Book Review: FOOL’S ASSASSIN by Robin Hobb

US-cover-Fools-AssassinThe stories of FitzChivalry Farseer were well documented by Robin Hobb in the Farseer Trilogy and the Tawny Man Trilogy. His actions even had consequences only seen in the Liveship Traders Trilogy and the Rainwild Chronicles. And for some time everyone thought Fitz, aka Tom Badgerlock, was going to live the happily ever after he deserved after the trials and tribulations he faced in the previous books. That happiness wasn’t to last as Robin Hobb has brought FitzChivalry back into service in her latest book Fool’s Assassin.

Set some twenty or so years after the events of the Tawny Man Trilogy, Fool’s Assassin follows Fitz over the course of eleven or twelve years in his life as Tom Badgerlock, estate holder for King Dutiful Farseer of the Six Duchies. This time, rather than being called out to be an assassin or to bring dragons back to the world, Fitz is tasked with protecting his daughter, Bee. And Bee is a special child, unlike the others she is almost a prodigy, but there is more that sets her apart.

Click image for book details and where you can buy  Fool's Assassin.

Click image for book details and where you can buy Fool’s Assassin.

For the first time in the saga of FitzChivalry Farseer a second point of view is provided, in this case by Bee. She isn’t introduced for quite some time leaving the vast majority of Fool’s Assassin with Fitz and his continual self-chastisement. Fitz has grown and his priorities have changed, and as usual he’s always trying to do his best. Though he was believed to be the “catalyst” that would bring about the white prophet’s predictions he is now, more than ever, tied to the whims of fate. That’s not to say he doesn’t have any agency as a character, but his priorities are such that his decisions are driven by his duties, responsibilities and the situations that come his way.

Through the years before Bee’s birth and following it Fitz wonders and even seeks after the Fool’s fate. It’s been 20-some since they last saw one another. The Fool, also believed to be the aforementioned white prophet, has gone with little in the way of good bye and that has left Fitz empty to some degree. Fitz never sets out after the Fool as he would like, and in fact leaves his estate very little throughout Fool’s Assassin, making it one of Hobb’s most confined books even though it spans eleven or twelve years.

Fool’s Assassin wouldn’t be what it is without the Fool, though this time round he is not what you remember. To say anymore would be to spoil the story. But know this, the Fool is as ever entwined with the fate of Fitz and his family and continues in his mysterious ways, prevaricating straight answers to Fitz’s simple questions. Secondary characters are as numerous as ever dotting the landscape and illustrating Hobb’s world with a bevy of personalities and motives, creating conflict and establishing means and motives. Here is proof of Hobb’s greatness, for in doing so the story isn’t tied up in a nice little bundle, but sprawls with a profusion that leads the imagination to see more than is on the page.

The major folly of Fool’s Assassin lays in its need to set the scene for events to come. We’re not dropped in the middle of everything, or we aren’t from either Fitz’s or Bee’s point of view, even as events rage on outside of their realm. But Hobb is making promises, big promises, in this book. We may get to see more of the Fool and his home, the land where white prophets come from. It just won’t be in this book, because it’s a very necessary but long prelude to the real story of Fitz and the Fool, which is the name of the new trilogy. All Robin Hobb fans, and those looking for some fantastic fantasy geared towards adults but not so far that teenagers couldn’t read it should pick this up to continue the adventure with FitzChivalry Farseer.

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Greg Pellechi ThumbnailReview by: Gregory Pellechi

Gregory Pellechi works in the Middle East because it’s cool and the world should be explored. He wishes he had more free time to read and write – the latter of which he does far too little of for himself. Greg will read just about anything including pamphlets in Spanish about influenza (always as if it’s a script from a Telenovela), but prefers Cyberpunk, Speculative Fiction and Star Wars. You can visit his blog at www.gregorypellechi.com but be warned he hasn’t posted anything to it in months. He’s more active on Twitter (@SvenNomadsson); just remember the time difference if you’re expecting a prompt reply.

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