Seeing that this is book 14 out of 16 in RotE series and it’s also the seventh book that features Fitz as the main protagonist, with the exception of new characters, Fitz, and The Fool (The Fitz and the Fool is the name of the trilogy, after all), every other character I mentioned have a strong possibility of being considered a spoiler so I’ll refrain from doing so. Instead, I’ll explain what makes this book stands out from the series and what makes this one of the finest books in the series so far.
Fool’s Assassin is the first book in The Fitz and the Fool trilogy, which is also the last subseries within Robin Hobb’s The Realm of the Elderlings massive series. The storyline began approximately fifteen years after the end of Fool’s Fate, Fitz is now old and living in peace but his past is about to catch up to him and put everything he holds dear in danger, like always.
“Time is an unkind teacher, delivering lessons that we learn far too late for them to be useful. Years after I could have benefited from them, the insights come to me.”
I won’t lie that my expectation for this trilogy was VERY low. Fool’s Fate ending disappointed me and The Rainwild Chronicles stands near the top of the worst series I’ve ever read. That’s why I’m really glad that Hobb decided to continue Fitz’s story one last time with this trilogy—at least that’s what I’m assuming here—because this was simply spectacular.
This book in a way is a retrospect book, the majority of the book were spent on Fitz’s current daily life and him contemplating about his past and present. However, with the extensive knowledge that Hobb has created for the past books, Fitz’s contemplation became something truly delightful, poignant, and sweet to read. We have seen his past as a kid, teenager, adult, it’s time to see Fitz deals with older life now. This doesn’t mean that he has turned completely into a different character. Sure he has become wiser (a bit), but he’s still the same sulking and brooding Fitz we know and they’re all for many damn good reasons.
“I was almost annoyed at her for spoiling my perfectly good sulk.”
The story direction obviously means—once again—that the book is almost completely zero of action sequences. I’m seriously glad for this, Hobb in my opinion is a not a good battle/action scenes writer, Hobb is always at her best when she dived deep into her characters’ personalities and thoughts. Reading her prose about Fitz contemplating about the passage of time and how age changed a person physically and mentally in this book turns out to be the best sequences she ever wrote so far; she could go on and on about this and I’ll devour it with joy.
“When we are children, we believe that our elders know all and that even when we cannot understand the world, they can make sense of it. Even after we are grown, in moments of fear or sorrow, we still turn instinctively to the older generation, hoping to finally learn some great hidden lesson about death and pain. Only to learn instead that the only lesson is that life goes on.”
Now, let’s get on to the best part of the book and what truly makes this book superb, the new character, Bee. I can’t emphasize this highly enough, Bee is an incredibly well-written character and I truly love reading about her. Just from this book alone, she has become one of the best characters Hobb ever wrote and also, she has a POV! Yes, that’s right, for the first time since Assassin’s Apprentice, this is the first time in Fitz’s series that Hobb included another POV other than Fitz, and this is a brilliant decision. I’ll be honest here, Fitz is a wonderfully written character but I’m not a huge fan of him, being inside his head for the whole trilogy can be tiring and sometimes annoying. Bee’s POV provided a dynamic and nice change of pace from Fitz’s POV that the series needed for a long time; it’s also fantastic to see other people’s thoughts on Fitz from another POV rather than only from Fitz describing what other people feel about him and dialogues.
Picture: Fool’s Assassin by Dominik Broniek
Fool’s Assassin is one of the best books within the entire series so far but it shouldn’t come as a surprise by now because from my experiences so far with Hobb, she’s on the top of her game with the beginning of her series. Her second book tends to suffer from the infamous middle book syndrome and the conclusion—with the exception of Liveship Traders—always fell a bit short of becoming amazing. However, looking at how the story went on in this book, this could truly be the first time the second book delivers a superior book in comparison to the first one for me; I still have to see if the rest of the series will make my opinion backfired on me or not. On to Fool’s Quest, only two books left now!