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Young Fitz, the illegitimate son of the noble Prince Chivalry, is ignored by all royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has had him tutored him in the dark arts of the assassin. He has barely survived his first, soul-shattering mission, and returns to the court where he is thrown headfirst into the tumult of royal life. With the King near death, and Fitz's only ally off on a seemingly hopeless quest, the throne itself is threatened. Meanwhile, the treacherous Red Ship Raiders have renewed their attacks on the Six Duchies, slaughtering the inhabitants of entire seaside towns. In this time of great peril, it soon becomes clear that the fate of the kingdom may rest in Fitz's hands--and his role in its salvation may require the ultimate sacrifice.
From the Paperback edition.
- Excellent; although liked first book even better
Great book, tough to put down. Love the world that Hobb has created and developed. Really impressed by this series....more info
- First Rate Fantasy
Ever since I first read Lord of the Rings, I was hooked on fantasy. Since that fateful day many years ago I have read many of the conventional fantasy series most notably the Wheel of Time series. This trilogy really breaks all bonds of convention and makes way for innovation, creativity, and a strong dose of realism. The characters in these stories feel so real it will take your breath away. Never have I ever been so emotionally involved in a character as I was with Fitz. I literally could not wait to pick up the book again after putting it down to find out what direction he would be thrust in next, and whether or not he would get out of it.
At first, I did not think I would enjoy reading the first-person narrative style of Hobb's writing, but now I actually find it quite enjoyable and adds a whole dimension to the story and further connection to the character. Her structure is fantastic. Even when things may seem a bit slow, it is done for a reason, usually because you begin to feel anxious and impatient just as the narrator is.
These books are definitely page turners that are well worth a read. One of my favorite fantasy series to date. I look forward to reading the rest of the adventures of Fitzchivalry Farseer. ...more info
- King of Angst vs. Spoiled Palace Brat: Round 2
I always finish any series that I start. I can honestly say that I've never regretted this policy so much as when I was reading Robin Hobb's latest hack-work of fantasy.
The problems that plagued Assassin's Apprentice remain. However, it Royal Assassin, a new problem has arisen, namely, the characterization. Heavens above, how anyone can read this and call Robin Hobb anything but a lousy writer is beyond me.
Molly is probably the best example of this. I could almost see the strings that Hobb was using to direct her bizarre actions to whatever she wanted her to do. When the protagonist, Fitz, meets up with her in Buckkeep after thinking she was dead, she immediately becomes pissed off with him, because she apparently thinks he's a drunk(?) and was annoyed that he abruptly took off for the Mountain Kingdom instead of courting her, despite that she's a bit too old for him and he thought she had fallen for someone else.(Whoops . . .) She brushes him off and her does some more of his characteristic whining and angsting. However, shortly afterwards, when he breaks into her rooms to be sure that his nemesis, the Spoiled Palace Brat, hasn't killed her, she suddenly forgives him everything and falls into his arms.(Man, why do female authors seem to think that this creepy stalker behavior is so hot? This is beginning to read like the Twilight Series.)
Rinse and repeat. They develop a relationship that follows the same formulaic pattern throughout the book: Molly gets pissed off at Fitz, he angsts, he talks to her, and she suddenly melts into his arms and everything's okay, without any resolution as to why she is suddenly fine with what had previously driven her away from him.
If you don't believe me, pick up this book and read the chapter, "Tasks." If this isn't the most golden hodgepodge of abrupt character development, horrendous dialogue, and bad writing in the world of literature, I fear for the writing world.
I should also leave a warning: This book has some very adult content. I counted seven(!!!) fade-to-black scenes in this book. Of course, they are all very modestly described. When one of them commenses, Fitz stops narrating what's happening and recites some obscure poetry, monologues that scream, "CENSORED, CENSORED, CENSORED." Hey, Mrs. Hobb, why not just say Fitz is having hawt secks and be done with it?
Of course, all that is just one example. Burrich, Kettricken, Shrewd, and Verity seem to have forsaken their traditional archetypes in favor of inconsistent behavior that makes them seem like puppets on strings rather than actual characters. One shining example: The main characters' lives are threatened again and again, but they refuse to take action because, "The King didn't order it." Well, the King didn't give his stamp of approval to you sleeping with one of the servants, did he, Fitz?
Another one of my favorite examples: It is repeatedly hammered into the heads of the readers that it is not possible to be a King's man and to have a wife or significant other at the same time. This is absurd. We know from Fitz's life that being a King's man does not require his 24/7 attention, and I think loyalty to your monarch is a good deal different from romantic pursuits on the side. Royal Assassin would have been better off with this ridiculous preaching removed.
The plot is also screwed up. The beginning starts at a snail's pace, with little or no premise to the coming conflict save that the Raiders are still at it, and remains tortuously boring through half the book. Most of the plot consists of Fitz making his rounds to the different people of the Keep and chatting them upwith virtually no excitement happening save for some Forged Ones appearing around Buckkeep, which wasn't that exciting anyway.
"But," the rabid Hobb-disciple will argue, "this is a CHARACTER driven story! It's all about the intrigue!" Well, the intrigue isn't that good. You want to know what the intrigue in this book is about? Basically, 90-95% of all the "intrigue" in this book boils down to one of two things: Either the Red-Ships are causing trouble, or Prince Regal is up to no good. Even the few times I thought I glimpsed something that might be an original twist, it turned out that Regal was again the mastermind in the shadows.
Question raised: Why isn't the Skill working for Fitz?
Answer given: Because Regal had one of his cronies, Galen, damage it with his Skill.
Q: Why did Kettricken slip and fall on the stairs?
A: Regal greased them.
Q: Why was Verity able to leave on his quest so easily?
A: Regal supported this move so he could snatch the throne while Verity was gone.
Q: Why haven't the Skill messages from the coast reached Buckkeep in time?
A: Regal has taken control of the Skill network and is using it to his own ends.
Q: Why is King Shrewd wasting away? Sickness?
A: Nope. Regal had two of his minions skill-drain him.
Repeat this over and over again throughout the entire book: The Spoiled Palace Brat is behind everything. I wouldn't be surprised if, in the third book, it was revealed that he's secretly working with the Raiders.
In conclusion, Royal Assassin isn't any better than the first book, and if anything, worse. It's a real shame that such an untalented writer is able to bag such critical acclaim with these loser works. The last 50 pages were defintely the best in the book, but just weren't enough to make up for the +600 pages of boring I suffered through to get to them. It was satisfying, however, to get to see the Spoiled Palace Brat beat the s**t out of the King of Angst at the end. ; )...more info
- Brillaint declaration of high fantasy
"Royal Assassin" is a worthy sequel to its predacessor "Assassin's Apprentice". This is where our charming young hero Fitz really comes into his own in his strange little world where he is caught between the royal family with whom he can never quite truly bond and his duty as the court assassin.
The fantasy and plot continue to strengthen in this amazing novel, and open us up to an entirely new world outside the palace walls where Fitz grows into more than he ever dreamed possible. That is my testament to Hobb's talent at character development.
The characters are wonderful, and the entire book vibrates with intense mystery and passionate love.
I don't read a heck of a lot of fantasy, but this is certainly worth reading. Hobb is a wonderful writer with a marvelous sense of prose and a feeling for high fantasy....more info
- Better than the first!
This was the first time that I had read a book by a female author being the prejudice male that I am. For a debut trilogy in my favorite genre you have to blow my socks off, and she has. Assassin's Apprentice was great and introduced loveable characters that I could care for and follow their misadventures with an open heart. Royal Assassin was not only bigger but better. I thought that Regal would have taken a back seat to the Red Ship Raiders, I was wrong there. I thought that Molly would eventually wed Fitz, I was wrong again. So much has happened with Fitz over the cource of a few books that I thought I wouldn't be able to put the book down for fear of missing something. I finished the last half of the book just a few days ago and felt completely emmersed in the Six Duchees. I couldn't turn on the television afterwards without thinking of what is going to happen to in Assassin's Quest. Robin Hobb is totally different from conventional authors like Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind in that she has a way of keeping you alert on every page without having to spread the good stuff thinly over 1000 pages. The Farseer trilogy will sit on my 'favorite books' shelf for years to come...and I'm not even done with the story yet....more info
- Awesome author and spellbinding series
Fantasy fans must check out this author. Her plotting and characterization are superb and I tore through all three books in this trilogy in a weekend....more info
- Nice Stuff
Good writing that keeps you interested and with numerous well-crafted twists of plot. Ending, however, felt rushed, was far too fantastical for my tastes, and was generally dissatifying. As compared to the first in the series this was so-so....more info
- Farseer Trilogy, Book 2
Fitz has remained in Jhaampe in the Mountain Kingdom, recovering from the attempts on his life by his uncle, Prince Regal. In a dream of King Shrewd , he sees the suffering of the old king, as well as his beloved Molly about to be killed by the Red Ship Raiders. Fitz and Burrich return to Buckkeep, where Fitz find new challenges, new trials and new, albeit temporary, happiness.
Fitz and allies struggle to save the Six Duchies its enemies, as Regal plots to undermine Verity in a coup. Fitz becomes Prince Verity's agent in the field, being sent on missions to hold back the Red Ship Raiders. However, despite his best efforts, the Raiders grow stronger and bolder. Verity, who decides that the only hope for his kingdom is to go in search of the legendary Elderlings, mysterious semi-mythical sorcerers of the prehistory of the kingdom, sets out on a perilous quest to the far side of the Mountain kingdom. Fitz remains behind to secure the ailing throne, but quickly becomes embroiled in intrigues, one of which is to place him upon the throne.
This is the tale of FitzChivalry Farseer. The discovery that this illegitimate son exists is enough to topple Prince Chivalry's ambition for the throne. He abdicates, ceding the title of heir to the throne to his younger brother Verity and abandoning the child to the care of the stable master Burrich. The youngest prince, Regal, has ambitions of his own, and wishes to do away with the illegitimate FitzChivalry. But old King Shrewd sees the value of taking the lad and training him as an assassin. For an illegitimate royal can be sent into dangers where a trueborn son could not be risked, and may be given tasks that would soil an heir's hands.
And so FitzChivalry is trained in the secret arts of being a royal assassin. He shows a predilection for the Wit, a beast magic much despised in the Six Duchies. This secret vice in the young assassin is tolerated, for a partnership with an animal may be a useful trait in an assassin. When it is discovered that he may possess the hereditary magic of the Farseers, the Skill, he becomes both the King's weapon, and an obstacle to Prince Regal's ambitions for the throne. At a time when the rivalry for the throne is intense, and the Outislanders and their Red Ship raiders are bringing war to the Six Duchies, FitzChivalry discovers that the fate of the kingdom may very well rest on the actions of a young illegitimate heir and the King's Fool. Armed with little more than loyalty and his sporadic talent for the old magic, Fitz follows the fading trail of King Verity who has traveled beyond the Mountain Kingdom and into the realm of the legendary Elderlings in what may be a vain hope to renew an old alliance.
Robin Hobb's first series introduces us to the Farseer line of Kings, and a well detailed and scripted world of dragons and magic. In Hobb's world, magic is the power of the mind, and sorcerers come in two varieties: those with Skill magic, to influence the minds of men, and those of Wit magic, who do the same with beasts.
- frustration at every page
Overall the story is a page turner that will have you staying up all night to read. Characters have a good depth to them; with 5 or 6 with very realistic personalities that will stick with you throughout the story. The bad guy is a perfect example of a villain that will have you turning page after page to see his demise.
On the other hand this story introduces staggering amount of problems with no resolutions. The ending is one of the most wretched i have yet to encounter in a trilogy; basically the worse form of a "to be continued".
The characters have all these amazing powers that develop through the story (char development, key to all great fantasy books), also trained as a assassin. All of the "good" chars are supposely the to be fear types that are capable of great feats. Yet the "good" characters are completely impotent in using any of there abilities. The entire story is about them running around and avoiding confrontation for 400+ pages... Its like a story of complete wimps, the frustration you feel while reading is almost unbearable, many times i thought of putting down the book and picking another author...
I finally get to last chapters, and there is no END!!!! Just bigger issues are introduced and advertisement for buying the next book. If you do make the plunge and purchase this book, be sure to buy the third at the same time...
Then ending was so upsetting, i trudged out of my room, downstairs, booted up the ol' puter to write this review...
Come hear a tale of characters with marvelous abilities; characters with powers of stealth and strength, the ability to kill and read minds. The powers of suggestion are available to the characters; truly this is a wonderful bunch of heroes. But they are all wimps.
This book consists of nothing but one chapter after another of attempts on the lives of the various protagonists. An attempt is made on the life of every good character in the book and all they can do is wring their hands and complain that they cannot take action against the perpetrator. It is infuriating to read.
The characters possess wonderful skills that they will not use. And why won't they use them? Who knows? The time is not right, the king didn't command it. The excuses given defy belief.
Instead, one is asked to believe that every character in the book will accept these bumbling attempts on the lives of everyone they love, including themselves, without ever taking action. Indeed, the only action that the heroes in the book ever take is after detrimental results have already been suffered.
But don't worry, they will whine and complain about what is done to them and those they serve. If fact, the bulk of the book consists of nothing more than an attempt on every good natured character in the book followed by restraint and complaint. This makes for a painfully irritating read. This irritation is only aggravated by how long the book drags on. I don't mind long books, if they are taking me somewhere. Here, the author beats the drum for hundreds of pages without advancing the story anymore that to communicate that the players are exasperated with their circumstances. Of course they are! Their circumstances completely control them.
Also, the book's title is terrible. The "assassin" does not assassinate anyone for almost six hundred pages. The book does merit a rating greater than one star because of its ending, which may free the characters up to act in a manner that is believable, but I wouldn't count on it.
This implausibility has been central to both books, and seems to be a part of the author's style. I like the world the she has created. I like the characters, in theory. But the execution is so poor; the players' reaction to the stimulus so unbelievable, that it really detracts from what could be a great book.
Hobb, you're going to have to better than this to gain a following from this reader. I have, however, already purchased the third book - I bought all three together - so I will finish the trilogy and report to you here if the series and the author improve.
- great book!
I was thrown into this world in book one, and book two, Royal Assassin, just keeps me more entranced with the storyline and characters. Robin Hobb does an excellent job of writing books able to stand alone, and Royal Assassin does just that.
Fitz is trying to recover from his betrayal in Assassin's Apprentice. He hates everything about Regal, but has also sworn to protect the Farseer line, giving him conflicting loyalties. He also has both the Wit and the Skill, but is scared of those who use the Skill, especially those in the coterie.
Verity is trying to protect his people with his Skill and his fleet, but both are wearing him out. Finally, he can't do it any longer by himself and needs the help of the Elderlings, who saved the kingdom many years ago. Not knowing who or what they are, Verity leaves the kingdom in search of them, but also leaves the kingdom vulnerable to Regal and the Red Ship Raiders.
The conclusion to this book is one of the best I have ever read. I don't remember stopping for anything in the last 100 pages. Even with the ending, it had me thirsting for more with Robin Hobb's hints toward the next book. I highly recommend this book to fantasy and non-fantasy fans alike....more info
- A dark and realistic sequel, keep it up!
I agree with brannonc below when I say the book covers leave a LOT to be desired; I disagree with users like eryk and judah who view the good guys as wimps that repeatedly suffer at the hands of the bad guys in spite of having various powers like the Skill, the Wit, the King's support, etc. The one thing that really strikes me about this series is how realistic (an oxymoron for this genre I know) the protagonist's response to Regal's evil-doings is: nothing. It reminds me of stories that might take place in medieval Europe with peasants living under an unjust aristocracy. All you can do is watch and wait while bad things happen. Yes, Fitz is of royal blood, but only Shrewd's power shades him from the dangers of the court politics. This is realistic because everything is so clandestine. No matter how sweet it would be to simply throttle Regal's throat, a promise is a promise and Fitz and company need to rely on a cat and mouse game like the Cold War where everything happens backstage unseen to the general audience. If you read Le Carre spy novels or understand the CIA's proxy methods, then you will appreciate this novel and why the characters act (or don't act). However, if you don't have the patience for real character development or the intrigues/realities of the game of thrones, then skip ahead to Book 3 whose prologue sums up 1/2 of this novel in 2 pages. ...more info
Plot Summary: As described in the countless other reviews, Fitz is a wounded character now due to Prince Regal's treachery in the Mountian Kingdom. He is also being attacked in various ways throughout this book, mentally and physically. All the people he loves and trusts are either dissappearing or being hurt due to their acquaintance with him. The King is dying, the Prince is gunning for the throne and Fitz is stuck between his duty and his desires. Such are the trials of one assassin to the king.
Opinion: I still like the series. In fact I like this book better than the series opener, Assassin's Apprentice. Fitz and his associates are all good characters to read about. I care for them. I hate who I am supposed to hate and suspect who I am supposed to suspect. I was surprised by a few of the twists in the novel, but others were fairly predictable. The story moves along pretty well starting with the return from the Mountain Kingdoms to, interestingly enough, well....I don't want to say how the book ends. The Six Duchies change as much as Fitz does in this book and some of the change (in the characters and in the Duchies) strains credulity but not too much. Overall things take a turn for the worse, one just has to accept the small personal victories as a counterbalance to some of that negativity.
Recommendation: Read it. 4.5 out of 5 stars. I look forward to reading the conclusion to the series...more info
- One of the best fantasy series of all time...
This entire series from Assassins Apprentice all the way through the Fool books has been incredibly good. Once I start them, I can't put them down. I suggested this book to my brother & several friends & they all became addicted to the series too. The characters are intense, the plot is fascinating & I've even reread them several times which I NEVER do. Can't recommend Robin Hobb enough....more info
- Finally, a series worthly to rival "The Lord of the Rings"
Robin Hobb is a master of story weaving. I am not especially fond of fantasy, but a friend turned me on to this series, as well as the Liveship and Tawny Man series. To maximize the effect of these interwoven novels, read them in that order (ie., The Farseer Trilogy, the Liveship Traders Series, and the Tawny Man Series.) The depth of the stories, as well as the richness and development of the characters easily rivals my all-time favorite series, The Lord of the Rings. Robin's work is truly a mastery of story telling. In fact, the only complaint I could conceive with her books is that they are too detailed (much in the same fashion of The Lord of the Rings.)...more info
- The Emotional Roller Coaster Continues
Truly after having become instantly enamored with Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin had me hooked before I even finished the first page. I will begin this review with my sincere puzzlement in the fact that there is so much overhyped fantasy in the world by highly decorated (see award winning) authors that it amazes me to no end how the Farseer trilogy tends to slip through the proverbial cracks. This series is easily on par with the efforts of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire and perhaps some of the finer moments of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time.
That said, this tale picks up literally where the first book ends (with no recapping) and continues in the first person narrative of Fitz Chivalry as he recounts his life in effort to document the history of the Six Dutchies.
Like before, the imagery is just stunning and Hobb once again demonstrates that her greatest strength as an author is through development of incredibly rich characters that the reader can't help but feel like they know personally.
Perhaps therein lies the greatest source of frustration mingled within the beauty of this series: Robin Hobb isn't afraid to let the bottom drop out and does so very frequently. They say that hopelessness is a powerful literary tool (and certainly a motivator to turn the pages in effort to find resolve). The trouble some have with Hobb is that resolve is painfully slow to come (and often times doesn't come at all). Readers were treated to a taste of this in the first book but it pales in comparison to the mental and physical torture they will endure through Fitz's eyes in this one!
Without giving away too much of the plot's key moments, let me just summarize by saying that nearly everything Fitz has worked for comes crashing down by the conclusion of this novel. How Robin Hobb plans to tie up all of the loose ends of the saga in the third entry (Assassin's Quest) is truly anybody's guess. Although I must confess that it will be nearly impossible for anyone (regardless of how frustrated) to finish this book without desperately seeking the third entry with ravenous passion.
Upon completing Royal Assassin last night, I concluded that:
1) Robin Hobb may just be one of the most powerful authors in our time and certainly one of the most under appreciated in the fantasy genre.
2) This series is absolutely gripping in every sense of the word but requires a reader willing to "ride out the storm" in the distant hope that resolve will come.
3) Readers who rely on fantasy to escape the drudgery of daily life/ world affairs may want to steer clear of this entire melancholy-riddled saga. This book has the ability to cast a gray cloud over the mood of even the most optimistic reader (that can follow into real life).
4) If you decide to forge through this book, have the third entry handy- it ends on such a note that you just may find yourself standing outside the bookstore at dawn waiting for them to open....more info
- The whole world collapses for Fitz, a wonderful read!!
Once again I was VERY impressed with Hobb's writing and world building skill. After reading the first two books of this series I almost feel like I actually know the characters. A couple of them I really like and a bunch of them I really hate. It really makes it interesting when the author can actually make her readers care about the characters. While this book might not be as complex as some of the other popular fantasy out there (George R Martin, Robert Jordan) its still a really great read and I would reccomend it to anybody!
In Royal Assassin, Fitz has come back from the Mountain Kingdom knowing that he has enemies and even knowing who they are while still not being able to do anything about it. Its incredibly frustrating for him to watch as his world is wrecked all around him and him being powerless to do as he wishes because his King forbids it. Throughout the book, bad things just keep happening more and more and Prince Regal gets more and more blatant with his treachery until it all comes crashing down in the last part of the book.. The next in the series should be really great. Hopefully Regal will get whats coming to him (as Im sure he will!)
Definite *****!!...more info
- Remarkable Second Installment
With the second volume of the Farseer trilogy, Robin Hobb has certainly written a compelling saga strong on characterization. The first volume saw young Fitz growing as a boy and learning the ways around the court of Buckkeep, the capital of the Six Duchies. It seems to me that once Fitz was able to grow into his teens, the author finally has more freedom in making him the center of the happenings. Whereas Fitz was mostly a spectator in Assassin's Apprentice, he now tries to direct the action in the court; whether he is cleverly manipulated by others or truly acts on his own is an interesting question. This novel is less a novel of action or of epic proportions. It is obvious that Robin Hobb has no interest in becoming another Tolkien or Jordan. This is a novel of court intrigue, machinations, moves and countermoves. And Fitz finds himself with far more to deal with than he can chew. The characters are even livelier and interesting than in the first novel. I found it remarkable how Fitz seems to grow from page to page as he becomes more observant and active with the daily activities around him. From a boy, he becomes a man, with the unfortunate resulting consequences. The only drawback I found is that the underlying moral seems to be that the more resposibilities you shoulder upon yourself, regardless of your intentions, the more ruthless your enemies will act toward you. And, goodness, are they ruthless. Perhaps i was hoping for a traditional hero, and Fitz tries his best to be one, but Hobb yanks him back again and again....more info
- Save your time and money
I've read a good amount of fantasy and I've never come across a book that was as grotesquely misnamed as this one. I read Assassin's Apprentice and it was a decent read but still too long at 435 pages. Do yourself a favor if you read also read it: STOP THERE!! Royal Assassin is 675 pages and I would think that a royal "assassin" would have a hell of a lot more confidence in himself and his own decision making ability and also would have assassinated someone well before page 550 but that just isn't the case with this book. When he does finally kill his first victim in the book, it is a lowly guard who is in his way and the author never really says that the guard actually dies, only that he was very incapacitated and might die. The next time the Royal Assassin kills anyone is nearly 75 pages later and he simply goes on a rampage of killing, not any kind of sneaky assassination. I think Miss Hobb needs to learn to develop her plots a lot faster, with less talk. And if the payoff for sludging through 675 pages in her books is always as week as this one was, I wouldn't recommend any of her books to anyone. I started the 3rd book, Assassin's Quest, (only because I already owned it) and was planning on using it as speed reading practice. From what I've read so far, Ms. Hobb seems to be using the dialog in Assassin's Quest to explain away all the faults with the second book. Save yourself some time and money and, if you really must know what happens in this book, go to the Book-a-Minute web site and read what they wrote about this one. It is very accurate....more info
- A boy and his dog, part 2
I must start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed book two, a bit more than one, though that was a 4 star book. I would have liked to see more expansion on the magic elements of the story, and suspect that is to come in book 3. But having said that, Fits has grown into an amazing and durable character. Challenged by faith, stamina, and character in ways we can not imagine enduring ourselves. Prince Regal goes to extreme lengths to grasp and claw for power, even to gain the throne. Night Eyes the wolf has a jaw dropping surprise to aid Fitz. All the multilayerd characters develop nicely into believable people you care about. Robin Hobb has it right, this trilogy will become a permanent part of my library to be enjoyed over and over.