobbs’ novels:
1. The writing is beautiful—poetic yet practical, powerful yet prosaic; perfectly suited to the world and story 2. Considerable time is spent within the mind of a beleaguered narrator, and much of the action takes place in a metaphysical plane 3. Things…move…very…sssslllloooowwwwllllyyyy
(To be fair, all of the above is true of my own books, except for #1 and #2.)
The concluding volume of the series is perhaps its most ponderous, and the weight of time drags on it like seaweed wrapped around your ankle when you’re swimming and trying to escape the spongy muck at the bottom of the lake. No matter how quickly you thrash about, no matter how hard you push, you just can’t move much faster.
That’s not to say that it’s not an entertaining tale, mind you—see point #1 above, and there are some particularly interesting revelations about the connection between FitzEyore* and the Fool that I won’t spoil here (along similar lines, the Deus ex Machina-esque appearance of a certain fantasy creature at the book’s end is pretty exciting). But, I can’t help but feel that there’s a great story trapped within this good one, hindered from breaking free of the muck only for lack of a sharp (and ruthless) editor’s pencil.
On balance, the trilogy itself is a worthwhile read and a very well developed example of world building; I just wish that the meandering pace of the first volume hadn’t presaged the glacial pace of its successors.
In recognition of the overall quality of the writing, and because I’m feeling saucy (then again, when am I NOT feeling saucy, given that it’s virtually impossible for me to eat anything without spilling sauce on myself, which is true even when I’m eating something that doesn’t have any sauce, which is quite a feat of comestidigitation, I can tell you, and you can take that to the bank, or maybe just to the internet if, like me, you just do mobile banking and, like me, choose to no longer recognize “Internet” as a proper noun), we’ll round up from 3.5 stars.
*Not his actual name, but it might as well be. Man. That guy is just a bad luck magnet. He is to terrible things happening to him as I am to tripping over nothing in particular and then breaking into a light jog in order to pretend that was my intention all along.
What was that? I can't believe it ended this miserably, it would have been better if he died, I hate this book with passion, 900+ pages for this? 😠
It took me nearly three months to finish this book, I started Dec, 27th and finished on March, 20th, I read a total number of 26 books between the time it took for me to finish this book, it was not because it was overly long, it was just too frustrating and I refused to dnf it, they are like so many reasons why I loathe this book, its the worst ending to a series that I've read in my life. What annoyed me most about this book is that it has so much potential to have been good, if only the author have made it half its size and ended it well.
World building and Writing In the previous books I really enjoyed this parts of the book but here Miss Hobb ruined that, the world building is still okay but the unneccessary explicit descriptions of things that are not important made it boring and annoying, not to mention the internal monologue, it was so frustrating, the dialogues were still great but was very few.
Characters My favourite is still FitzChilvary, his life is just filled with sacrifice, misery and trauma. He was almost never happy, Nighteyes and The Fool tried but he is so depressesd, its a wonder he is not even suicidal, okay he is a bit, His family are the worst ever, it still surprises how he still moves on with his life, well he is stronger than a lot of people and he also has a big heart.
Verity disappointed me here, he asked too mich of Fitz, I know he loves him and all but it still doesn't change the fact, I know he'll do the same himself, but he has a choice and Fitz doesn't, I hate when he doesn't give Fitz a chance to choose.
Same goes for Kettricken, Chade and Burrick, how could they do that to him.
Molly don't deserve Fitz, I know he kept secrets and all but when he told her in the previous book, she believed he was lying, she even still thinks he lied to her despite all that has happened and the secret she kept from him, she choose for him just like the others.
Starling tried but just like the Fool said she did it for a song and position, I like that they became friends but the foundation was rocky.
Only the Fool and Nighteyes were there for him, and never asked too much of him, they instead sacrificed for him which is the true meaning of friendship.
Plot The book started just where Royal Assassin ended, with Fitz trying to adjust to his life after the ordeal, those first few pages were amazing then everything went downhill, it was like Miss Hobb wanted to torture us, all that happened for the next 400 or so pages was Fitz travelling with Nighteyes and for the most part alone and brooding and trying not to get himself killed, all the females he met suddenly want to have sex with him, I kid you not. I know Fitz is handsome and all but he admitted that after that ordeal in the previous book and him been just on a meat diet he looled like crap, sometimes people thought he was a begger, so how is it that they still want to have sex with him?
After that annoying section of the book with just Fitz and his thoughts, he finally had company, The Fool changed things for the better and other fun characters too, but that again was ruined by Miss Hobb with that horrendous ending, I refuse to accept that as the ending to this series, things worked out for everyone except Fitz, would it have killed her to make him a tiny bit happy?
To make matters worse, everyone was happy at his expense, his sacrifice made it worthwhile and it hurts that none of them even thought of him, Am sure none will do that for him, they just kept taking from him without thinking of what he was loosing.
Short of thirty-eight hours, this audio was exactly what I was expecting. I knew from a friend (ok ok, it was my husband) that the end of this book wouldn't be completely satisfying. So I was ready to be upset at poor Fitz's fate. Yet, when the ending happened, I was more impressed than anything else. What an amazing world Robin Hobb has created! I couldn't be anything but in awe of her writing. Her characters are so well crafted and developed that I was lost to her world. It also helped that I knew there was way more Fitz in other books and this was not the end of him and his troubles.
As the name of the book implies, our Fitz has a rude awakening after what happened at the end of the second book. Fitz is back, he is not a boy anymore and for a while, he wants to break free of his duty, he wants to seek revenge. He wants to run free like a wolf and do with his life as if it was his own to command. But was it truly a quest of self-discovery or was it Fate guiding him?
”No choice, no choice, no choice. Never any choice about anything. Fate had made me a killer, a liar, and a thief. And the harder I tried to avoid those roles, the more firmly I was pushed into them.”
In the end, Fitz does what he must. He must look for Verity and if that means searching for him in the most inhospitable places, he will do it but not without getting hurt but gaining knowledge and wisdom in the process. We also get some glimpses of Chade, Burrock, Molly, Nettle, and Patience thanks to the Skill.
Luckily, the last leg of his traveling is not done alone. The Fool, Kettricken, and Nighteyes are with him. Also, Starling, who was not a favorite of mine and I wasn't sure why she had to be there but having the other ones there and knowing that at least someone knew that Fitz was alive and what had happened to him made me happy.
Even though, I've told you I thought Robin Hobb did an amazing job at creating this world, my huge issue with her is what she did to Fitz. It's almost as she enjoyed writing his misfortunes over and over again. This young man has suffered and lost so much! How much pain and suffering does the main character have to endure before he can be happy in the end? I guess the long answer to my question will be:
7.00 in CAWPILE, so only just scaped a 4 star rating.
Although 4 stars is not a bad rating in anyone's mind, I must say I was disappointed by this book. It did not live up to the expectations I had of it in my mind. The only factor bringing the rating of this book up on CAWPILE is Characters, which I have consistently rated 9/10 as the characters are so well crafted. The Atmosphere, Writing, Logic and Enjoyment all came out at a 7 this time, so again not bad, but not fantastic. Plot and Intrigue both came out at a 6, which is where I am most let down.
This really felt like a book of two halves for me. The first half of this book was a total bore to me, and had me wanting to DNF it. I felt like the plot was going around in circles, and each time the same cycle happened, I found myself caring less and less for it. It was only around the 400 page park that the plot picked up and it felt like we were actually moving forward with anything. From that point on it was a much more fast-paced story and my intrigue was back up again. But 400 pages in... I don't think that was enough for me to rating plot and intrigue any higher than a 6. However, I recognise that if we didn't have these 400 pages of 'struggle' then I likely would have said something about how everything was overcome too easily - the struggle was needed, but perhaps only 200 pages of it would have done the job.
I, quite honestly, also found the ending to be a little disappointing... I wasn't emotional about any of it at all, but I suppose it was interesting how we got to that point. I enjoyed the unfolding of information and seeing the revelations, I just wish I was more emotionally attached to it.
I do believe that my favourite thing about Robin Hobb's books is her female characters - I find them the most compelling and interesting characters to read about, and do love how boldly they stand out in such a male-dominated genre of its time. I would love to read on more about Ketricken, learn Kettles back story in full, or see the life of Starling Birdsong.
That being said, I had a love for Fitz, and oh how I just wished for something good for the boy.
“When you try your best but you don't succeed When you get what you want but not what you need When you feel so tired but you can't sleep Stuck in reverse” - Coldplay
There is a kind of trope in epic fantasy where the Chosen One gets angry at being chosen, at what he has to sacrifice for the global benefit, and what a terrible time he is having. Frodo, Harry Potter etc. all go through this “woe is me” phase. FitzChivalry, the protagonist of this “Farseer Trilogy” does a lot of that in this final volume of the trilogy. To quote Prince (formerly “The artist formerly known as Prince”): “Shut up already, damn!” Perhaps a bit of Coldplay would have fixed him.
So! The final volume of The Farseer Trilogy – hurrah! I love reading final volumes of trilogies, it is an accomplishment of sorts (that no one but you cares about) and it also gives you a sense of closure. Of course, the series continue with new trilogies, but there is no cliffhanger to spoil your day. Assassin's Quest of course, moves right along from the ending of Royal Assassin where our hero Fitz was apparently beaten and tortured to death by the dastardly Prince Regal. Of course having much more protagonistic work to do he did not die but stuffed his soul into Nighteyes the wolf to be downloaded and restored into his body when the bad guys are not around. After recovering (about 80%) from his wounds and whining at his two best friends and mentors so hard they pack up and leave him, he goes off on the eponymous quest to find the missing Prince Verity who went off to a remote mountain range to find the legendary Elderlings to aid the people of his Kingdom. The plot sounds silly when I recount it but it actually is a damn fine story with oodles of plots, intrigue, excitement, characters and emo bits.
Fitz looking more mature in this older edition's cover
What I particularly like about this series is how the fantastical element is implemented (I dislike the term “magic system”, it sounds inappropriately techy for fantasy). Anyway, much of the magic in this series resemble that old Golden Age Sci-Fi chestnut “psi powers”, telepathy, premonition, psychic attacks, astral projection and whatnot; of course Robin Hobb has her own terms for these things. This helps to boost the believability of the series' universe for me. I am not a big fan of spells and incantations in epic fantasy, they just seem too Cinderella for my taste. Having said that things become much much more magical toward the end of the book but by then I was already so deep into the book I did not really care.
There is an elegance to Ms. Hobb’s writing that I tend to associate with female authors. However, she is also adept at depicting some very badass fight scenes. The characters are skillfully developed and quite vivid. The Fool continues to be the most unique and interesting characters in the series, though he is much less enigmatic here than he was in previous volumes. Nighteyes the wolf is much improved from his appearances in the first two books when he was basically just an annoying pup. In Assassin's Quest he is clever, resourceful, loyal and generally very lovable. My only gripe with the characterization is the central character FitzChivalry. For practically the entire book he makes the same mistakes over and over and complains incessantly. I don’t remember him being this whiny in the previous books. Ms. Hobb’s penchant for angst and melodrama also bogs the narrative down from time to time and made the book longer than it needs to be (757 pages).
Still, Assassin's Quest is a damn good read, mostly well paced and has a rousing climax. If you are looking for a fantasy series to read do pick up the first volume Assassin's Apprentice which Amazon has kindly made available at a very low price to entrap you into Hobb addiction, it kinda works. I am not sure I am on board for the subsequent trilogies of this series, they require a lot of time commitment and I feel the first trilogy is nice and complete by itself. Fitz should just acquire a comfy chair, kick back, smoke a pipe and start a stamp collection or something. I am glad I have read this trilogy, though, it’s pretty damn awesome. The Stone Dragon scene by John Howe (click to embiggen).
So, notwithstanding all the travelling, which I know some people find tedious to read, I loved this book. I think reading the Farseer Trilogy books in succession was definitely the way to go, as all 2000 or so pages really do sit firmly in my mind as a single tale.
Some (but definitely not all) favourite things from this final book:
*Hobbs' treatment of PTSD and residual trauma. Wow, just so excellently done, not just for Fitz, but Kettricken, and all the characters who suffered so in the making of this story.
*The relationship between Nighteyes and Fitz is an obvious highlight, and I love how it grows and changes. Nighteyes and his burgeoning personhood, as well as his growing relationships with others of his found family/pack was also a standout element for me.
*The dragons! Ok, these were truly awesome. Their emergence was harrowing, emotional, and had me trying to decide whether I was pleased or horrified (both, really).
Again Hobbs shows what a master she is at characterisation. If I have one complaint, it might be that Regal, while absolutely and truly horrible, is not quite as complicated as I might like. That's a minor complaint though in a huge cast of exceptionally well rendered players.
Overall just so excellent. As a whole, the Farseer Trilogy ranks among my all time favourites.
I’ve been dreading reading this book. I put this trilogy on-hold 4 years ago because of this infamous instalment. Surprise, I really enjoyed it. I have some complaints sure and I see why some people didn’t like it but it was a great read for me.
Ever since I have missed this universe, so when this illustrated edition made it on air, I had to have and reread it.
It's not the usual action-packed story, it's a bildungsroman, for both Fitz and the Fool, the main characters. It's slowly built and rather depressing (the main complaint from other readers), but to me it's perfect, one of the most beautiful stories ever written; her writing skills have no match.
And this illustrated edition is beyond gorgeous; it was a marvelous feast for eyes, mind and soul. I love it more than I can say.
This book has to drop one star because, although as beautifully written as ever, so much time is spent on the looooooooooong search for Verity. Even I was starting to get exasperated with the lack of action and I am a devoted Hobb fan. This trilogy was a re read and I was far more impressed this time than when I first read it. Having read the tawny man, liveship and rain wild series already, it amazes me that Hobb had such a full and detailed picture of the world she was building. She lays the foundations for all the future books in this first trilogy. Fitz is my main squeeze when it comes to heroes of epic fantasy. Nobody does the first person POV like Hobb.