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Assassin’s Quest (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 3): 3/3 Paperback – 27 Mar 2014
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'What makes her novels addictive is not just their imaginative brilliance but the way her characters are compromised and manipulated by politics'
‘Hobb is superb’ Conn Iggulden
‘Hobb is a remarkable storyteller’ Guardian
About the Author
Robin Hobb is one of the world’s finest writers of epic fiction.She was born in California in 1952 but raised in Alaska, where she learned how to raise a wolf cub, to skin a moose and to survive in the wilderness. When she married a fisherman who fished herring and the Kodiak salmon-run for half the year, these skills would stand her in good stead. She raised her family, ran a smallholding, delivered post to her remote community, all at the same time as writing stories and novels. She succeeded on all fronts, raising four children and becoming an internationally best-selling writer. She lives in Tacoma, Washington State.
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Firstly, the criticism of the Kindle edition:- were there some spelling errors? Perhaps, they really didn't stand out to me and any there were certainly didn't spoil my enjoyment. The errors mentioned by a previous reviewer re. punctuation and lack of clarity regarding when characters are having a wit or skill conversation has been fixed - the reader is left in no doubt when characters are talking to each other "out loud" and when they are having a skill or wit conversation so do not let this put Kindle readers off as it would no longer appear to be an issue.
Some reviewers have expressed a view that the novel is overly long and a tad repetitive, retelling parts of the previous books as well as recapping what has gone before in the current book. While I can understand that this might grate on some, for me the recapping was brief enough to be a gentle reminder and not long enough to be annoying. As to the length? Yes, the book is long, far longer than the previous 2, but it could have been double the size and it wouldn't have been enough for me, such is my enjoyment at immersing myself in the world of Fitz and his companions (and adversaries)!
It's true the first two thirds of the books focus on the journey, but this was not a distraction for me. I loved Robin Hobb's ability to describe the various places Fitz visits on his journey and the people he meets along the way. Fitz has ups and downs as with all the books, and I do agree with one reviewer who wished that (just once) Fitz would get a break, but then by the third book the reader should not expect all to go as planned - Ms Hobb always has a little surprise up her sleeve!
Nor did I find the ending too rushed or disjointed. By the time the reader has reached the end of the journey where we find out whether Fitz has succeeded or failed in his goal to reach his King, it's fairly clear where and how the book is going to end. For me, the ending did not need to be as long as the rest of the book - the journey was the main story line for me, along with what happens to the people from Fitz's old life. And it was damn good to see what Regal had made of himself and hope against hope that he finally gets his comeuppance. Does he? Read it and see!
I loved this book, as I loved the previous 2. Some people were clearly disappointed and I would not beg to say they are wrong as its a very subjective thing. For me, I devoured this trilogy and cannot wait to meet up with Fitz again. I have already downloaded part 1 of the Liveships trilogy, as apparently one should read these next before the Tawny Man series. Liveships is not a continuation of Fitz but certain parts of it are referred to in the Tawny Man series and the pedant in me likes to do things in order.
Grab a copy of Assassin's Quest, boil your kettle and settle down for a thoroughly enthralling read!
The story starts where Royal Assassin finished, and the next steps are somewhat logical: Fitz has to recover and so on. He ends up in the Mountain Kingdom after a torturous route involving an assassination attempt, and that's where it goes wrong for Hobbs. The book loses cohesion, and there's a lot of wandering, almost in the style of Robert Jordan. The book climaxes at the end as you'd expect, but even this is something of a let-down, again, a la Jordan. The ending had me thoroughly dissatisfied, and it seemed incomplete.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that Hobbs doesn't really integrate the Skill in the book particularly skillfully. While she doesn't fall into the trap of using it to solve every problem, although she comes close at times, its restrictions within the book start to wear away at the suspension of disbelief. There's a little subplot about the Fool being female, but even this isn't resolved particularly well. The battle between the coterie and Fitz/Nighteyes is also somewhat strained.
I really wanted to enjoy this book, but it's a poor end to what was turning out to an excellent trilogy. Important facets were not given the attention they deserved, such as the Red Raiders, and the introduction of large abandoned cities and hallucinations wore away at the plot, leaving this reader almost as broken minded as the Fool.
I am also disappointed that the whole premise of the trilogy with its titles of "Assassin's ..." was basically completely dropped by the third book in favour of "magic and dragons". Did Fitz really ever assassinate anyone at all? Maybe that was some grand point by the author but to me it felt as if Hobb arbitrarily decided to change tact somewhere in the second title.
Overall I think this trilogy is still worth a read but if you are reading this then you are probably in the same position I was: finishing what you have already started.