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Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy, #2)
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SERIES—List & Discussions > Realm of the Elderlings--Royal Assassin: Finished reading (spoilers)!

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message 1: by Shel, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shel (shel99) | 2387 comments Mod
Post here if you have finished reading Royal Assassin. Spoilers ahead!


Anthony (albinokid) | 52 comments I finished and totally loved the book and am eager to talk about it with folks.


message 3: by Shel, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shel (shel99) | 2387 comments Mod
I finished it last night - had a marathon reading day on Thursday so I ripped through it in two days! This was a re-read for me but it's been many years - I remembered the general arc of the story, and I remembered the (very depressing) ending, but very few of the details. I have to go take my kids to their kung fu lesson now but I'll come back with more thoughts later!


message 4: by Chris, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chris (heroncfr) | 613 comments Mod
(Says with warm satisfaction) I really do enjoy these books. Beautifully drawn, complicated characters. I agree with the other comments, the seeds planted in these early novels bear fruit throughout the series.

Of course, this is the middle book of an arc, so its more difficult.

High points: relationships with Nighteyes, Kettrickan and Verity and Molly, Fitz becomes a man, Kettrickans model of a servant leader
Low points: Regal’s general snakiness, Forging and Red Raiders, lack of support for coastal duchies, pillaging Of Buckkeep


message 5: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kathi | 3365 comments Mod
A re-read for me but I had forgotten how unrelenting the disasters are in this book. Yes, there are moments of joy, love, and friendship, but betrayal, treachery, mysteries, and despair seem to far outweigh them.

Kettricken is one of my favorite characters in the first book and this one. And The Fool.

Molly is a frustrating character for me. While I understand both her feelings and actions, she still rubs me wrong.

Of the secondary characters, I like Brawndy, Lacey, and Hands.

Oddly enough, as much as many of the details had faded in my memory, I did remember to be suspicious of Kettricken’s maid Rosemary.

When I read these books the first time, I didn’t really understand that the Farseer Trilogy is really just chapter one in a much longer epic. I still have only read the 3 Farseer books, but now I know there is a lot more to the story. I am paying more attention to clues about both the past and the future, especially everything the Fool says.


message 6: by Shel, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shel (shel99) | 2387 comments Mod
Unrelenting is a good word. I was much more affected by it this time around, too; last time I read this I was not yet a parent, and I found the scenes with the Forged ones and the children almost unbearable - both when Fitz witnessed scenes of parents giving poison to their own children to prevent them from being Forged, and when he and Nighteyes tried to save that three-year-old from the Forged ones (my own daughter is three, so...yeah.).

The Fool is definitely a fascinating character. I have a vague memory of learning more and more about him going forward in the series, but I don't remember what those things were, so I'm excited to move on.


Lindsey | 402 comments Unrelenting is a good word. I'm about half way through my re-read and, while I have this visceral memory of how ugly this story is about to get, I'm greatly enjoying the growing relationship between Fitz and Verity. I love the moments where Verity remembers that Fitz hasn't grown up the way he did and tells him about his father or past events. I keep hoping that Robin Hobb is going to write a novel or novella about Chivalry.

I'm also seeing Fitz's feelings of being alone more clearly. First read, as a young adult, I sympathized greatly. This time, I'm still sympathetic, yet I can see that he's got lots of quality people to help him (Verity, Burrich, Chade, Patience, Lacey, etc.) but circumstances and his choices are forcing him to lie frequently, making him feel isolated. It's completely realistic to me that teen/YA Fitz sees it as isolation instead of a combination of choice and circumstance. It's a great example of Hobb's excellent portrayal of Fitz at a variety of ages.

Rosemary had me confused for a bit because I recall liking her, yet I remembered her betrayal here; (view spoiler) (spoiler for Tawny Man).

Shel, I definitely agree that this is a much harder book (and series, frankly) as a parent. I first read this trilogy pre-parenting as well and finished the Liveships trilogy after having my first child. Even reading scenes about how Fitz is treated as a child and what he's expected to do and learn... I can't imagine my oldest being taught poisons. I was part of another group doing this series and was the only reader there who enjoyed or was moved by certain scenes in Fool's Assassin, which we quickly discovered was because I was also the only parent in the group. So, IMO, there are parts of the series that are also better if you're a parent, even if this one is much tougher.


Wastrel | 40 comments It's not just about parenting - I found Fool's Assassin terribly moving, when I don't think I maybe would have at a younger age. I'm not a parent - although I have a young relative I've been watching grow up, which certainly helps - but I think there's just a general change of perspective as you get older. As you get to, as it were, the parental ranks, even if you're not actually specifically a parent of anyone yourself...


Anyway, one of Hobb's problems has always been pacing - but she gets it just about right here! It's slow early on, but gets faster and faster until the ending feels almost hysterical, almost delusional. I think it's maybe the best ending to a novel that Hobb's written - and so very dark. [later, of course, these will come to feel like the good old days...]


Kathi: to be fair, I'm not sure Hobb knew that this was only the first chapter when she read it. I kind of think she didn't - that she wrote what's in many ways a fairly straightforward, conventional epic fantasy (bastard prince, teenage assassin in training, etc). And only later on realised: ok, so what happens next?


message 9: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kathi | 3365 comments Mod
Wastrel wrote: "Kathi: to be fair, I'm not sure Hobb knew that this was only the first chapter when she read it. I kind of think she didn't - that she wrote what's in many ways a fairly straightforward, conventional epic fantasy (bastard prince, teenage assassin in training, etc). And only later on realised: ok, so what happens next?"
That could well be. I think sometimes authors think they are finished with a cast of characters, a story, or a world, and discover they have more to say, or they are enticed by good sales to find more to say. Thanks for pointing that out.


Wastrel | 40 comments I'd also further point out: I'm sure sales pressures have kept Hobb coming back to these characters and this world (Fitz novels sell better than non-Fitz ROE novels, and her non-ROE trilogy did even worse), but a big reason why such a long series is still worth reading is that it never feels like that's her motivation. Tawny Man doesn't feel like "let's re-write Farseer to make more money". It feels like an organic "what's the next chapter for these people?" expansion, not just a repetition...


Anthony (albinokid) | 52 comments Wastrel wrote: "I'd also further point out: I'm sure sales pressures have kept Hobb coming back to these characters and this world (Fitz novels sell better than non-Fitz ROE novels, and her non-ROE trilogy did eve..."

I’m glad to hear that the ensuing books don’t feel unnecessarily tacked on. Unlike some of the other folks who’ve posted here, this is my first reading of any of these books. I am loving them, and I’m very surprised that they’re not more renowned than they are.


DivaDiane | 187 comments Kathi: to be fair, I'm not sure Hobb knew that this was only the first chapter when she read it. I kind of think she didn't "

I’m glad to hear that the ensuing books don’t feel unnecessarily tacked on."

I don't know, I've really been noticing just how rich in details Assassin's Apprentice is, which are utilized in subsequent books of the series and I expect that to continue in Royal Assassin, although I haven't started my reread of it yet. Maybe she scoured Assassin's Apprentice for those things, which could be fleshed out later on, who knows? Either way, it makes things seem to follow on completely naturally.


DivaDiane | 187 comments This was my first reread of Royal Assassin after first reading it about 20 years ago. I have read Assassin's Apprentice 3 times, but not this one and my recall of details was sketchy at best. I remembered the grand arc and the denouement, and so I was pleasantly surprised that the retrospective foreshadowing continued. Meaning, there's a lot that seems insignificant when first read, but takes on added meaning once you've read the entire series (16 books).

There are so many ways in which this book is heart wrenching to read as a parent. Since this is the thread marked for spoilers, I'll go ahead and post them unveiled, because I have no idea how to do that! Anyway, Kettricken and the trials she goes through; Shrewd's utter devastation by Regal's acts; both Fitz' and Rosemary's use/abuse as assassin's, etc.

One of my favorite supporting characters is still Patience. Well, and Lacey too. Other favorites are the natural ones: Nighteyes, Kettricken, Burrich.

Regal is increasingly more like a puppet master in the background making all his paeans do his dirty work. He only showed up when it was Shrewd who needed to be guarded or at a banquet or something like that.


message 14: by Shel, Moderator (last edited Jan 18, 2019 09:42AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shel (shel99) | 2387 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "Since this is the thread marked for spoilers, I'll go ahead and post them unveiled, because I have no idea how to do that! "

No need to hide spoilers on the spoiler thread, but for future reference: include < spoiler* > (without the star & spaces) before your text and at the end < /spoiler* > (again, removing the star & spaces)!

I agree that it's even more heart-wrenching to read as a parent - I find that about a LOT of books these days, it's so hard not to picture your own kid in that role, right?

I too adore Patience :)


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