I don’t know if this is considered an unpopular opinion or not but if it is, I’m warning anyone who’s a fan of this book to just skip reading this review. Everything here is my opinion and if you loved this book, I’m truly happy for you. Believe me, it pained me to give this book a 2 stars rating—and this is me being generous already—but I really can’t give this book a higher rating than that.
Snail’s Quest, Repetition Quest, Tea’s Quest, Patience’s Quest, or just Ass Quest, for all I know Assassin’s Quest shouldn’t be the title for this book. Royal Assassin ended on a cliffhanger that immediately pushed me into starting this book and at first, I was amazed and delighted by the strong start of the book. The way Hobb dealt with the aftermath of the final events in Royal Assassin was fantastic and I thought it would stay that way throughout this tome. Sadly, it didn’t.
Before I get into the things that didn’t work, I’m dedicating this single paragraph towards my favorite parts of the book—which shouldn’t come as a surprise—Nighteyes, The Fool, and Hobb’s prose. Strong beginning aside, Prose-wise this is Hobb’s best so far. Her writings kept on getting better with each installment and there’s no doubt her prose was one of the main reason I was able to finish this book. I also thoroughly love reading Fitz and The Fool development here and I’m starting to see why a lot of readers praised their friendship highly. However, when it comes to the best part of the book and the trilogy itself, Nighteyes once again became my favorite and saving grace. I don’t think I can’t emphasize this highly enough, Fitz is a much better character when Nighteyes is around him. Unfortunately, these are the only good parts of the book for me.
There are so many things that didn’t work out for me that if I was to list and explained them all, it would be spoilers and it would make this review extremely long. Instead, I’ll just describe the major parts that didn’t work out for me. Let me start with the female characters.
One of the greatest female characters of the trilogy, Patience, didn’t make an appearance (just like my patience reading this book), but rather than her, we get four completely new female characters. Usually, this shouldn’t be a problem especially when we already know that this is not the last trilogy in the Realm of the Elderlings series. But, three of them were completely useless and infuriating for the storyline, this includes Starling. Yes, in my opinion, she doesn’t belong in the story other than being an anchor for Fitz and the gang.
The main issue I had with these new characters are they appeared only to show that they’re freaking aroused by Fitz and wanted to have sex with him right from their first encounter. One character even said she wanted to sleep with Fitz only because Fitz’s face “flushed”, The Sims has more believable sex story than this.
It’s infuriating that on one hand, Hobb writes fantastic, complex, and realistic female characters like Patience and Kettricken, on the other hand, she put in these characters which served almost no purpose rather than to be turned on by Fitz’s. Apparently being depressed aroused ladies in the Six Duchies.
This isn’t even the main problem, almost every damn side characters are actually an asshole here. Nighteyes and The Fool were literally the only true friends for Fitz, the rest have some kind of hidden agendas for him. Some said Fitz is whiny and moody, I'll say that he deserved to be those. Try being in his shoes and see if you’ll accept the situation calmly or not. I’m not saying Fitz isn’t stupid, he is, some of his actions don’t even make any sense. However, even if Fitz sacrificed his balls or any parts of his body (which in a way, he already did plenty of times) for these people he always tried to help, it simply won’t satisfy them. I’m talking about everyone, this includes Verity and every goddamn prick who doesn’t know the meaning of the word gratitude.
One of MANY examples: Fitz did something wrong because he didn’t know about the situation-> (insert character name) that knows about the situation was angered because of his action, BUT he/she won’t tell Fitz the reason why.
Repeat this til braindead.
The thing is, the more knowledgeable character said if he/she let him know, the results will be catastrophic but then when Fitz finally found out, NOTHING happened. This illogical actions happened tons of times, especially when it has something to do with the magic system Skills. I have to also say, Skills have become one of the worst magic systems I've ever read, it's way too vague, abstract and it relies heavily on the concept "why not?". For example, one character would say “I can’t help you, I ran out of power to Skill.” 5 pages later, Skill the shit out of everything, or Fitz said “I must not Skill, it’s dangerous” 1 page later, Skill the shit out of everything.
Repeat this til braindead again.
I could go on and on but let me get to the main problem, pacing issue. Ever since Assassin's Apprentice, there’s already a pacing issue that lingers, Royal Assassin contained the same issue, but in here? it was tenfold worse. This is especially true for page 220-400, which was one of the most boring experience I’ve ever had in my lifetime of reading. My temptation to DNF at this period of time was insane. The main problem was once again, repetition overload, and mostly because Fitz was alone with a bunch of new characters here. Fitz is a finely written character, there’s no doubt about that whether you love or hate him. But this trilogy main appeal is not Fitz on his own but his relationship with all the other side characters. Their interactions, written by Hobb, made reading through a bunch of nothingness great. Leaving Fitz alone just bored the crap out of me and made the already draggy pacing even worse. Also, instead of focusing on the storyline, we instead get tons of herb and tea gathering that made me think this is a historical fantasy of British ancestors. I doubt the British drank tea that much, all the characters were practically a tea master or addict.
The conclusion was also full of deus ex machina that it made the 500 pages of traveling not satisfying. After struggling so hard to reach the conclusion, the conclusion ended within two short chapters and one of them being completely off-screen. This is at most a 400 pages book, this book contained 330k words and most of them are either repetition or a summary of the last books. It’s like the editors gave up on editing because of boredom and said “You know what? Let the readers know how painfool editing are.”
Picture: Assassin’s Quest by Marc Simonetti
I’m sorry Robin Hobb and I’m sorry for the fans for writing this review. It’s very rare a book could disappoint and infuriate me this crazy. Assassin’s Quest was a major disappointment to the trilogy; 2 stars rating is, in fact, the lowest rating I ever gave to the last book of a trilogy. I’m just glad this is over. Some of Hobb fans warned me that this is one of her weakest books, I sincerely hope it’s truly the weakest because I don’t think I can bare through another book like this. The good thing is, the same fans also told me that everything starting from here are mostly smooth sailing. I will definitely continue to The Liveship Traders but contrary to my original plan, I’m going to take a few books break first before diving back into this world. But hey, at least the books are pretty I guess.
Picture: My copies of The Farseer Trilogy
Assassin's Apprentice: 4/5 stars
Royal Assassin: 4/5 stars
Assassin's Quest: 2/5 stars
Farseer Trilogy: 10/15 stars