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Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Review: Fool's Assassin (The Fitz and The Fool Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb

Fool's Assassin (The Fitz and The Fool Trilogy #1)
by Robin Hobb
Random House LLC
Length: 688 pages
Nearly twenty years ago, Robin Hobb burst upon the fantasy scene with the first of her acclaimed Farseer novels, Assassin’s Apprentice, which introduced the characters of FitzChivalry Farseer and his uncanny friend the Fool. A watershed moment in modern fantasy, this novel—and those that followed—broke exciting new ground in a beloved genre. Together with George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb helped pave the way for such talented new voices as Scott Lynch, Brandon Sanderson, and Naomi Novik.

Over the years, Hobb’s imagination has soared throughout the mythic lands of the Six Duchies in such bestselling series as the Liveship Traders Trilogy and the Rain Wilds Chronicles. But no matter how far she roamed, her heart always remained with Fitz. And now, at last, she has come home, with an astonishing new novel that opens a dark and gripping chapter in the Farseer saga.

FitzChivalry—royal bastard and former king’s assassin—has left his life of intrigue behind. As far as the rest of the world knows, FitzChivalry Farseer is dead and buried. Masquerading as Tom Badgerlock, Fitz is now married to his childhood sweetheart, Molly, and leading the quiet life of a country squire.

Though Fitz is haunted by the disappearance of the Fool, who did so much to shape Fitz into the man he has become, such private hurts are put aside in the business of daily life, at least until the appearance of menacing, pale-skinned strangers casts a sinister shadow over Fitz’s past . . . and his future.

Now, to protect his new life, the former assassin must once again take up his old one. . .

Every once in a while a series comes along that stays with you and while recognizing the enjoyment of a book is very subjective and opinions often differ, the fictional characters become like friends to you and you just can't get enough of their adventures. You find yourself eagerly waiting for each new installment to jump into the new tale, often reading the prior works just before the new release is available so you will be primed to jump right on in. The stories of FitzChivalry and the Fool in The Farseer Trilogy and The Tawny Man Trilogy made this happen for me.

When the last book of the Tawny Man Trilogy, Fool's Fate, was read I resigned myself to that being the last I would see from Fitz and the Fool. I actually found myself emotional and cried as much as you see in the cartoons circulating on the internet about the booknerd that is distraught over the ending of a book. I then reflected on the wonder of the written word, which has allowed these characters to come to life for me again and again over the years by revisiting these books and enjoying their journeys over and over. Recently I received an email announcing a new trilogy featuring Fitz and the Fool and hopped right on over to request for read and review crossing my fingers chanting the mantra please let it be me, please let it be me and much to my joy and honor received this book via NetGalley.

Fool's Assassin begins a few years after Fool's Fate concludes. We find Fitz, now commonly known as Tom Badgerlock, married to his childhood sweetheart Molly and living quietly as a country squire. At times Fitz privately mourns past relationships and adventures, but overall he is content to live out his days with the love of his life. Mysterious events occur that seem inconsequential over the years, but as time passes they become more sinister and as the appearance of pale strangers coincide with these events, in hindsight they become more significant, and the adventure begins.

The story is well crafted with the superb writing we have come to expect from this author, although at times the story did seem a bit long with a major portion of the book following Fitz and Molly's lives. However, the buildup was all part of the journey and suspense that kept me turning page after page. In fact, I spent an entire weekend reading this book unwilling to put it down because I needed to see what was going to happen. Subjectively, Fool's Assassin deserves every one of the five sheep rating I am giving it because I loved it. Objectively, I would rate it four stars for the reader beginning with this book, not having read the two trilogies preceding this one. There is major world building in the prior books that will be missed, which makes the length of this read seem to drag at times and it also ends with a significant cliffhanger, which can be frustrating to some readers, especially if one does not know when the next adventure will be released. Overall I would definitely recommend this book to fantasy fans and will go one step further with a recommendation to begin with The Farseer Trilogy, moving on to The Tawny Man trilogy, and then jump right on in with this new trilogy reaping the benefits of all that has gone on before with the knowledge that is common with most high fantasy tales there is just too much to be said in one book.

5 sheep


About the Author:
Robin Hobb currently lives and writes in Tacoma, Washington, but that has not always been the case!
Born in Oakland, California, she sampled life in Berkeley and then in suburban San Rafael before her family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in the '60's. She graduated from Lathrop High School in Fairbanks in 1969, and went on to attend College at the University of Denver in Denver Colorado. In 1970, she married Fred Ogden and moved with him to his home town of Kodiak Alaska. After a brief stint in Hawaii, they moved to Washington State. They live in Tacoma, with brief stints down to a pocket farm in Roy, Washington, where they raise chickens, ducks, geese, vegetables and random children.


  1. Great review Denise, thank you! I loved both those series as a young woman, and read them a few times. I am very happy that a new book will see the light, and will make sure I buy a copy of it. I did read them in Dutch, so I think I will have to wait for the translation of this one so I won't get kicked out of the story by the difference in names and such.

  2. Loved the review, good job! Thanks for making me aware of these books --- somehow, I missed them. Hubby and I are going to start with the The Farseer Trilogy.