Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy #2) by Robin Hobb

Fitz has survived his first hazardous mission as kingโ€™s assassin, but is left little more than a cripple. Battered and bitter, he vows to abandon his oath to King Shrewd, remaining in the distant mountains. But love and events of terrible urgency draw him back to the court at Buckkeep, and into the deadly intrigues of the royal family.
Renewing their vicious attacks on the coast, the Red-Ship Raiders leave burned-out villages and demented victims in their wake. The kingdom is also under assault from within, as treachery threatens the throne of the ailing king. In this time of great danger, the fate of the kingdom may rest in Fitzโ€™s handsโ€”and his role in its salvation may require the ultimate sacrifice.

Fantasy, 675 pages, published in 1996

Fitz has survived his first hazardous mission as kingโ€™s assassin, but is left little more than a cripple. Battered and bitter, he vows to abandon his oath to King Shrewd, remaining in the distant mountains. But love and events of terrible urgency draw him back to the court at Buckkeep, and into the deadly intrigues of the royal family.
Renewing their vicious attacks on the coast, the Red-Ship Raiders leave burned-out villages and demented victims in their wake. The kingdom is also under assault from within, as treachery threatens the throne of the ailing king. In this time of great danger, the fate of the kingdom may rest in Fitzโ€™s handsโ€”and his role in its salvation may require the ultimate sacrifice.
[Goodreads]

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Content Warnings: torture

I was very excited to read this book because I was surprised by how much I liked the first one, but man, this one was honestly a let down.

THE GOOD

I feel like Fitz finally got to show his personality a little bit in this book!

I really enjoyed Kettriken as a character and getting to see her in action was cool.

There was some cool magic happening at the ending of this book, but it did feel a little rushed to me.

THE BAD

I was very much looking forward to learning more about the Red Ship raiders, especially since it is on the cover of the book (at least the illustrated edition), but I don’t feel like we really got a ton more information about them.

The entire ‘romance’ element of this book….absolutely brought this entire thing down for me. I’ve seen reviews were people say that it is such a good romance and I honestly, truly don’t get it. The relationship was built on what felt like almost nothing and Fitz was ready to give up absolutely everything for this girl. It didn’t help that I was picturing Fitz as a gangly 12 year old (he was definitely older than that in this book). Every scene with the two of them, or even when Fitz was just thinking about, made me want to immediately drop this book.

The end of the book felt…very convenient. After all the boredom beforehand, this was something I actually wanted more detail about, but it was rushed by.

I RECOMMEND THIS FOR…

I’m not sure who would enjoy this book. It is the highest rated of the trilogy, so there are obviously people who enjoy it. I’d heard that it that it is even better than the third book, which scares me because I was very bored throughout. There is obviously something that some people enjoy about this book, but I don’t know what it is.

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

Fitz is born a bastard to the King-in-Waiting, and automatically, he can either become a threat or a tool to the royals. Without much of a choice, he becomes a tool, learning to become an assassin while growing up in a court surrounded by enemies.

Fantasy, 435 pages, published in 1995

Fitz is born a bastard to the King-in-Waiting, and automatically, he can either become a threat or a tool to the royals. Without much of a choice, he becomes a tool, learning to become an assassin while growing up in a court surrounded by enemies.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content Warnings: animal cruelty, attempted suicide, child abandonment, bullying/abuse

I have to say, I went into this with a lot of preconceived notions. I don’t typically like older fantasy books, because I’m enjoying the trends and diversity of new fantasy. Also, this book and series are held in incredibly high regard, so that always makes me a little nervous.

For the first 100 or so pages, I was totally thinking that this book just wasn’t for me. It was boring and I could only read about 3 pages at a time, but then I hit a certain point, and I just couldn’t put it down! I ended up thoroughly enjoying it!

The book is from the point of view of an older Fitz telling his story from when he is 6 years old and freshly abandoned, to when he in his mid-teens. Another point this book has against it is that I typically don’t enjoy books that cover this much time, especially when told by the main character of their past. I can’t really judge if this was done well, but it certainly wasn’t done poorly.

Fitz’s story is so sad. He has pretty much no one he can trust, and as soon as he does, they get ripped away from him. He goes through so much in just the span of this book, and I know he survives it (because he’s telling the story), but I know he’ll go through even more throughout the series. I think this did a good job of endearing me to him. I just wanted to give him a warm drink and a hug and put a blanket around him, despite feeling like he doesn’t have a super distinct personality yet.

I really, really enjoyed the evolution of the relationships Fitz does have. They are kind of always in flux because of how precarious Fitz’s situation is.

There is one conflict at the center of this book that I actually really enjoyed. There is an external threat to the region and the way it was done was so cool! There were definitely parts that were genuinely scary if I thought about myself being in that situation.

My biggest negatives for this book were that the beginning was so slow and that there were hardly any female characters. I can understand this was kind of a product of it’s time, but I still would have loved to see more women in this.

There were a bunch of things left open-ended for the rest of the series, and I’m honestly really excited to hear more of Fitz’s story, as well as the rest of the series in the Realm of the Elderlings.

(Also, I got the illustrated editions with artwork by Magali Villeneuve and the art is stunning! Here are some of them (spoiler-ish), the one of the Fool is my favorite.)

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