After a 10 year hiatus, where she explored stories both set in other parts of the same world, and created entirely new worlds, Robin Hobb has returned to the story of FitzChivalry Farseer.
While the details have long faded under the hundreds of books read since, I remember loving The Farseer Trilogy, The LiveShip Traders, and the Tawny Man Trilogy. I remember staying up too late, rushing to finish, and aching for the next book to be released as Ms. Hobb created epic fantasy of the best sort. I’ve been horribly disappointed by the Rain Wilds Chronicles (sequels to The LiveShip Traders) and started this newest offering with a bit trepidation that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations.
Fool’s Assassin starts slowly as we become reacclimatized to the characters and land of The Six Dutchies. We settle slowly into the lives of Holder Tom/Fitz and his wife Molly and watch as he tries to avoid becoming enmeshed in old politics. I agree with the complaints of other reviewers that several returning supporting characters have not aged well and are almost caricatures of their former selves and that some of the new supporting characters are a bit thin. There are things I’d love to discuss about the middle of the book, but it’s hard to say too much about Fitz’s current journey without spoilers. I will say that I liked the new viewpoint character – though I guessed several things early in the story that made certain things rather predictable. The pace picked up at the end and I did NOT like how the Fool was reintroduced to the narrative nor the cliffhanger ending. To sum it up, while Assassin’s Fool never quite reached the magic I remember in the initial 9 books, I was pleased to have spent the time to read it.
As with many series, I highly recommend taking the time to read in the order that the books were published. If you start with this new book, you will learn too much to enjoy the early parts of the series and miss subtleties of the most recent offering.