Assassin’s Quest [book review]


Assassin’s Quest is the third book in Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy, and  is difficult to speak of, since at every turn, I seem to be combatting spoilers.

Robin Hobb. Assassin's Quest.

The protagonist FitzChivalry’s anger recuperates from serious wounds in a sheepherder’s cabin, and in a desire for revenge, plans to destroy his uncle, who tortured him and believed him dead.

In constant tension are Fitz’s two magics. The Skill is like mind magic, allowing practitioners to influence others, and suggest thoughts. his own use of the Skill is week, due to his partial training by a hateful Skillmaster. King-in-Waiting Verity has compelled Fitz, through the Skill, to come to him and aid him in his quest to defeat the Red Ship Wars. His beast magic, also known as The Wit, is generally hated (and much maligned) by the population, but his bond with the wolf Nighteyes is quite strong.

In the 150 preceding words I recognize how very complex the Hobb’s plot has become. This is definitely a third book of three, and I couldn’t imagine beginning the series out-of-order. Her writing, as usual, is extremely strong. The story is told from the perspective of FitzChivalry, and is made powerful by the development of all the characters. With the possible exception of Regal, none of the characters seems completely good, or completely evil. And even so, Regal has been given motivation for his hatred of his nephew. Even minor characters, like the young stable boy Hands, and the old woman Kettle, seem to have considerable plausibility.

A propos of nothing: I have noticed her fascination with names that start with the letters “Ke”. I’ve noticed Kettriken, Kettle, Keffria, Kennit; even FitzChivalry’s given name, Keppet. She likes strong characters with strong K names.

The book was complex, but immensely readable. The character of FitzChivalry is occasionally a bit dour, in the vein of a Hamelt, and his ruminations about suicide and revenge occasionally detract from the story itself. Nonetheless, it was a fitting end to the trilogy, and I was happy to read the series to its conclusion. It was worth every word, and I am once again,pleased to say I’m happy I discovered Robin Hobb’s writing, and her Elderling world, several months ago.

Five of Five Stars

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2 thoughts on “Assassin’s Quest [book review]”

  1. Farseer Trilogy was my first Hobb, and I’ve been addicted every since. As much as I loved the final book in this trilogy, i had one major problem with it: the cover art. If you look closely, the cover art spoils the ending.

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    1. Thanks, Redhead! And as to the Hobb made of the fact that the axe was Fitz’s best weapon, he’s never pictured with one on the cover. In fact, except for the one battle during the Red Ship war, she seldom talks about him even using a battleaxe. All three covers left something to be desired, to my mind.

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