I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Fitz and The Fool Trilogy, The Farseer Trilogy, The Liveship Traders Trilogy, The Tawny Man Trilogy
Published by Harper Voyager on August 12th, 2014
Nearly twenty years ago, Robin Hobb burst upon the fantasy scene with the first of her acclaimed Farseer novels, Assassin’s Apprentice, which introduced the characters of FitzChivalry Farseer and his uncanny friend the Fool. A watershed moment in modern fantasy, this novel—and those that followed—broke exciting new ground in a beloved genre. Together with George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb helped pave the way for such talented new voices as Scott Lynch, Brandon Sanderson, and Naomi Novik.
Over the years, Hobb’s imagination has soared throughout the mythic lands of the Six Duchies in such bestselling series as the Liveship Traders Trilogy and the Rain Wilds Chronicles. But no matter how far she roamed, her heart always remained with Fitz. And now, at last, she has come home, with an astonishing new novel that opens a dark and gripping chapter in the Farseer saga.
FitzChivalry—royal bastard and former king’s assassin—has left his life of intrigue behind. As far as the rest of the world knows, FitzChivalry Farseer is dead and buried. Masquerading as Tom Badgerlock, Fitz is now married to his childhood sweetheart, Molly, and leading the quiet life of a country squire.
Though Fitz is haunted by the disappearance of the Fool, who did so much to shape Fitz into the man he has become, such private hurts are put aside in the business of daily life, at least until the appearance of menacing, pale-skinned strangers casts a sinister shadow over Fitz’s past . . . and his future.
Now, to protect his new life, the former assassin must once again take up his old one. . . .
Hey, its my birthday today! What better day to review this book?
I fell whole-heartedly in love with Robin Hobb’s books when I was in high school. I was deeply enamored with her Farseer, Liveship Traders, and Tawny Man trilogies, and suffered both all the bliss and all the heartache that came with being such a fan (you know what I’m talking about). Even now, Robin Hobb remains unquestionably one of my top 3 favourite authors of all time, and hedges closely with my emphatic love of George R R Martin. I just freaking love her more than words can say.
So naturally, when the news broke that a full decade after I had bid my personal farewells to Fitz and the Fool, another book would be coming out to further their tale, my reaction was something like this….
Tears. Joy. Terror. EXCITEMENT! Whats more, getting an ARC copy to read early nearly put me over the edge of my sanity. I was elated, and yet so nervous! Anyone who has read a Robin Hobb book knows that she is the master of emotional investment, and the master of stabbing you in the fucking heart with the torment and misfortune that befalls everyone you love and care about in her world. To finish a Robin Hobb book is to accept you will be in a daze, for a good couple days afterward, processing all the amazing, and yet excruciating things she’d put you through!
I had made my peace, a decade ago, with the ending of the Tawny Man trilogy, and now I was going to open all those old wounds. Would she deliver again, the same level of compelling emotional investment of me? Would my romanticized memories cast this new book in a much paler light? Nervous though I was, I dove right in…
Robin Hobb, you delivered again.
Oh how she delivered! Fool’s Assassin picks up with FitzChivalry Farseer in a place you would never expect to find him — living peacefully with his one true love, Molly, and her children. He is surviving, almost thriving in his life at Withywoods. Though he still pangs with lonliness at the loss of Nighteyes, and his lack of contact from the Fool, and although he still masquerades as Holder Tom Badgerlock, Fitz has left his former life of an assassin behind.
Or so he thought. Come on, this is Robin Hobb after all. Fitz is dragged back into the elements of his old life when he receives a series of mysterious messengers, who he determines to have come from his long lost soulmate, the Fool. But the messages are barely delivered, half uttered mysteries and riddles that leave Fitz stymied. Where is the Fool? What sort of danger has he put himself in? Fitz’s journey to uncover these answers will be rough, arduous and confusing.
In Fool’s Assassin, Robin Hobb introduces new characters – Bee, Fitz’s unlikely daughter is the easiest to love, as she struggles through the world from day one, but proves to be as resilient and insightful as her father. There is Shun, who had no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and a new bastard, FitzVigilant, who earned little sympathy from me as he just seemed stupid. But she also reminds you of those precious characters who have been lost, recalling Fitz’s intense lonliness without Nighteyes, and without any contact from the Fool for so long.
And when we are finally reunited with the Fool, it is a jarring, heart wrenchingly cruel moment that shocks you into the bitter reality of all that he must have suffered in the book gaps. What’s more, it comes so near the end of the book that is just barely a tease of this beloved character! We are forced to wait for the next book for all the answers this development inspires!
If that were not quite enough, the book ends with a dramatic cliff-hanger scene to leave you clawing like a rabid zombie to read more, and the last line of the book damn near killed me…
“Nothing warned me on that bright day that the darkest time of my life had begun.”
What!? WHAT!? How is that even possible!? I can’t even imagine!! I’m already dying for the next one to come out.
Once again, Robin Hobb has wildly succeeded in drawing me in, rekindling my deep fanatical love for her characters and her writing abilities. She is a genius — a cruel one, yes, but one I will continue to treasure. She is not at all rusty, and if you were a fan of her previous books, this is a MUST READ.