“I awake every morning with ink on my hands.”First line in Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb
Author: Robin Hobb
Published: March 1997
Series: The Farseer Trilogy #3
I finished my first series by Robin Hobb and now fully understand what I’ve been missing out on. This is just quality Fantasy. There’s no other way to put it. In this final book, we leave some of the court politics behind to go with Fitz as he travels the Six Duchies. The development of the magic is one of the core focuses, and it was great to learn more about its intricacies. Other than that, this book proves that Fitz is still an idiot, but we all love him anyway, so even though this final book in the trilogy didn’t quite stick the landing, in my opinion, it is still one of my new favorites series. The characters and the world are things I need more of.
That’s about all I can say that is spoiler-free, so here is your official SPOILER WARNING for the rest of the post.
First some of my favorite quotes:
“I wondered if there was any way to live amongst other people and refuse to be harnessed by their expectations and dependencies.”
“We both knew his hunting prowess accounted for most of the meat that we ate. Yet he never begrudged me an equal share. Find that in a man, if you can.”
“When you can either laugh or cry, you might as well laugh.”
The rest of the review will be the thoughts I wrote down as I read the book. I had a lot of theories, but I was actually right about a few of them this time (unlike my theories during Royal Assassin, lol). I tried to keep it brief, but it’s a long book and I had a lot of thoughts. Enjoy!
🐉 It’s impossible not to notice that we’re starting the book out the same way as the second one: Fitz hurting and recovering in some capacity. Generally, all the Wolfy Fitz scenes gave me a bigger understanding of why Burrich didn’t want him using the Wit in the first place, and I really appreciate that. Those two first chapters were so strong! Experiencing Fitz with the mind of a wolf was so engrossing, and then he clashes with both Burrich and Chade, definitively severing ties with them, and my heart broke into a thousand pieces. But I really liked it for how representative of depression that whole scene was. Fitz lashes out at the people around him and pushes them away because he is so angry. He’s angry at himself and his situation, but it manifests as anger towards the people who care about him.
🐉 So he was attacked by the Forged ones to show how deeply traumatized he is from being tortured? Cool, cool. I’m fine. Totally fine.
🐉 I find it a bit humorous that Fitz is out there representing introverts by constantly expressing how lonely he is, but whenever he’s around people, he’s trying to get away from them as fast as possible. It’s okay, Fitz. I get it.
🐉 Okay, so Fitz going after Regal before finding Verity seems like something that’s going to backfire. He’s obviously not going to succeed in killing Regal before we reach the book’s halfway mark. It seems like Fitz didn’t listen to Chade and is still only thinking of himself instead of the consequences of his actions. Verity clearly needs him!
🐉 HA! I was right! But seriously, Fitz, how was that ever going to work? I did enjoy seeing him as an assassin again, even though he’s terrible at the job. He basically walked into that place without a plan, and the kills he made weren’t exactly covert. However, the trick Will plays on Fitz to catch him by making him see what he wishes to see… that was kind of awesome, except for the fact that, you know, he’s with the bad guys. But it really showed that Will is one to be scared of. Oh, and just like Fitz, I had totally forgotten that the knife wouldn’t have poison on it anymore. He made that cut rather quickly though.
🐉 MOLLY WAS PREGNANT! I knew it!! And Burrich is with her. That’s really nice. But then Fitz wanted to turn around and go back to them. NO! Go and find Verity, you idiot!
🐉 Kettle is reminding me of Lady Thyme. So now I’m analyzing every mention of her to figure out if she’s Chade. Probably not, but you know, she’s kind of rude, keeps to herself and only eats and drinks stuff she’s prepared herself. It would also make sense for Chade to want to go to the Mountain Kingdom as well, whether it be to look for Kettricken or Verity.
🐉 I kind of like Starling. Please don’t betray him.
🐉 Okay, scratch that Kettle-is-Chade theory. My new interpretation is that she’s important because she’s looking for the Fool (aren’t we all?). A White Prophet? There’s just no way that’s not the Fool. And her talking about a catalyst has me very intrigued. Who is this woman??
🐉 How about a “Let Fitz have a pain free day”-challenge? Is that too much to ask? He got shot in the back!!! With an arrow!!! This isn’t funny anymore, Hobb!! At least it got him reunited with the Fool. And honestly, the Fool being all soft with Fitz is the content I’m here for. Give me more!!
🐉 Changed my mind on Starling. She hates the Fool so I hate her. I really thought she was smarter, but the Fool’s analysis of her is so accurate. She doesn’t know how to deal with people who don’t love her. She’s also that annoying journalist-type character that believes she’s doing something important when she’s really just being selfish.
🐉 The Fool is a woman?!? No, no, no, no, no. You’re bullshitting me, Starling. That’s… no. I’ll accept that he might not be 100% a man or even human, but he’s not a woman just because he doesn’t want to sleep with you! And even if he (she?) was, Starling just outed him to Fitz without a moment’s hesitation. My hatred for her is building.
🐉 Wait, did I just read some relevant commentary on gender in a fantasy book from 1997? I didn’t think that was allowed since I’ve never seen it before in anything published before 2010, and we always have to make the excuses of “well, it was a different time”. Apparently, it wasn’t.
🐉 Dragons!?!!! Well, of course, the Elderlings are dragons. I had suspected they were some kind of animal so that the Wit would be relevant and possibly explain why Fitz is so important. I also have this theory about how the Elderlings disappearance might have something to do with all the prejudice there is towards the Wit today. Something must have happened to make people hate it so much but the hatred has warped during many, many years, so the real reason has been lost. This gotta be a thing.
🐉 Oh, and just to be clear, I’m not going to love Starling again just because it turns out she has a sob story. Everyone does. Doesn’t mean you get to act like an ass.
🐉 Uh, so that scene where the Fool is asking Fitz where Molly is… that wasn’t the Fool, right? He was very adamant about knowing where Molly is, and he gave some weird answers to Fitz’s questions like he didn’t know stuff he was supposed to know. But why is no one alarmed about it?!? Fitz, why are you so stupid??
🐉 They finally found Verity! I was starting to have doubts. So now I’m ready for some answers. Anyone plan on giving them? I’m looking at you, Kettle.
🐉 Final thoughts: I read the final 150 pages in one sitting, so here you have my thoughts on the ending. I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t get a bigger showdown with Regal. We never actually physically see him for the entire book, so I had hoped for a proper fight at the end. However, I guess it does make sense that he was defeated with the Skill in his own mind, and I loved that Fitz had him turn completely loyal before having him killed. It was really the perfect way of getting revenge on such a vain and selfish villain as Regal. However, there was a sense of everything being wrapped up a bit too nicely at the end. Nobody important died unless you count Verity, and the enemy was kind of dealt with “off-screen” and very quickly. And the development of the Red Ship Raiders didn’t come until the last moment, so even though I did like their reason for the raids, they didn’t feel like a huge player in this game. They were always a vague threat compared to Regal, one that we didn’t spend too much time on after the first book.
On another note, how do I feel about Fitz continuing to see Starling and not the Fool? Devastated. The Fitz and Fool friendship is one of my absolute favorites after this book and ultimately why I still loved the book very much despite my qualms about the ending. Like, I have also decided I’m going to ignore the circumstances around Kettricken getting pregnant again. If I don’t think about it, it can’t be weird (yes, that’s my logic). The same goes for Molly and Burrich, really, although I’m happy Fitz finally gave up on her. They never fit together. So overall, I’m accepting this ending because I know of the existence of The Tawny Man Trilogy, which I right now can’t wait to get to.
Finally, I’ll say that I’m going to miss Fitz. He’s stupid and an idiot most of the time, and he’s seriously awful at the whole assassin gig. But I love him. And I love Robin Hobb’s writing, her world, and (most of) her characters.
Well, if you read all of that, thank you! I’ve very much enjoyed my introduction to Robin Hobb and will definitely continue with the Realm of the Elderlings by picking up the Liveship Traders, although I’ll probably take a break first. There are other series I really want to read as well, but I want to return to this world for sure.
But now I really want to know what you thought of this book. Did you find it a satisfying ending? Did you want to toss Starling off a cliff? Did the friendship between Fitz and the Fool make you feel all warm and fuzzy? Let me know!