The Fitzalong #2: Royal Assassin

Robin Hobb is a much-loved fantasy author and one I have long wanted to read, but also one I find extremely intimidating. A readathon is something that often activates me, so I was happy to find out about The Fitzalong by Lianne from Literary Diversions.

© Literary Diversions

The plan is to read the entire Realm of the Elderlings series, comprised of 16 books and 2 short stories collections, over the span of two years.

My first experience with Assassin’s Apprentice unfortunately was not a roaring succes, but I still wanted to continue with the next book, hoping it would bring more understanding as to why this series is so beloved. And oh boy, how my experience with the second book differed to that with the first!

Robin Hobb – Royal Assessin (The Farseer Trilogy #2) ★★★★★

Genre: Fantasy

Fitz has survived his first hazardous mission as king’s assassin, but is left little more than a cripple. Battered and bitter, he vows to abandon his oath to King Shrewd, remaining in the distant mountains. But love and events of terrible urgency draw him back to the court at Buckkeep, and into the deadly intrigues of the royal family.

Renewing their vicious attacks on the coast, the Red-Ship Raiders leave burned-out villages and demented victims in their wake. The kingdom is also under assault from within, as treachery threatens the throne of the ailing king. In this time of great danger, the fate of the kingdom may rest in Fitz’s hands—and his role in its salvation may require the ultimate sacrifice.

Where I found Assassin’s Apprentice to be a struggle to get through, this can definitely not be said for this second installment. Beginning this book, I was instantly aware of how well the previous book had laid its foundations. I felt immediately at home in the mind of Fitz and his world of the Six Duchies.

Where I found the writing slumberous in the first book, I now felt an instant appreciation for its flow and eloquence. It did feel like a sort of homecoming. The way Hobb crafts her characters is phenomenal. Each and every one becomes a real person, arousing genuine emotions, pulling on heartstrings or provoking utter hatred. How she can make me despise Regal for example, as if he has personally treated me like garbage, is astounding!

One of my favourite parts of this book was, as I am sure for many readers, the introduction to Nighteyes. He’s absolutely amazing, and again, the way Hobb can make communication between man and beast read so intuitively is utterly captivating. I’m also immensily intrigued by the Fool and his backstory; and adored learning more about the types of magic in this world, especially the Wit. I really want to learn more about its evolution and why it has come to be viewed so differently than the Skill.

Reading from Fitz’s mind, the Skill, to me, seems to be the more dangerous magic type, so it’s interesting to see how the Wit, in contrast, is being so vilified. The Skill is so intrusive, being able to manipulate the essence of who people are, while at this point in our knowledge, nothing about the Wit seems intrusive or manipulative. Although, the Wit did begin to show some of its more dangerous sides, in scenes where Fitz becomes completely “one” with his animal side, or in rather disturbing scenes between Molly and Fitz, where Nighteyes appears to be the driver.

For the most part, this book was quite a slow-paced read with little overt and explosive action. It’s more of a slow, intricate web being woven from secret interactions, subtle machinations, and political maneuvers, while the main drivers of the story are its characters. And where I found this to be a bit of a slog to get through in the first book, I absolutely adored it in this book, thanks to the foundations laid within the first book. These foundations allowed deeper emotions to gain root in this second book, as I got to know each character more and more. This is exactly what I had hoped for.

The ending of this book absolutely wrecked me, and I’m very much looking forward to continuing the story to find out what happens next!

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