Book Review #39 – Royal Assassin, Book Two of The Farseer Trilogy

Why is it forbidden to write down specific knowledge of the magics? – Robin Hobb.

I was drawn, very quickly, back into the world of Fitz and the Farseer family.

I loved the first one, Assassin’s Apprentice, despite it being a genre I’ve never really read before. The murders, the treachery and the bastard boy who has the abilities of both the Skill and the Wit were all factors which enticed me into the story and kept me reading page after page whilst sunbathing in sunny Bali.

Robin Hobb’s second book of The Farseer Trilogy Royal Assassin – is just as fast-paced with even more secrets and twists. In this part of Fitz’s life, we see him grow older, more mature and longing to have something as his own despite the vicious, complicated, secret life he leads. He would give anything to have his own life, to be separate from the court but still completely loyal to his King, Shrewd, and his King-In-Waiting, Verity. Alas, that will never, ever happen, for he is in far too deep to ever crawl, clamber and scratch his way out again. He has his own secrets, as well as the secrets of his king, and he must be forever wary of those around him who intend to hurt him in ways slower than death.

At last, we get to see more of a love story in the second book! I’m a sucker for love stories, especially unrequited ones. Fitz is never going to have a normal life, nor is he going to get his happily-ever-after with sweet Molly. I still have the tiniest spark of hope that it will happen at some point in his story; I do however doubt that happy ever afters occur in the world of the Six Duchies. We are blessed with the intimate moments between bastard and maid, who have to tip-toe in the night and half-ignore one another by day. They compliment each other but things are always complicated in Fitz’s world, just as they are straightforward in Molly’s. I adore Molly’s character: she is bold, strong and has her head screwed on. She has a plan, and she will stick to that plan so that she can survive. She has dreams, just as any seventeen year old has and a soft spot for Fitz who torments and lies to her over and over despite loving her unconditionally. She loves him, even though it tears her apart.

Due to his growing love and relationship with Molly, Fitz matures into a young man who is years ahead than his physical age of fifteen. He thinks like a man. He orders like a prince. He acts like a soldier. He kills like a wolf. I love his character. He is a strong protagonist who’s mind and physical traumas keep him awake at night. He is tormented by the things he has done alongside the things he has no control over. He is forever protecting his own mind and body as well as those he holds dear to him within the keep. He has his secrets, and he has his orders – which he follows obediently. On paper, he is no hero but he is the catalyst of the story and the one person who will save every person in the Six Duchies Kingdoms.

A new relationship comes to light in this book, and it is my favourite relationship of the entire series so far. A young, feral wolf called Nighteyes is Fitz’s saviour half the time in Royal Assassin. He is bound to him through the Wit despite trying to sever any ties or links between both of them. They are bound, thicker than the binding of blood and thicker than the binding of man, for they are a pack who hunt together, who play together, who protect one another at all times. The conversations between Fitz and Nighteyes are mesmerising to me because we see a wolf in a way that nobody has ever seen a wolf before: an intelligent being with family values and a loyalty made of steel. Fun fact: Robin Hobb has raised a wolf cub – we can understand the exact love and protective nature that is threaded and entwined within each word said of Nighteyes.

Blood and gore with shocking scenes plague Royal Assassin as the raiders savage the coastal towns, heading ever-closer to Buckkeep. The Forged ones are as deadly as zombies with no feelings or emotions, just a desire to scavenge and eat whatever comes their way, including human flesh. As shocking as the blood-thirsty enemies are, the enemy within the keep is much more dangerous. Prince Regal is charming but sinister. He wants the throne for himself and will do everything to get to it, even killing those who are ahead of him in line. He is conniving and he is a threat, with more allies than Fitz realises.

I’m taking a bit of a break between books as I don’t want to read the final book of the trilogy just yet. It is waiting for me on my bookshelf. I do wonder where Fitz’s life will be up to come the final page; there are so many more books in the world of the Six Duchies written by Robin Hobb than I realised.

Have you read any of The Farseer Trilogy? What do you think will happen to Fitz when the story finally finishes? Will the story ever finish? Or, will there be a cliffhanger that will make us want to tear our eyes out?

Love, Faye xo

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