Review: Royal Assassin

68487Title: Royal Assassin (1996)
Author: Robin Hobb
Pages: 752
Series: Farseer Trilogy #2, Realms of the Elderlings #2 (Series Tracker)

The mindless Forged ones gain in number, roaming the Six Duchies like a zombie horde. Within Buckkeep, FitzChivalry Farseer hones his skills as a covert assassin and takes on a greater role in the kingdom, while thwarting plays for the throne from Prince Regal, his scheming uncle.

I have circled back to this series after three years away, having enjoyed the first book well enough, but never having a burning passion to continue beyond that. Dipping my toe into book two quickly brought me back to the world of the Six Duchies and brought me an enjoyment level I never quite found with Assassin’s Apprentice. I am not sure if the quality has improved tremendously from the first book to the next, or if I just have a firmer grasp on what strong fantasy writing looks like.  

Robin Hobb creates such a clear picture of human nature and emotion with her writing. It may be long-winded at times, but each scene, no matter how subtle, has a purpose (building characters, setting up a mystery, or unraveling one). I appreciate the time she takes with character development, as it makes me care more about each individual character. Relationships feel more meaningful, betrayals more devastating. The focus on one royal family line makes this possible, as stories like Game of Thrones have such massive casts that you can only really know each player and family in a limited sense.

I enjoyed Royal Assassin immensely and burned through it just wanting to know what would become of our dear protagonist. I deem my re-entry into the series a great success and am going to attempt to work my way through the remaining 15 books of Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series. Only ~10,000 pages to go until the new book is out in May!

★★★★½ out of 5

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