Happy Friday, everyone!
I know, I know – two book reviews in one week? Even though I don’t particularly like writing them? Something must be wrong with me 😂 But then again, university started this week, and I need to make the most of being able to read and blog until the first homework assignments that will need grading start to trickle in! **Bleurgh**
But anyway, if you’ve been keeping up with me, you’ll know that I absolutely love Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy! I was beyond excited to find out how it ends, so obviously, now that I know, I need to put down my thoughts for posterity 🤗 Because even though I’m not the biggest fan of writing reviews, I do love going back and reading them, as well as seeing all of your thoughts in the comments!
Overall, Assassin’s Quest was a book that, despite being over 800 pages long, was a breeze to get through. I was just so invested in Fitz’s story and the fate of the Six Duchies that I had a hard time putting it down! I loved being back with these characters, and, let’s face it, no matter how infuriating Fitz is, he’s just someone you can’t help but root for 😊
Still, I have to admit that while the first half of the book was absolutely amazing, the ending felt a bit anticlimactic. Everything suddenly happened very quickly, and a lot of questions I had were left unanswered. So while I enjoyed the book, it also left me feeling underwhelmed, especially for a finale. And I was also slightly disappointed by how little focus some of the side characters got.
However, this series is still one I would highly recommend to any fellow high fantasy lovers out there, especially to those of you who like your stories to have a good mix of character-drivenness, world-building, and politics. This is a tale you can’t help but get invested in, and although I wish we had gotten slightly more information in this one, I do know that Robin Hobb has also written several other series in this world. So maybe well get more answers in some of those? 🤔 I definitely plan to read them and find out!
SOME GENERAL INFO:
Title: Assassin’s Quest (Farseer Trilogy #3)
Author: Robin Hobb
Page Count: 838
Publication Date: March 3, 1997
Date Read: March 31 – April 14, 2021
Rating: 4/5 Stars
And that, my friends, is about all I can say about this one without spoiling anything. This is, after all, the third book in a series… So if you haven’t read The Farseer Trilogy yet, maybe just go ahead and do that and come back once you’re done? 😁 (No pressure, though 😜)
But for those of you who have read this series and would like to discuss it with me, let’s get into some of my more detailed thoughts!
Warning!!! This next section contains major spoilers for the entire Farseer Trilogy!! If you haven’t read these books yet and don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading now!!
Look – I tried to organize my thoughts, I swear. But after reading hundreds of pages of epicness, I realized there was just way too much to talk about for me to ever be able to fit it into a stringent and coherent review. So you’re just going to have to bear with me as I jump around between loads of random things I deemed interesting enough to talk about 😁
🐲 First, after that enormous cliffhanger at the end of Royal Assassin, there was no way I was going to wait another second until I started reading the sequel! I needed to know what would happen! And honestly, those first couple of pages immediately had me hooked. I must admit, I had not been expecting not-dead Fitz to be quite so wolfy, but I thought it was a super interesting perspective to read from! And I love how it gave us a bit more time to explore the relationship between Fitz and Burrich 🥰
🐲 In general, I loved the first half of book. Fitz finally has to fend for himself and it’s kind of satisfying to see how much he sucks at it 🤣, there’s lots of Nighteyes, and, finally, more background on the Wit! Although I was a little disappointed Fitz didn’t squeeze a bit more out of Black Rolf and Holly. C’mon, this was your one chance to discover more about your magic! And then you eat a bit of dinner and just storm off after Regal? 🙄 Though yeah, Regal sucks, so I guess I get it.
🐲 Also, that failed attempt to assassinate Regal was pretty epic! It was nice to finally see a bit more competence from the enemy, since so far, it had always seemed a bit strange that Regal and his cronies were able to steal and hold onto power so easily. I mean, they weren’t exactly the brightest… So I loved getting to see a bit more cunning on Will’s part, and Fitz being dumb enough to fall right for it! Although I did think the way he got away was almost too easy. Sure, Verity compelled him, but he was still surrounded by Regal’s coterie with a fatal wound in his arm!
🐲 I was so right about Molly being pregnant! Then again, that isn’t really much of an achievement. Fitz was just plain old dumb not to see it… I’m not so sure how I feel about Burrich ending up with Molly, though. I saw it coming the minute he helped Molly give birth, and I definitely think that they’re a way better couple than Fitz and Molly and that Burrich would make a good father, but I would have wanted so much more for Burrich! Molly is just way younger than him, and apart from Nettle, they don’t really seem to have anything in common. I would have loved to see Burrich reconnect with Patience instead, even if it were just as friends.
🐲 And speaking of Patience, it was pretty neat that she was doing so much to help the realm and had basically taken over Buckkeep – but all of it was just hearsay! I would have loved if we’d gotten a bit more of her in this book 😥
🐲 But: The baby conspiracy was actually really cool! I love how the possibility of Nettle being the last Farseer heir brought a rift between Fitz and his friends, and how it made Fitz care about something other than his uncles for once. At least he had enough sense to come through for his daughter here! And it was also nice to see how much power Verity’s summoning had over Fitz, since it overpowered any feelings he had for his family.
🐲 I honestly have pretty mixed feelings about Starling. At first, I thought I would really like her – I loved how much she cared about music, how she knew what she wanted and pursued her dreams with absolute ferocity. And that scene where she cut Fitz’s beard for him had me grinning like anything! As soon as they were in the mountains, though, she just got weirdly obsessed with wanting to sleep with Fitz 🙄 Seriously, what is it with all the women in this series? Honey and Tassin were needlessly obsessed with him, too, and then even Kettricken started dropping hints that if Verity weren’t in the picture, things between her and Fitz might be very different. UUUGGGGHHH!!! No!!! Why, Robin Hobb, why?! Seriously, all of Fitz’s relationships with women in this series are just plain weird!
🐲 However, did I mention how much I love the Fool? It was so nice to finally learn more about him! I think I forgot to mention this in my reviews of the previous two books, but I’ve always thought he was absolutely hilarious, and I love his mysterious airs. Plus, he always gave me total Shakespearian vibes, and if you know me at all, you’ll know that that’s pretty much a guaranteed way to win me over 😂 However, it took me until this book to finally realize how close he was to Fitz in age! Seriously, how did I miss that?! I’ve read Assassin’s Apprentice several times by now, and imagined him completely wrong every time 🙈 Still, at least his personality was consistent with what I’d imagined, and, just like always, I was cackling over all his inappropriate jokes and the way he went out of his way to embarrass Fitz 😁 In general, I just really loved seeing his bond with Fitz developed more. And that gender discussion was a nice addition, although I do think it could have been fleshed out a bit more.
🐲 The Skill Road was one of my favorite things ever! Weirdly ensnaring magical objects that seem ordinary always manage to weirdly ensnare me, too, so I was living for Fitz’s weird behavior and Nighteyes’s terror over what was happening to him!
🐲 Speaking of the Skill, though – Did anyone else think it was mildly annoying that both Fitz and Verity were able to Skill exactly when it happened to be most convenient for the plot? 🙄 It was always, “No, you can’t Skill, Regal’s coterie might be watching”, or “No, Verity is too weak to Skill right now”. But then, they just went ahead and Skilled again, without any real consequences. Even Molly and Burrich were able to get away quite easily when, after chapters and chapters of hinting, Regal’s men finally found them. Although I did think Molly’s trick with the bees was pretty ingenious!
🐲 Like I already mentioned, I was pretty underwhelmed by the ending. As soon as Fitz and his companions found the dragon statues, the book just seemed to drag on and on. Nothing much happened; we got no real answers as to the history of Elderlings or the Red and White Ships. Just a few snippets. And I was really looking forward to learning more about Fitz’s mother, so Kettle saying that he could remember but just didn’t want to and Fitz trying to put all of those memories into that dragon seemed like the cheapest copout ever! Really, how can you tease something like that and not even give us a little bit? 😤
🐲 Also, once Regal was also in the picture, everything was suddenly resolved super easily and super fast. This showdown came dangerously close to the kind of deus ex machina ending that I absolutely hate. And seriously, all it took to wake those dragons up was dribbling a bit of blood on them and doing some Wit magic?! That was the big reveal?! I just wish the characters would have had to work a bit harder, go through a bit more character growth, and sacrifice more to get what they wanted. I mean, I guess Verity being a dragon now is kind of sad, but Fitz and Friends still seemed to get their kingdom back with very little sacrifice on their part. I really kind of wish someone important had died at the end, just so that I would have gotten to cry a little… I’m a little sadistic, I know 😅
🐲 I’m also a little bummed that so many new characters were introduced but gone again before we really got to know them. Josh, Honey, and Piper definitely had potential. As did all those people of the Old Blood. And Kettle was interesting, but most of her backstory was info-dumped on us all at once… I really think there were quite a few missed opportunities there! And yes, I am aware that this book was already monstrous as it is, but I would be more than willing to read over a thousand pages about Fitz and his companions 🥰
🐲 And speaking of characters: A lot of old side characters were in this, but did next to nothing, which was kind of disappointing. I get that it made sense for Chade, Burrich and Molly to be in the picture less, so that Fitz could learn to stand on his own two feet, but what about the others? Kettricken, for example, was around for half of the book, but hardly did anything. Which was really disappointing, because she and Verity are some of my favorite characters. Lacey was never mentioned at all. And the villains? They resorted to mostly being plain evil, with not a lot of depth to them. I would have loved to see their complexities explored a bit more.
🐲 Still, I just love these characters and the world so much that, despite its flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride this book took me on! Although it’s probably my least favorite in the series, I still liked it a lot! And I must admit, it was kind of satisfying to see Regal groveling to Prince Dutiful at the end 😂 And Chade’s ferret finally got its big moment!
🐲 Also, Hap seems really interesting, so I hope we’ll learn more about him in Robin Hobb’s other books. As well as more about the history of the Elderlings and the Red Ships, because I need to know more!
🐲 Finally, I’ll leave you with something to laugh about. Guys, I had an enormous revelation in this book. It seriously took “Out Islands” being spelled out next to the word “Outislanders” for me to realize that it was “Out-islanders”, not “Outis-landers”. I spent the whole trilogy wondering what sort of land this Outisland was, only to realize I had been dividing the word wrong in my head for years 🙈 I’m so dumb 🙈🙈🙈
But anyway, that’s it for today! If you’ve read Assassin’s Quest, I would love to know your thoughts on it and the Farseer Trilogy as a whole! Do you agree or disagree with anything I said? Did I forget to mention anything important? I’m pretty certain I must have, so feel free to tell me down in the comments!