By Robin Hobb
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| Genre: Epic Fantasy, 13+
| ISBN-10: 0553573411
| ISBN-13: 9780553573411
| Publisher: Spectra (February 3, 1997)
| Mass Market Paperback: 688 pages
| Cover art by Michael Whelan
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 5 Stars
Once again, you live the story from within the mind of Fitz. You feel his frustration as he stands by helplessly while his friends, his mentors and his kingdom all fall apart. Not only that, but every time he attempts to make a move on his own, it turns out to be a bad idea. Fitz is not the only one feeling the strain, there are several great women in this tale who who have problems of their own.
Queen Kettricken, Lady Patience, Lacey, and Molly all appear to be the ones with the most backbone, and yet, even they are frustrated at every turn. Actually, frustration would be the word that describes this story best. All of the "good" people are relatively helpless and all of the "bad" people hold the winning hands.
There is treachery and betrayal around every corner, the spies are in turn being spied upon, the assassins are being stalked by other assassins, no secret is safe, and everybody has at least one secret. The one with the most secrets of them all is Fool. He (or is it she?) adds a deeper element of mystery and intrigue to the story. Combined, it all makes for a wild emotional ride.
Fantasy Series Book Review by Mulluane
♦ My Thoughts. My feelings for Fitz can be easily summed up by one phrase, "poor Fitz." This guy has very little going for him. He has one magical talent he must hide and another he cannot master. He has been abandoned by the man who raised him, his beloved King is dying, and he can not even do the job he was trained for, because only his king can command him, and the king is not even in command of himself most of the time. Besides that, I just want to shake Fitz at times, how can anybody be so stupid when it comes to women? Well, I guess Fitz even has an excuse there; he had no mother, no sisters, and no real female influences growing up, so in reality, how could he not be ignorant about women? You watch as Fitz and Prince Verity mishandle their individual love interests and the funny thing is, Fitz can clearly see what his Prince is doing wrong, and yet can not see what he is doing to his own relationship. I wanted to just shake them both! That should tell you just how deeply the reader connects with the characters in this story.
Now if you are not an emotional type person, this book may end up frustrating you. There is some action, a few fights, some intrigue, some mystery and definitely a lot of tension but the main focus is on the characters; how they feel, how they think, and how they react. Each character is distinct and well written. Every single one of them is flawed in some way, some more then others. Even the "bad" guy, Prince Regal, has understandable motives. You spend the entire journey into this story wishing that the right hand had a glimmer of what the left hand was doing, and then maybe, just maybe, something, anything would get resolved. It is like watching a movie where you yell at the screen "Look out! Behind you!" knowing the person will not turn around in time. I loved every minute of it. Folks who do not want to read a story that is about people struggling to do what is right, against overwhelming odds, and for the most part failing, are going to hate it. It is just that kind of book. The only complaint that I have personally is the prefaces. They are written by what is obviously a very old Fitz (meaning you know he will not die.) I hate those; they take a bit of the fun out of things because you know, in the back of your mind, that his life at least is not ever in true danger. I much prefer chapter prefaces to be "written" by a secondary, unimportant character. Not a huge deal, but one that annoys me.
♦ Conclusion. For a middle book, it is not bad. The pacing is a bit uneven. There are periods of fast action and there are periods given over to internal struggles with little physical action. There are questions that are answered, and there are questions that seem to get less attention then they deserve. Of course, those are the questions you will likely see answered in book three. Low-key characters reveal hidden strengths, main characters learn valuable lessons and some of the "bad" people get their due. Again, this is a character driven fantasy, the characters are the focus more so than the events. The content is mild, a few mild love scenes, mild language, moderate violence, some torture, and a few murders. Nothing exceeding PG-13. There is a cliffhanger ending and a rather dramatic one at that. Not a huge deal since all three books are readily available so you can go straight to book three and continue the story. Highly recommended for fantasy lovers who enjoy emotional, character driven fantasy!
Librarything Rating 4.18/5
Amazon Rating 4+ out of 5 stars
(239 Customer Reviews)
What Should I Read Next?
|Kindle: Royal Assassin|
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Epic Fantasy Book Review of Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy: Book 2) by Robin Hobb - Reviewed by Mulluane - on January 21 2009 - Rating: of 5 Stars