Fool’s Assassin, by Robin Hobb, (Aug 2014)
Del Ray, 688 pgs (hardback)
Now this is not strictly a YA novel, but it is from one of my all time favorite authors and marks a return to one of my all time favorite series. Robin Hobb started her Farseer stories twenty years ago with “Assassin’s Apprentice”. And I still have my first edition of that book on my library along with all the rest of her books that take place in the same world. This is epic fantasy and while not as graphic as George R. R. Martin’s Throne series, should be reserved for those with both the patience and the maturity to read and understand political assassinations, backstabbing best friends, and a foe so evil and yet so indestructible you start praying for an act of God since that seems the only way to end the torment.
I read this new book as an ARC months ago and I highly recommend going and reading the earlier series first, so without further preamble, here is my review of the first in the new Fitz and the Fool series set in the Farseer world we know and love:
When I first started reading this book I felt a bit perplexed at why any story of Fitz Chivalry usually so filled with politics and pain would gently ease into country life and stay there for much of the first part of the book. However, like always, Ms. Hobb sprinkled within this simple country life, most of the elements that made the first few books so successful: murder, assassins, brutality towards the bastards in the Farseer line a mystery, and the Fool. Oh and lets not forget all the kinds of magic that is in the seven Kingdoms and beyond.
All our (living) favorite characters are back. FitzChivalry, who should be ruling the kingdom but is running Nettle’s estate (even though we all know it is really his). Molly, Fitz’ wife and the tender love they show for each other as they grow older is one of the best examples of this I have found in any book recently. Chade, Riddle, and the Farseer Royalty. To keep things interesting we meet a host of new and varied characters which introduce the mystery and a riddle Fitz has to solve before the Hunters get there first.
The descriptions of Wit and Skill are logical and the scenes involving animals are fantastic. I laughed aloud at the antics of the maids and the scenes involving Revel (Fitz’ steward). The last third of the book moved quickly and the story wove the many many disparate threads together towards a breathless end.
This book is beguiling, and obviously not to be read without reading the others first, but I highly recommend it.
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