Book Review

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb: Spoiler Review

“Why is it forbidden to write down specific knowledge of the magics?”

First line in Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

Author: Robin Hobb

Published: March 1996

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ll start off spoiler-free by saying that this sequel didn’t manage to live up to its predecessor for me. It was still amazing, though. All the court intrigue and the beautiful relationships between some of the characters were still there, all while Fitz is learning more about himself and the world. The writing is impeccable, so even though the story is very slow-moving, I was never bored.
That’s about as much as I can say without going into spoilers, so here’s your official SPOILER WARNING for the rest of the post.

First some quotes I really liked:

“The man who must brag for himself knows that no one else will.”

“The very name of your house is the future reaching back in time to you, and naming you by the name that someday your house will deserve. The Farseers.”

“Once someone knows you’re afraid of him, you’re never safe from that person. If I obey them now, they will come after me again To tell me to do other things, to see how far I’ll obey them in my fear.”

The rest of the post will be the thoughts I wrote down as I read the book to show you my initial reactions. I had a lot of (wrong) theories along the way, so I hope you have fun reading about my confusion.

🐺 Oh, poor Fitz.

🐺 It’s very difficult for me to decide which relationship I love the most: Fitz and Verity or Fitz and Lady Patience. Both are pure gold!

🐺 Okay, Fitz, I know you’re fifteen and in love, but please reel it in!! But despite Molly not being my favorite character, I really liked the thoughts she prompted about how Fitz is owned by Shrewd, and that affects who he is allowed to marry. Fitz is continuously reminded how he is not free to do as he wants, and it’s so interesting to follow how he navigates that and still takes what little agency he can.

🐺 So you’re telling me that Lady Patience, who doesn’t like crowds or socializing, came to Buckkeep to live what must be her worst nightmare… because she wanted to make sure Fitz was cared for? Emotionally wrecked doesn’t begin to describe the state I’m in right now.
But I really appreciated that conversation and that Fitz now knows about her motivations too. More of Fitz feeling loved, please.

🐺 Wall Ass 😂😂😂

🐺 We’re back to the Molly-thing again, and I’m kind of surprised that they slept together so soon, not gonna lie. Through all those declarations of love, my mind went: “He’s fifteen! He’s fifteen! He can’t marry!” And I’m glad that he’s happy, of course, but he’s also being stupid about it, so it’s not going to last very long. At the moment, he’s waaaay too happy, and that’s never a good sign in the middle of a book. I see pain coming.

🐺 Nothing’s really happening and it’s making me question everything! I’m even suspicious of Verity now. That whole thing about him being in Fitz’ head all the time is weirding me out. And he can tap energy from him whenever he wants to, basically. In any other scenario those things would be major red flags, right? But Fitz trusts Verity completely and doesn’t question any of it… which is why I do. Fitz seems to jump to the Regal-solution whenever something bad happens, and Regal is also the most obvious person to be behind any mischief. But that means it must be somebody else? I really don’t want it to be Verity. I’m rambling. Please give me answers!

🐺 I realized that I haven’t mentioned Nighteyes, but I really don’t know what to make of him yet. He’s quite different from the puppies we had in book one, and I really liked the puppies. I’m sure we’re going to see more of Nighteyes, but right now it feels like we’re just building his character, so I’m going to withhold my judgement for now.

🐺 I don’t understand anything that’s going on with Chade. Fitz has just told him about his suspicions about Regal trying to undermine Verity while he’s away and also poisoning the king… and Chade is surprised. I thought he knew everything? I mean, this development with Regal has seemed pretty obvious to me for a while now, and I was just waiting for Fitz to catch up. I thought Chade knew what was going on and allowed it to happen for some yet-to-be-revealed reason. Apparently not, so now I understand nothing again. Do I need to shift my suspicions to Chade?

🐺 Regal has an assassin?? Well, of course, he does. But it’s not Will? Or are they just trying to trick me? Should I know who it is? Is it the cook? Is this the person who’s responsible for all the messages not reaching Buckkeep?

🐺 Soooo my reading of Molly’s goodbye tells me she might be pregnant. That is the person she suddenly has a responsibility to, so she needs to leave Buckkeep to protect that child. Please let me right about this. But I really liked her “goodbye-speech” to Fitz where she has finally realized they can’t be together. A part of me also liked that speech because it meant she was leaving, and I’ve been waiting for that the entire book. Sorry.


🐺 Final thoughts: I was a bit disappointed with the ending until that final scene in the graveyard. That was some powerful shit! And it ends with Burrich calling Fitz ‘son’. Yeah, I’m dead.
Still a tiny bit disappointed with this kind of mellow ending without any big confrontations. Especially since most of the book was like that, so I had hoped that it lead to something more. I’m also disappointed with the fact that the “villain” turned out to be “just” Regal and the coterie again. They had the option of killing/exiling those in the first book, but chose not to for some weird reason. And now that reason feels like it was because Hobb still needed a villain. I had hoped someone new and smarter (possibly from those raiders) would step up and pose a different challenge to Fitz and his crew. I guess that possibility is still there for the final book.
Overall though, I loved this book. I love following Fitz no matter what menial task he’s doing, so even though this book was probably even slower than the first, I really didn’t mind. Had there been more POVs as you see in most high fantasy series, I would have hated the pacing because I just wanted to stay with Fitz.
However, from my thoughts above you might have gathered that I had a problem with the whole Molly-storyline. I didn’t need it, and their romance felt kind of forced to me no matter how many times Fitz claimed he couldn’t live without her. I was more interested in the court intrigue, but Molly distracted him from that, so she took over the focus of the story a little too much at times. Not enough to make me hate the book, though.

I don’t blame you if you laughed at my “Verity is evil”-theory because I did that myself when editing. So if you’ve read this and remember a crazy theory of your own, please share so I don’t feel weird. Otherwise, just let me know what you thought of this book, especially what you thought of it compared to the first book.

8 thoughts on “Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb: Spoiler Review

  1. I’m so happy I was finally able to read this now because this review was pure gold!! Wall Ass 🤣🤣 I can’t believe I forgot to mention that in my own review, because the Fool is just pure gold. Plus, I was having tons of Shakespeare flashbacks every time he said something, which made me love him even more 😍

    Also, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who interpreted Molly’s parting words as her being pregnant! I was afraid people would think I might be nuts for thinking that 😂 And I totally had the Verity is evil and Regal might actually be good theory, too, but that was mostly during book one. I was also convinced Chivalry might still be alive back then, too… So yeah, I don’t think I have any business laughing at your theories 😉

    And that Rosemary reveal! I didn’t see it coming at all! So obviously, I loved it 😊
    In general, I think our thoughts on this book are actually very similar. Although I did like that Regal was still the story’s main villain. It didn’t really strike me as weird that nobody did anything about him, since you do see that kind of stuff all too often in real-world politics…

    But overall, I loved this review! I really hope you’re planning on writing one for Assassin’s Quest as well, because I plan on reading that first thing in April 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never thought about that but there’s definitely something Shakespearean about the Fool. And I will never read the name Wallace the same way again 😂

      I also read Molly’s words several times because I was pretty sure she was pregnant but I could be wrong. I also remembered Fitz’s comment to the cook earlier where he says someone is pregnant to spread gossip. Not that he knew, but I kind of read that as Hobb having a laugh because it could only be Molly.
      So glad I’m not the only one who thought Verity might be evil 😂 I had such a good theory, though. Like, imagine the plot twist of someone named Verity being the biggest manipulator of them all.

      But I’m still sticking with my opinion on this book’s villain. Regal just strikes me as a second-rate villain because he’s so vain and kind of stupid. And there was barely any development in terms of the Raiders in this book, so I really hope we get that in the last book.

      Of course, I’m doing a similar review for Assassin’s Quest 😊 I actually plan on starting that one in a few days.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, I definitely read Fitz’s comment to the cook the same way! So I guess we’ll just have to start the last book and see whether we have amazing deductive skills or just terribly far-fetched theories 🤣

        I did think Regal’s vanity and stupidity made him a pretty realistic villain, though. Just look at some of our current political landscape 🙈 And I also don’t think he’s quite as stupid as he seems – the other characters do keep underestimating him, after all! But I do agree that we need more background on the Raiders! I still have no clue where they’re from and what their agenda is. I need answers!

        I’m stoked to hear about that next review, though 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

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