Title: Royal Assassin
Author: Robin Hobb
Series: The Farseer Trilogy #2, Realm of the Elderlings #2
Published: Harper Voyager (First published March 1996)
Pages: 648 (Paperback)
I really liked Assassin’s Apprentice. I loved Royal Assassin. Hobb’s writing is just so damn compelling.
“The man who must brag for himself knows that no one else will.”
Royal Assassin picks up right were Assassin’s Apprentice left off. Fitz has survived his trip to the mountains, but just barely. He vows to turn his back on his oath to King Shrewd and remain in the mountain kingdom. But, he’s pulled back to Buckeep by feelings of love and a sense of duty. Upon his return, Fitz is entangled in court politics and plots against the King while helping Verity fight against the Red-Ship Raiders and the forged ones.
“To finally confront the worst there is, to look it squarely in the face and say, “I know you. You have hurt me, almost to death, but still I live. And I will go on living.”
Like the first book, Royal Assassin is a slow-paced, character driven story. But, also like the first book, the narrative is all the better for it. Hobb’s methodical approach to this story and her masterful prose really pull you in. You truly care about these characters – you feel their joy, and rage, and sorrow, and resentment. In this installment, we get to see Fitz’s relationships with all the side characters develop. We see him interact with the major side characters Burrich, Verity, Kettricken, Patience, Molly, The Fool, Chade, and King Shrewd. And we see how each of these relationships effect Fitz and the choices he makes – for good or for ill. And, of course, the shining star of this novel – Nighteyes. Nighteyes adds so much depth to this story, and I loved watching his bond with Fitz develop. Nighteyes has this frank and unapologetic view of the world that provided a nice balance to all the scheming, and his steadfast loyalty was heartwarming. People don’t deserve wolves (or dogs).
”Nighteyes, my brother. How do I thank you?
Stay alive. A pause. And bring me ginger cake.”
There is some seriously dark shit in this book. Hobb took the stakes from the first book, and she raised them. But, it keeps you invested. You need to know what happens, how it all ends, and who makes it out. This story pulls at your heartstrings, and you just want to pull Fitz in a hug and tell him that everything is going to be okay. Even though you know it absolutely isn’t. This may not be a fast book, but it is a gut wrenching one.
“It was possible to be homesick for a time, and to be lonely for the only other person who could recall it.”
This is a book about strength and weakness, and making the hard choices because somebody has to. It’s about being there for the people you love when they need you most, and what happens when you aren’t. There is love and loss and grief and bitterness. There are relationships that grow and those that wither. There are secrets and revelations, twists and turns. And I was invested in this story from the word go.
I am so excited about book 3. But, I’m also super nervous because I know they aren’t all going to make it out alive, and I don’t know if my heart can take it.
Trigger Warnings: torture, abuse, death of a child, depictions of seizures, talk of miscarriage, talk of suicide