The Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb (The Farseer Trilogy #3)
King Shrewd is dead at the hands of his son Regal. As is Fitz—or so his enemies and friends believe. But with the help of his allies and his beast magic, he emerges from the grave, deeply scarred in body and soul. The kingdom also teeters toward ruin: Regal has plundered and abandoned the capital, while the rightful heir, Prince Verity, is lost to his mad quest—perhaps to death. Only Verity’s return—or the heir his princess carries—can save the Six Duchies.
But Fitz will not wait. Driven by loss and bitter memories, he undertakes a quest: to kill Regal. The journey casts him into deep waters, as he discovers wild currents of magic within him—currents that will either drown him or make him something more than he was. (Goodreads)
The third novel concludes Fitz’s journey against the novel’s main antagonist, Regal and the Red Ships.
I absolutely loved the series. I could compare it to the epic of Game of Thrones and the narration of To Kill a Mockingbird where Fitz recounts his younger days as an assassin. The narration has a bittersweet note to it that foreshadows what becomes of Fitz. We know he lived but there were many occasions where I thought he would not, and despite the novel being one huge flashback, it still maintains the illusion that the narrator is in the present.
The character of Fitzchivalry is cold, calculative, and most times, sentimental, bitter and dumb as many characters already told him. I think there could be more from his character than a self-sacrificing man but that trait of his what makes him so complex and perhaps one of the things that keeps the novel going. The conflict of the novel becomes more personal as you read by and it is both the strength and weakness of the series. The external conflict, Regal and the Red Ships, were not as well developed as Fitz’s internal struggles that they only seemed like plot devices to throw Fitz into a dozen of difficult situations. I thought there would be more of Regal but he was quite weak as an antagonist, and the Red Ships less. The whole plot staggers because of this that I only gave it four stars.
The idea that Fitz is the center of everything mashes well to the Fool subplot, which kept me reading at times when I thought the plot was going nowhere. I adored the Fool and the series wouldn’t be more interesting without him.
One thing I loved about the novels is the imagery used in the Skill. I could almost feel the same as Fitz when he compares the Skill to nature, animals, to personal relationships to something quenching and satisfying as a drink under the summer heat. Robin Hobb excels so much in making the readers feel as they read that I was simply sucked into it. Never was there a dull moment while I was reading a description of the woods, the cities, and many more places. It was as if I was travelling with Fitz along and Robin Hobb maintains this quality from start to finish. There were times when she fills the pages with nothing but imagery instead of moving the plot and builds up a real and heartfelt atmosphere that is better than any action or suspense.
The ending felt rushed and anti-climatic. After the build-up with the Red Ships and the Elderlings, I think there could have been more struggle between the two, considering that they are strongly connected to one another and it’s dragons we’re talking about! Even so, I liked how it ended. I liked how Fitz chose not to join the battle and instead chose to end his story as simple as that. The story concluded as bittersweet as it had began and it’s one of the saddest endings I’ve ever read.
The Verdict: 4/5 Stars
Overall, the book is a beautiful, coming-of-age tale in the most unusual and magical setting, with delicate characters that you’d both love and hate. I’m going to read the Tawny Man trilogy next (because of the Fool), which I hope has a stronger plot with more intriguing villains.