Young Fitz, the illegitimate son of the noble Prince Chivalry, is ignored by all royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has had him tutored him in the dark arts of the assassin. He has barely survived his first, soul-shattering mission, and when he returns to the court, he is thrown headfirst into the tumult of royal life.
With the king near death, and Fitz's only ally off on a seemingly hopeless quest, the throne itself is threatened.
Meanwhile, the treacherous Red Ship Raiders have renewed their attacks on the Six Duchies, slaughtering the inhabitants of entire seaside towns. In this time of great peril, it soon becomes clear that the fate of the kingdom may rest in Fitz's hands - and his role in its salvation may require the ultimate sacrifice.
©1999 Robin Hobb (P)2010 Tantor
“Hobb manages to create a kingdom that looks like a fairy tale but feels like the real world---which makes it almost impossible not to become immersed in Hobb's fantasy epic.” (Publishers Weekly)
I average three books a week, but as I cannot afford to purchase that many books I frequently re-read those I already have. If you are here looking for reviews, I typically only review those books I feel particularly strongly about or have some insight that hasn't yet been posted in a review.
The problem with writing an entire book from a single perspective is that if the character fails to notice/understand something the reader does there is usually very little excuse for it besides stupidity/thickness. The reader possesses little or no outside knowledge but the character fails to make connections - this can become frustrating. Part of the problem is, I think, the reader (or perhaps the tone of the narrator, who is the main character but older) - it makes it hard to remember the character's age and lack of experience. That said, if you can keep your perspective this probably wont bother you too much.
This book has a great deal of plot development, but manages to leave us completely up in the air as to what direction the next book will take. As many questions are answered as generated. The romantic angle is hit especially hard - I was expecting the typical cycle of "fall in love, discover its doomed, succeed despite the odds and live happily ever after" but its more like "fall in love, doomed, more doomed, miracle, seriously doomed, screw it we're doing it anyway, DOOM, all is lost, oh look there are other girls, oh wait maybe not..." - poor guy gets the rug pulled out from under him over and over and over. The romantic angle is never my favorite, but at least this one has some variation (and I'm pretty sure its 90% done with for this series).
All in all this is a fairly massive setup for the third book, all the stages are set for something to happen - I just have no idea what.
This series has been one of my favorites for years. I have read them over and over again. It is a joy to listen to one of my old favorites while doing chores around the house or cooking in the kitchen. The writing, to me, it beautiful, the characters poetically described. I love these books.
I thought the first book in this series was quite slow. Royal Assassin doesn't break that trend, but for whatever reason, I didn't mind it as much this time. Fitz is growing up, and the story is getting much more interesting.
The best part of Royal Assassin is the political maneuvering. There's a lot less assassinating and a lot more vying for influence. Readers expecting fast-paced assassin ought to avoid this one.
The narrator is superb, the writing masterful. I only wish that it had been ten or so hours shorter, as I think it was padded with too much unimportant description and scenes. However, I still really enjoyed this book, and recommend it to any who love high fantasy.
I have read the whole trilogy before (a few times) and enjoyed the books. I definitely loved listening to the first two books of this series and hope that the third one also gets picked up by Audible. Fitz is so endearing to the listener that you cannot help but get lost in the story.
The sequel showed no improvement over the first bland book in this series, despite what I was assured by a recommendation.
Despite a not so good narration, this was way better than the first book. The ending was awesome and unexpected, and made me excited to read the next book. The hero really comes out in this one.
Soooo... you're an assassin. You've been trained to be both invisible and deadly. Not only are you an animal with a hand-axe, you've also got the ability to talk with wolves, dogs, horses, and whatever animal you wish. You swear loyalty to a prince, and watch as his ambitious younger brother connives to murder their father, usurp your prince's crown, bring ruination to his wife's reputation and sit idly by while evil magic pirates turn your citizenry into zombies (I know, right?)
BUT HERE'S THE THING! Nobody, and I mean, NOBODY, tells you to kill him. In fact, everyone says, for some reason, that killing him is the one thing you absolutely cannot do. Ever. Full stop. Even if, say, you're an incredibly skilled assassin and can make it seem like he died of dysentery, tuberculosis, a venereal disease, or (right, I can talk to animals) being mauled by a bear, YOU CAN'T KILL HIM JUST BECAUSE.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE. Even though you, your friends, your king, your assassination teacher, the court jester and the horse trainer all KNOW that he deserves to die in a cosmic justice kind of sense, and they all KNOW that he NEEDS to die in a sort of "let's save the townfolk from becoming magic-pirate zombies" way, they SWEAR they'll betray every single one of your secrets or abandon you completely if you so much as raise a hand to the task. What's more is they keep asking you to save them from whatever dumb mistakes THEY'VE made in the past.
So instead of saying, "Chill out, guys, I'll take the fall for this one. When the new prince takes power, he can pardon me of my crimes or whatever. Or he can exile me. No biggs," you go along with it. All of it. With only a minimal amount of frustration and anger. Simply a morose acceptance of "that's how things are."
Tell me that this is the way things would actually go down. Do it. Tell me. I am OKAY with gritty realism in fantasy. I am OKAY with morally gray characters. I'm hip with Banks, KJ Parker, and Joe Abercrombie. I get it. I do. But when EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER on the side of good (which totally and unquestionably EXISTS in this tale) acts like a complete LOON. Well, then, you have given me ample reason to never finish this series.
Kat at FanLit
FitzChivalry Farseer, who barely survived an assassination attempt by his uncle, Prince Regal, has returned to Buckkeep where the King, his grandfather, lies dying. His other uncle, Prince Verity, is exhausting himself by trying to keep the kingdom together in the face of increasing attacks by the Red Ship Raiders. The Raiders continue to capture and, through some unknown process, ???Forge??? citizens of the Six Duchies. When these Forged citizens, who are now more like animals than people, are released, they start moving toward Buck Keep. What are they doing? Do they have some sort of programmed mission? What is the goal?
When Prince Verity leaves the castle to look for the ancient (perhaps mythical) Elderlings, life becomes even more difficult for Fitz. He has the horrible job of tracking and killing the Forged Ones; he must avoid Prince Regal???s attempts to kill him; he suspects that King Shrewd is being poisoned; he has to keep secret his ability with the Wit; he has to make sure Kettricken, Verity???s Queen-in-Waiting, is happy and safe in her new home; he must stay away from Molly, the girl he???s in love with while keeping Celerity, the girl that King Shrewd wants him to marry, at arm???s-length.
It???s all rather grueling and the story becomes more and more intense as time goes on. Fitz has the choice to sit and sulk, or to suck it up and act like a man. Fortunately, Fitz has some allies who he knows he can trust: Burrich, the stable master who raised him; Chade, the assassin who trained him; Patience, his dead father???s seemingly scatter-brained wife; and the Fool, an enigmatic little fellow who sometimes shows up with a mysterious riddle that turns out to be exactly what Fitz needed to hear.
Royal Assassin is an excellent second book in Robin Hobb???s FARSEER SAGA. It???s full of action, great characters, intense emotion, political intrigue, and ugly treachery. It???s a little hard to believe that a teenager could be wise enough to be counseling royalty on statecraft and affairs of the heart, but it???s hard to resist FitzChivalry Farseer???s appeal as the inconvenient bastard of a much-loved dead prince. In the first book, Assassin???s Apprentice, Fitz was protected from his ambitious uncle Regal by King Shrewd and Prince Verity, but Shrewd is dying and Verity is gone, leaving Fitz to fend for himself. Hobb hasn???t treated Fitz well up to this point so, even though these events are related in the first person by a future Fitz, the reader feels no assurance that Fitz is going to be okay. And, indeed, he isn???t ??? the ending is surprising and devastating.
I???ve read these books before, but I can???t wait to torture myself again with the third volume of the FARSEER SAGA: Assassin???s Quest. This time I???ve been reading Tantor Audio???s versions which are narrated by Paul Boehmer who does a great job portraying some of my favorite characters in all of fantasy literature.
The first book of this series was great. I quit reading the second book prior to finishing chapter one. I do not like disturbing books. This book talked repeatedly about cutting throats, dismembering children, raping women, killing, blood, death, etc... Not my type of book.
I liked this book better than the first book. It had a better story and less filler. Only one more in the series and I hope it gets even better.
The characters come to life in this 2nd book and seem more alive and interesting. Easier to follow the story in this 2nd book.
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