I’ll elaborate on those two in a while. I’ll be honest here, throughout the first 75% of the book, I seriously thought this would’ve been a 3 stars read for me; that changed during the last quarter of the book, which was simply breathtaking. Like the previous book, Royal Assassin is still totally a character-driven book with a very slow pacing; sometimes even dragging to me who’s a fan of slow-paced books and I’m pretty sure any readers who're looking for tons of actions in their read will most likely be disappointed with this one. However, in my opinion the slow pacing was totally necessary in order to build-up the tension leading towards the last 100 pages of the book. The executions of the climax sequences were rewarding, intense, and incredibly compelling as I found myself keep on stealing time to read during my working hours.
“Thinking is not always...comforting. It is always good, but not always comforting.”
Royal Assassin is a great book. As a sequel to Assassin’s Apprentice, it managed to build upon almost all the foundation that was laid in Assassin’s Apprentice. Both magic systems, Skill and Wit, receive a proper exposition that made the storyline much more engaging. Hobb’s prose are extremely immersive, her storytelling style has its way of pulling the readers deeply into Fitz’s perspective. Not only her prose is marvelous, I found myself deeply invested in the characters as Hobb slowly explore Fitz’s relationship with all the side characters. I mean it, every side characters receive tremendous development and it made all their personality felt real. Burrich, Lady Patience, Kettricken, The Fool, Verity, even the malicious Regal totally made the book worthwhile. However, any fans of the series will probably know which new character I’m going to talk about. Nighteyes, oh Nighteyes.
“Wolves have no kings.”
I can’t stress this highly enough, I’m only in the second book and I already thought of Nighteyes as a brilliant addition to the series. Ever since his first appearance as a cub, I was already hooked with his fate right from that moment. I absolutely love Nighteyes’s bonds with Fitz, it transcends any kind of relation, they aren’t simply friends, they are brothers, they are pack. The appearance of Nighteyes completely made Fitz a more intriguing character to read. It goes without saying that this wolf is the highlight of the book for me.
Picture: FitzChivalry Farseer & Nighteyes by chazillah
Royal Assassin was almost a 5 stars read for me, it had all the potential. However, pacing issue aside, there was one more reason that made me decide to take off a star from my rating: Molly. Okay, Molly isn’t a bad character per se, the thing that bothered me was how much the romance between Fitz and Molly was in the book. To sum up my experience reading their interactions: it was painful. At first, I was okay with it, and as far as romance goes, Robin Hobb seriously wrote it beautifully, but after a while, it just became extremely repetitive. I don’t know the exact number but my estimation is that there were 200 pages of Fitz thinking about Molly, or at least it felt that long.
Minor issues aside, I felt like all the side characters—especially Nighteyes—and the rewarding conclusions make up for the cons I had with the book wonderfully. Royal Assassin was overall another great installment in the Farseer trilogy and the Realm of the Elderlings series. Now it’s time for me to read the conclusion of this trilogy and see if it gets even better or not. I will, however, maintain my expectations as a lot of fans of the series mentioned to me that the third book in this trilogy is Robin Hobb's worst book in the entire Realm of the Elderlings series.
Picture: Royal Assassin by Marc Simonetti