Plot: Everyone believes Fitz is dead and with Regal as King, it is better that way. But an assassin cannot remain hidden in the shadows and as Fitz regains his humanity, he desires revenge on Regal, regardless of the consequences.
What begins as a quest to kill Regal soon becomes more when Fitz is driven to seek out the true king. Joined by friends, old and new, and his wit-wolf, Fitz journeys where few venture to find the true king of the Six Duchies. But the road is full of danger and Verity may not be the man Fitz remembers.
Quote: The Fool caught my eye, glanced meaningfully down at himself. `Green manhood? I really should have showed her,` he said quietly. And despite everything, despite even the glowering of my queen, I burst out laughing.
Opinion: Having fallen in love with Robin Hobb’s writing over the last two books, my excitement for reading Assassin’s Quest was high. The book gets stronger as it progresses, but I felt it was a satisfying end to the trilogy. The growing tension and danger gave the book intensity, but there were enough laugh out loud lines that this never threatened to become overwhelming. A difficult balance!
The plot is mainly split into two: Fitz trying to kill Regal and then Fitz trying to find Verity. I felt as if Fitz’ character had regressed during the first half and his constant disregard for his own life was annoying, even if understandable and a realistic reaction to what he had been through. When he once again had a purpose – finding Verity – the pace picked up, the tension grew and the characters’ determination to succeed strengthened the book.
In terms of characterisation, strong characters such as Kettle helped fulfil the role that Chade had previously done as mentor to Fitz. The return of Kettricken and the Fool helped Fitz prove himself. The Fool in particular had the most character development, especially as I had never realised he was close to Fitz’s own age, I had assumed older. Seeing Fitz make bonds with humans as well as deepening his connection with Nighteyes helped him to grow in a way not seen before.
Considering the book is over eight hundred pages long, I am not entirely sure what happens that gives is that length. There were a lot of chapters were nothing of note seemed to happen, as if often the case with long fantasy novels. That being said, I remained engaged and never once felt the plot was lacking forward momentum, even if it was just in terms of character development or overcoming fears.
I feel Robin Hobb truly knows how to write fantasy. It had all the elements needed to keep you gripped, with a perfect balance between hope and danger. I have thoroughly enjoyed The Farseer Trilogy and look forward to reading more of her books in the future.
If you enjoy pure fantasy and haven’t yet read these books, I recommend you change that!