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 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.
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.
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.
If you're looking for interesting, compelling characters, look somewhere else. Hobb and her works are widely celebrated, though I am unsure of the reasons behind this. The names of her characters are rather lazy, hidden under an excuse, but that is forgivable. What are less forgivable are the characters themselves. They are dreadful. The main character Fitz, must spend 80% of his time in the book lamenting over either his relationship with the wolf and other dogs, or his girl friend. It becomes very tiresome very quickly, but the book is extremely long anyway. Most of the plot twists are predictable, and the villains are not brilliant and do not deserve the success they have for so much of the book and series. It is simply that the heros are not heroic. I do not mean this is a: they are not knights in shining armor, instead they have dark sides kind of way. That would be good. Instead I mean the heroes are just bad at being heroes. Fitz and Verity and the Fool bumble for thousands of pages (over the series) and finally pull it together at the end. I do not enjoy reading about people whining and failing for no conceivable reason. I did not finish the series, instead looking up the plot of the last book on wikipedia out of a morbid curiosity.
I know I am in the minority in not enjoying this book, but with the wealth of other series and authors in this genre, I would not recommend this book. There are so many other series that are actually enjoyable and much more worth reading
Absolutely not. There are tons of significantly better authors within the genre who merit a chance instead (Martin, Cook, Sullivan, Sanderson, Jordan, Lynch, Abercrombie to name just a few)
Honestly, I was so distracted by the poor quality of the story itself that I didn't even notice the narrator. I'm sure he did his best.
Some of the concepts were ok, but there was nothing particularly worthwhile about this story.
Don't believe the hype around this author. This book is both a waste of money and of time.
The sequel showed no improvement over the first bland book in this series, despite what I was assured by a recommendation.
I enjoyed book one. It was a time of growth and learning for a very gifted child. I could understand his shortcomings in the first book. Book one works because it seemed to promise that Fitz would become this powerful skill user by the second book. Some things just do not make any sense at all. He has all this training on how to kill people silently and becomes wicked good with an axe, but is constantly punked by Regal and any other skill user. We only see the story from his point of view so why can we see what's happening but
on numerous occasions but he can not. The first book seemed to give us the promise if he could only live to grow up he would be a force to reckon with. All the good guys are really dumb and all the bad guys are really clever. There is no gray area the good guys are good and love the king and the bad guys are bad and want to follow Regal and bring down the kingdom. Thankfully I read some of the reviews for the next book and see that he will never reach his potential. I am not sure if I have ever been so disappointed with the sheer ineptness of a character with so much promise as I have with Fitz. I will not be reading any more of the books in this series.
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