Title: The Fool’s Assassin
Author: Robin Hobb
Publication Info: August 12, Del Rey
The Flavor: Little House on the Prairie meets Game of Thrones
The Short Version: From what I understand, this book is a return to familiar territory for fans of many of Hobb’s earlier series revolving around Fitz and the Farseers. I haven’t read them. But that didn’t stop me from loving this book. For those who are new to the world of the Farseers, never fear. Hobb guides you, giving you enough background information to understand the players, and will eventually win you over.
Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown.
But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic, and assassin. A man who has risked much for his king and lost more…
On a shelf in his den sits a triptych carved in memory stone of a man, a wolf and a fool. Once, these three were inseparable friends: Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool. But one is long dead, and one long-missing.
Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives to seek out Fitz, but mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing but a blood-trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger?
Suddenly Fitz's violent old life erupts into the peace of his new world, and nothing and no one is safe
With that being said, even the side characters are well drawn. I found myself hating all the people I was supposed to hate and cheering for all the people I was supposed to cheer for. There are so many characters that I’m not sure all of them received the time they deserved, but as this is the first in the trilogy, I can only assume we will be hearing more from them later.
The book starts traditionally with FitzChivalry narrating. Then a brand spanking new character is introduced and the book begins alternating narration. The new narrator is a surprise—and a very welcome one, allowing us to see Fitz in a new light. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that the new character hooked me.
Everything was set up masterfully for a first-time reader to just jump in.
The Prose: This is a surprisingly prose heavy book for a fantasy epic. Generally, I’m not into detailed descriptions and the dropping of seemingly random anecdotes, but it worked in this book. I must admit that I thought the beginning dragged a bit. I feared that this might be less “fantasy epic” and more “literary middle-aged-man-has-a-mid-life-crisis.” But it picked up soon enough, and I found myself loving all of the descriptions and beautiful metaphors and what have you. It was a rather new feeling.
Also, this book is surprisingly funny, and I found myself chuckling out loud several times.
Parting thoughts: Oh, man. The cliffhanger. Never has an author written so cruel of a cliffhanger. How? How do I wait for the next book in the series? I just don’t know if I can. Trust me, if I am unable to get an advanced review copy of the second book, I will be first in line at the store on the day it comes out.
Even if you are new to the Farseer mythology, this is a great book. Once I got halfway through it, I found myself physically unable to put it down. The book is still rambling around in my thoughts and I finished it days ago.
By Rachel Lyn Paxton