Thursday, 15 June 2017 / No comments

Assassin's Fate by Robin Hobb

Title: Assassin's Fate (Fitz & the Fool #3)
Author: Robin Hobb
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Date of Publication: May 4th 2017
Source: Library

This review will be as spoiler free as possible, but it will contain spoilers for previous books in the series.

Other reviews of books by Robin Hobb:
The Liveship Traders
The Tawny Man
Fool's Assassin
Fool's Quest
Review of the Year 2014 (incidentally, the most viewed post on this blog)



Summary:

Prince FitzChivalry Farseer’s daughter Bee was violently abducted from Withywoods by Servants of the Four in their search for the Unexpected Son, foretold to wield great power. With Fitz in pursuit, the Servants fled through a Skill-pillar, leaving no trace. It seems certain that they and their young hostage have perished in the Skill-river.

Clerres, where White Prophets were trained by the Servants to set the world on a better path, has been corrupted by greed. Fitz is determined to reach the city and take vengeance on the Four, not only for the loss of Bee but also for their torture of the Fool. Accompanied by FitzVigilant, son of the assassin Chade, Chade’s protégé Spark and the stableboy Perseverance, Bee's only friend, their journey will take them from the Elderling city of Kelsingra, down the perilous Rain Wild River, and on to the Pirate Isles.

Their mission for revenge will become a voyage of discovery, as well as of reunions, transformations and heartrending shocks. Startling answers to old mysteries are revealed. What became of the liveships Paragon and Vivacia and their crews? What is the origin of the Others and their eerie beach? How are liveships and dragons connected?

But Fitz and his followers are not the only ones with a deadly grudge against the Four. An ancient wrong will bring them unlikely and dangerous allies in their quest. And if the corrupt society of Clerres is to be brought down, Fitz and the Fool will have to make a series of profound and fateful sacrifices.

ASSASSIN’S FATE is a magnificent tour de force and with it Robin Hobb demonstrates yet again that she is the reigning queen of epic fantasy. 



Review:

I've said before that Robin Hobb is cruel to her characters, and they certainly see the worst of life. But they see the best as well. For as much pain and loneliness as they endure, there is love and companionship. And there is loss. So much loss! But there is also hope.

I would normally do a little summary of the story here, but I can't talk about the content at all without introducing spoilers, so I'm going to skip it this time. and get straight to my thoughts.

I cried. A lot. Proper ugly crying with actual sobs.

I came to Robin Hobb's world relatively recently, only 7 or 8 years ago, but I fell in love with Fitz, the lonely, unwanted boy who is trained to be an assassin, and used by generations of his family. I loved the Fool, confusing and frustrating as he was. I loved too the Bingtown Traders, Althea and her family, the Rain Wilders, the dragon keepers of Kelsingra, and the residents of the Pirate Isles. I'm pleased to say that we see almost all of them in this book. The scope of this world is incredible, and incorporating all the elements into this one story is an incredible feat. In qualitative research we talk about rich thick data. This is rich thick writing. Both depth and breadth - in terms of setting and character - come together to create a fantasy masterpiece. I also love the way the titles of this series have tied in with the previous series, particularly the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies.

Fitz repeats old mistakes, trying to do things on his own, and not letting others help him, but it does seem that by the end he finally lets others in. That may be a trait he has passed on to the next generation.

Given the company they are keeping, the Fool necessarily spends much of the book as Amber, and it was interesting to see Fitz's reaction to her. He dislikes Amber and distrusts her, and can't bring himself to reconcile her with his Fool, or Beloved. I would really be interested in someone with more knowledge than me commenting on Beloved's multiple natures, particularly with regards to gender, but that's a discussion for another time.

Although this book ripped my heart to shreds, there is very much the sense that all those left standing will be okay. Eventually. There is hope. The final line is just perfect. And although this book closes more than one door, there are a few windows standing ready to be opened if Hobb so chooses. I hope she does.



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