Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: March 27, 2014 (first published March 1996)
Fitz has survived his first hazardous mission as king’s assassin, but is left little more than a cripple. Battered and bitter, he vows to abandon his oath to King Shrewd, remaining in the distant mountains. But love and events of terrible urgency draw him back to the court at Buckkeep, and into the deadly intrigues of the royal family.
Renewing their vicious attacks on the coast, the Red-Ship Raiders leave burned-out villages and demented victims in their wake. The kingdom is also under assault from within, as treachery threatens the throne of the ailing king. In this time of great danger, the fate of the kingdom may rest in Fitz’s hands—and his role in its salvation may require the ultimate sacrifice.
Robin Hobb sure knows how to write a slow moving fantasy. That may seem like a criticism, but I assure you it’s not. I love when a fantasy author slows down the pace and allows readers to simmer in the world and connect with the characters. Royal Assassin does just that. Readers follow Fitz as he’s stuck between a rock and hard place for most of the novel.
Fitz can be a difficult character to like. For most of the novel, Fitz struggles with his loyalty to the king and making decisions for himself. It really isn’t until his back is against the wall that Fitz finally makes a decision. This didn’t bother me as much as it did for other readers because he nature of Fitz’s character, in my opinion, should shield him from that criticism.
What I enjoyed most about Royal Assassin was the development of the magic system. I’m usually drawn to hard magic systems, but the way Hobb uses Skill and Wit in Royal Assassin is engaging. Do I wish it was more in-depth? Of course, but I always appreciate telepathic bonds regardless of how they’re used.
I found the last 100 pages to be slow. Most reviews speak to how the ending turned the book around for them, however I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I think the lead up to the ending events of the novel took too long, so I wasn’t able to fully appreciate it. I may reread the last few chapters before picking up the final book, Assassin’s Quest.
Overall, Royal Assassin is a solid fantasy novel that lets readers simmer in the world while engaging them with court intrigue and telepathic mind games. Though I enjoyed Royal Assassin, I need a break before picking up the final novel.
Have you read Royal Assassin? What did you think?