Robin Hobb: Royal Assassin (The Farseer Trilogy #2) (review)

RoyalAssassin-UKSo if anyone has any doubts about how I feel about this series, just look at the pace I’m reading them at. The first two books have been read in 10 days. 1200+ pages. I have definitely found a new favorite fantasy author and I have been longing for that. These books are clever and intriguing with well-fleshed out characters.
Including our main protagonist Fitz. When we left him at the end of the first book, he was in the Mountain Kingdom, having been poisoned several times and almost killed by Prince Regal but was saved by his very first puppy. Yes, Nosy showed up, saved the day and gave his life for the boy he had loved. How happy I was to see that Burrich hadn’t killed Nosy as both Fitz and I believed.
He struggles home to Buckkeep where he is greeted with joy by many – but not all, of course. One of the first days back, he happens to walk around in the small town next to the keep and is drawn to a young wolf pup who has been caught and put in a cage by an animal trader. Fitz buys him with the intention of feeding him and making him strong enough to survive on his own in the wild. But slowly the wild animal breaks down the walls Fitz has erected around him after having lost two bonded animals and the two slowly become pack. And so Nighteyes is added to the cast of characters. ‘My mother named me Nighteyes. I was the last of my litter to get my eyes open.’ Nighteyes is an amazing addition to the cast of characters and it is very clear that it wasn’t enough for FItz to bond with a dog – he needed a strong and wild animal, a woolf. But of course, bonding with a wolf and keeping a wolf at a keep is not necessarily an easy task. Not only does the wolf not quite understand boundaries – which can be awkward if you wish to get intimate with someone – but being Witted, being able to bond with animals this way, is not really allowed. If you’re caught, you risk being hanged over water and then burned. So of course Fitz try to keep Nighteyes a secret.
But with more and more tasks given to FItz from the King-in-Waiting Verity and with these tasks requiring fighting, working together with a wolf can be hard to hide. Especially since Fitz is not necessarily is the best fighter and Nighteyes sometimes have to save his life. As Verity comments at one point in this book, ‘The most distinctive part of your fighting style is the incredible way you have of surviving them.’
While Verity is working to save his kingdom from Outislanders attacking the people and turning them into emotionless zombies, the Forged ones, his half-brother Regal is doing his best to gain as much power as possible. And at the same time, king Shrewd is apparently being poisoned by his new man-servant Wallace and it seems that the only one paying any attention to the king is the Fool – who also happens to be one of the most mysterious, enigmatic and interesting characters in the book.
As is Kettricken, the Queen-in-Waiting, who struggles to find her place at a court which is so very different from the one where she grew up – and who is becoming dangerous to Regal when she finds ways to impress the people of both the keep and the country.
So what this boils down to, is some very clever fantasy. I love these books. Fitz is annoying at times but I’m still desperately rooting for him to succeed and find love with Molly, his childhood friend. And I think it is a compliment to Hobb’s writing that she can make her readers care about a main character who sometimes is rather annoying. Also I just love the animal aspect of these. I love the bond between Nighteyes and Fitz and there’s a lot of humor in the description of their relationships – especially when Nighteyes interferes where Fitz doesn’t want him!
I am so happy to have found a fantasy author who can make just want to read and read and see what happens to these wonderful characters – and who luckily has written a lot of books and seem to write a new one every year.

First line: Why is it forbidden to write down specific knowledge of the magics?

  • Title: Royal Assassin (The Farseer Trilogy #2)
  • Author: Robin Hobb
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager
  • Year: 2007 (original 1996)
  • Pages: 752 pages
  • Source: Own collection
  • Stars: 5 stars out of 5

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