Assassin’s Quest is the final book in the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb (but not the last book in this story overall–that continues in The Liveship Traders, the next trilogy in her Realm of the Elderlings series). It continues the story of FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard born of the former heir to the Farseer throne, assassin, and catalyst of prophecies.
I had actually been putting off reading this book for something like three years and now I’m kind of mad at myself for that. You see, I liked the first book well enough but wasn’t blown away by it (except for the ending which was super exciting edge-of-your-seat stuff), but the second book was very frustrating. I almost threw the second book across the room because I was so angry at the characters. It’s very hard for me to get into a book if I can’t like at least one of the characters and Fitz makes it very hard to like him at times (especially in that second book). BUT. This third book changed all of that for me. Now I understand why people love Robin Hobb’s writing so much.
Honestly, it’s a little hard for me to review this one without going into spoilers, but I’ll say this: if you have put Assassin’s Quest on the back-burner because book two made you angry, consider picking it up. All of the things that annoyed me about Fitz (his indecisiveness, his selfishness, his inaction, his being a pretty crappy assassin–they’re all made better here in the final book.
First off, I LOVE the way this one opens and was hooked from the start. Fitz has been through some stuff, and he’s not himself, he’s barely a man and is mostly a wolf in a man’s body. Seeing everything through Wolf!Fitz’s eyes and watching Burrich’s and Chade’s reactions while trying to help him regain his old self was heartbreaking. I think I cried. I probably did cry. One of the other things I loved about this book is that Fitz has two main goals and spends the entirety of the book in pursuit of those goals–take revenge on Regal and find Verity. I really enjoyed seeing Fitz so focused. He was getting stuff done and nothing was going to get in his way. Of course, some of that was because he was compelled and he didn’t really have much choice in the matter, but it still felt good to see him taking action. There was so much character growth in this third book.
My favorite character in this series is The Fool and, although I was enjoying Fitz’s story a lot, I was very excited when The Fool showed up again. I love them together too, their interactions are probably my favorite things in the book. You do find out a bit more about The Fool in this one, but I know there are still many secrets, some of which might never be revealed. (I guess I’ll have to read and find out!) Other characters were great to revisit as well, including Kettricken, Burrich, and Chade. It seems everyone has gone through some changes. Chade is like a man reborn with a new cause and Burrich as well, but in a different way and with a much different cause. I liked the new characters that were introduced as well, even if Starling did grate on my nerves now and then.
I liked that we got to explore more of the Six Duchies and a bit beyond. I mean, it’s inevitable since this book is basically one long road trip traversing towns, rivers, mountains, etc. You find out so much more about life in the Duchies, and how they differ within different Duchies. We find out a little more about The Wit magic as well as The Skill and the Elderlings themselves. Although, much of it does remain mysterious at least we do get to learn some things. It never feels unsatisfying, even if it does make you wonder more about all the magic and history of the world.
So, overall, I really liked this book. Fitz has matured some and I’m really happy about that. I’ll definitely be reading further into the Realm of the Elderlings. 4/5 stars.