Royal Assassin Book Review

​​Title: Royal Assassin
Author: Robin Hobb
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 1996
Pages: 689
Goodreads Rating: 4.25
Rating: 8/10

“Wolves have no kings.”

How many trials and tribulations can one person reasonably take? Fitz puts that to the test in Royal Assassin. Join our main character as he continues to forge his own path forward while dealing with uncertainty, frustration, and loneliness. But is Fitz ever truly alone? He certainly experiences how one can be lonely while surrounded. 

Strong 1st half
Excluding the confusing start of the book, the first half of Royal Assassin is worthy of ten stars. I loved the scenes with Verity, Patience, the Fool, and Molly. Fitz’s character development moves along nicely and there’s considerable interpersonal relationship development. As the reader, you start to feel a substantial connection to Fitz and his companions.

I love a mentor character and the Farseer trilogy provides an excellent variety of mentors with Chade, Patience, Prince Verity, and Burrich. Each relationship holds a different meaning for Fitz as he gets a grumpy mentor in Burrich, a fatherly figure in Verity, a motherly figure with Patience, and a feisty mentor with Chade. All things considered, Patience has become one of my absolute favorite characters because of her quirky personality. 

Magic systems
The two magic systems in the Farseer trilogy are well developed. Neither are overpowered with each associated with its own limitations and consequences. If you use the Skill too often, you can waste away in the ecstasy of that power. Similarly, you can lose your grasp of humanity if you use the Wit to bond too closely with any particular animal. 

Beginning doesn’t line up 
At the end of Assassin’s Apprentice, Hobb shares how Fitz travels back to Buckkeep after an extended recovery following his poisoning. However in the prologue of Royal Assassin, Hobb starts off towards the end of Fitz’s recovery in the Mountain Kingdom stating that he has no plans on returning to Buckkeep. It felt like whiplash as I struggled to figure out what was going on. 

Too much plot armor
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’ve read Assassin’s Apprentice. So it shouldn’t be a spoiler to mention Prince Regal as one of the main villains. And boy does Regal have some substantial plot armor. There are points where Verity and Shrewd have a shocking amount of naivety, ignorance and lack of common sense regarding Regal as they seem to live in a constant state of denial.

Repetitive/slow pacing
In the second half of the book, Hobb becomes more and more repetitive as the pacing of the story slows to that of a snail. In the first book, I wished Hobb had taken more chapters to fully flesh out the ending. For Royal Assassin, I wish Hobb had condensed a few chapters into one.

Out-of-character decisions
Towards the end of the book, there’s an infuriating combination of unfortunate predicaments. During that time, Fitz seems to forget all of his assassin training and makes asinine decisions that hardly line up with his character. It is a clusterfuck of epic proportions. 

Given that the first half of the book was a 10/10 and the second half of the book had some unignorable flaws, I’ll give Royal Assassin an 8/10. With the final chapter in mind, I am extremely excited to start Assassin’s Quest. Hobb ends on a bittersweet note that leaves you impatiently anticipating what’s to come. 

Published by Caroline

Avid reader, board gamer, yogi, and photographer.

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