Two books concluding the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb
Royal Assassin #2 Farseer by Robin Hobb
Published 1996, 675 pages
My youngest son loaned me this series - it's one of his favorites and he's an avid fantasy reader, so I trusted his recommendation. I'm sure glad I did - this series is excellent. And this middle book is my favorite of the trilogy.
”For a moment I shared his bafflement that anyone could wish harm on these people, and shared, too, his fierce determination that not one more life should be lost to the Red-Ships.”
This installment continues the saga of Fitz and Verity and their attempt to save the country. Not action packed, but something is always happening. Intensely character driven, Fitz is again front and center as he tries to recover from the strains of his first assassination assignment. As he recovers at Buckkeep, he reconnects with his love, Molly, and his friend and mentor Burrich and assassin mentor, Chade.
Hobb's writing is outstanding - what a storyteller! She doesn't rely on 50cent words or complex, weird sentence structure. She just has the most engaging, straightforward style of storytelling that every time I pick up the book, I was immediately immersed in the story. The reader spends a lot of time in Fitz's head as he tries to sort out the politics of the Keep and the motives of the people around him. In spite of his best efforts, his manipulations often don't work out as he plans, so he keeps finding himself in awkward situations, or worse, in big trouble.
Fool has a bigger role - more of a friend and guide than the minor character in the first book. And that turns out to be a plus. Fool said,
"What good is a life lived as if it made no difference at all to the great life of the world? A sadder thing I cannot imagine. Why should not a mother say to herself, if I raise this child aright, if I love and care for her, she shall live a life that brings joy to those about her, and thus I have changed the world? Why should not the farmer that plants a seed say to his neighbor, this seed I plant today will feed someone, and that is how I change the world today? Each creature in the world should consider this thing, every moment of the heart's beating. Otherwise, what is the point of arising each day?"
The BEST part of this sequel is the introduction of a new character: Nighteyes. The magic of Wit and Skill both return and in spite of the consequences, Fitz finds himself bonded to a wolf that he names Nighteyes. My oh my, what an amazing character and the bond and communication they share is so strong, becomes so entwined, that it's soon the strongest connection Fitz has - they are Pack. Nighteyes offers his own pearls of wisdom here and there and they are magic!
The weakest part of the sequel is his relationship with Molly. Though the romance is handled fairly well, I did get a bit tired of him mooning over her and too much time was spent "oh woe is me" thinking about her. Other than that....excellent book with an excellent build up for the third book.
Reading Challenge: #BooklistQueen21 : book borrowed from a friend
Assassin's Quest #3 Farseer by Robin Hobb
Published 1997, 757 pages
It's rare that I read a series straight through - though I read the first one at the end of last year, I read these two basically back to back because I was just so caught up in the story. This installment weighs in at over 700 pages - and I think it was too long. I remain impressed with Hobb's writing - my God how DOES she keep it all straight and end up telling the story in such an engaging way? However, this time I thought way too much time was spent on the journey through the mountains. It got boring.
That being said, the world building in this series is stellar! The characters are fully realized and very interesting. The illegal king Regal is maybe the least developed....he's kind of always lurking in the background being nasty and trying to kill Fitz and Verity so they won't challenge his claim to the throne. But the driving force behind this sequel is Fitz's efforts to reach Verity who is still on his quest to find the Elderlings to save the country.
The introduction of dragons in the last quarter of the book was an interesting choice. To me that kind of came out of nowhere - I must have missed the signs along the way. The magic around the dragons was new and somewhat interesting with a couple of late surprises.
For me, this book wasn't as strong as the first two. I understand the Farseer experience continues in a new trilogy focused around the Fool - he was an interesting character so I'll likely delve into that series as well.....but not for a while. I'll take a break before jumping into another series of 600-700 page books.
Reading Challenge: #BooklistQueen21 : a sequel