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review 2015-06-24 23:27
#Assassin'sQuest: Loved the story, loved the characters...
Assassin's Quest (Farseer Trilogy, #3) - Robin Hobb

 

...But sometimes I didn't really love what the story did to the characters.

 

Still, we're talking about an epic quest that includes magic, swords, and (eventually) dragons. The writing is flawless. The good guys are noble and you want them to win. The Bad guys are evil and you want them to get theirs. All of that works out.

 

If I were writing, I probably would have given the heroes a more satisfying resolution than what they got. But I'm not the author. I'm just the reader. So I must be content.

 

But not just yet. Maybe I'll be content tomorrow.

 

Regardless, this is good, good stuff. I'm sticking with Robin Hobb for a while. Off to Liveship!

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review 2015-06-19 17:42
#RoyalAssassin: The Bad Guys Strike Back...
Royal Assassin - Robin Hobb

As great as I'd hoped. Don't want to write a review though, I need to find out what happens next. No one needs a detailed review of the second book in a trilogy anyway, just a good or bad.

 

Good. Very good.

 

But the bad guys are bad. Like, really bad, and they've come out ahead. I hope they get theirs in book three.

 

Speaking of book three...

 

I'm out.

 

The Value of a Star: Ratings Explained

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review 2014-09-22 00:26
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb

As you can probably guess by my rating... I adore this book. There's something very comforting about the writing that just grips me each time I read it.

 

I love all the characters even though all their names are silly. The main character, FitzChivalry, and all his friends, mentors, and enemies... the emotions behind all those relationships are so beautifully written that you can really feel the connections Fitz has with them.

 

This book is not perfect. Still, each vital ingredient that is necessary for crafting a wonderful book is present. I just always want more. I'll try to explain...

 

 

It is really short for an epic fantasy and some of the world building suffers because of this. The setting is what you'd expect from this genre and the magic system isn't ground breaking. Yet, I still love the choices Hobb made with her magic system and tying it in with the worlds own mythology and history. The magic is shrouded in mystery which, I suppose, makes it all the more interesting. There isn't much exploration of the Six Duchies, but the places that were part of the adventure were great. This is mostly because the writing is so good that you don't even have to try to imagine... it just happens.

 

The beginning also starts off weak. You have to really try to suspend disbelief while Fitz recounts his earliest memories.

This is an obvious hint at Fitz being an unreliable narrator that many might not pick up on the first read.

(spoiler show)

Another issue early on is time. There isn't a clear picture on how time is passing until you are told that he is finally thirteen. Seven years go by without many markers (besides seasons) and so it's a little unsettling. This section doesn't last long and these minor concerns don't continue as the narrative launches into the meat of the story.

 

With assassin as part of the title, some might expect lots of actual assassinations to take place. They don't. This book deals with the internal struggles of becoming an assassin as well as external conflict surrounding the kingdom (raiders and a zombie-like weapon) and the politics (power moves) of said kingdom. It's a coming of age story and so we see Fitz change as he acquires new knowledge/skills and we see him stick to his principles regardless of the struggle he faces to remain loyal to his kingdom. These internal and external conflicts are so well balanced, very fulfilling.

 

The ending is surprising in how different it is played out. I won't spoil anything here except to say that I love it when things don't go exactly how you would hope or expect. Things are tied up nicely even though there are a few topics that are left in mystery or that hit an unexpected roadblock.

Such as the resolution with his relationship with Molly.

(spoiler show)

Effective in leaving you wanting more. There's not a single moment of boredom in this book even when there isn't massive action... the writing is that good. Compelling to the very last page that I even stayed up past my bedtime to finish the last 10% this time around.

 

Even with these faults, I'm sticking to my rating. This is a book that every fantasy lover should read at least once. The other books in these trilogies aren't as special but are still worth reading because they are good (3-4 stars, IMHO). I won't be re-reading the entire series just yet... but I do plan to over the next year or two to get up reviews and refresh my memory before diving in to the new Fitz and the Fool trilogy.

 

Recommended for those who love character development... and animals! :)

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review 2014-04-24 23:20
Frustrating Finish
Assassin's Quest - Robin Hobb

After finishing Assassin's Quest, I was left wondering how after two good books this could was given to readers to finish up the Farseer Trilogy. Following Fitz's journey to regain his humanity then seeking vengeance against Regal and then journeying to find Verity has all the prospects of an exciting book, however the result was tedious details that were repeated every couple of pages and then were the info dumps that actually had to be rushed(!) before the climax of the book. And then after all the build up of the Red Ship War that the reader has been experiencing along with Fitz over two books, the end of the war isn't experienced it's described afterward to the reader's frustration.

 

There were plenty of bright spots throughout the book, even when some of them were tainted with the book's overall flaws. The magic of the Wit and Skill were better understood, the mystery of the Fool and his interest in Fitz, Chade's reemergence into public knowledge, and the unique type of dragons created in this fantasy. Fitz's interactions with a host of characters from familiar to new acquaintances was a mixed bag in terms of his character development, especially when it came to Kettle who Fitz should have verbally rounded on earlier than he eventually did.

 

Assassin's Quest is essentially a mixed bag. The book doesn't reach the level of bad, but it is disappointing as the finale of the Farseer Trilogy. If you've read the first two books then you should read Quest, but don't expect a fantastic finish.

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review 2014-03-25 13:21
An Exciting Continuation
Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy, #2) - Robin Hobb

The second installment of The Farseer Trilogy sees Fitz truly become a Royal Assassin as the Six Duchies is torn apart from by both external and internal forces. The majority of the book centers on Fitz's home, Buckkeep, as he assists his uncle Verity both physically and magically to help protect the common people. However their efforts are hampered by Fitz's other uncle Regal who uses the Skill-trained nobles trained by his own half-brother to disrupt communications and slowly kill his father, King Shrewd. To add to these complications, Fitz must first deal with his health, his love for Molly, and his Wit-bonded wolf Nighteyes.

 

The various intrigues and duties Fitz must keep juggling is a realistic struggle that is the book's strongest part, however as the book continues it also burdens the narrative the closer to the end than helps. Given the style of the book, as an autobiography by an aged Fitz, the reader always has in the back of their mind that any dangerous situation that Fitz is in that he'll survive because if he dies he couldn't write the story. However Hobb uses this knowledge to have a nice twist at the end of the book help Fitz escape his predicament right after the death of his grandfather, Shrewd.

 

Royal Assassin is a wonderful continuation of Assassin's Apprentice as Fitz grows not only as a character through struggles both personal and "professional." At the end of the book, the reader yearns to know what happens next to Fitz and all the characters Hobb peopled the fortress of Buckkeep with as the Raiders continue their campaign while the government heads inland.

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