Fool’s Assassin (The Fitz & The Fool Trilogy #1)
by Robin Hobb.
I received a free Advanced Reader Copy of this book for review from NetGalley. Publication date is August 12th.
First, if you are reading this review and somehow haven’t read the books that lead up to it (namely the Farseer Trilogy and the Tawny Man Trilogy), you need to stop and go do that right now. Start with Assassin’s Apprentice and get to know the young FitzChivalry Farseer and the cast of characters that will pull at your heartstrings for many a book.
Still with me? Ok, then I assume, like me, you are a fan of the Fitz and as excited as I was about this new chapter in his life. Yes! This trilogy takes us back to FitzChivalry Farseer and happenings in the Six Duchies, after Hobb’s digression into Bingtown and the Rain Wilds. And it does not disappoint. I will try to keep this as spoiler-free as I’m able while still conveying why you’ll want to read this. The voice of Hobb’s writing is as engaging and relatable as ever. Fitz returns as the main narrator, though partway through his POV alternates with a new and surprising POV (also in 1st person, and with a distinct voice). While Fitz has more or less retired to a quiet life in the country, ghosts from his past pop up in a few new ways to bring trouble down on his head once again. There are all of the elements from the other Fitz books that made readers fall in love with them: great narration, political intrigue mixed with personal dilemmas, deceit, love, heartbreak, danger. You say goodbye to some familiar characters and hello to some new ones. And in general there’s a satisfaction to seeing how Fitz’s life, and the lives of those around him, and the relationships with certain characters, have turned out years later. It was, to me, as compelling a read as any of the other Fitz books.
However, that said, I will say that plot-wise, especially toward the end, it was less surprising. I actually had to stop probably about 85% through for a bit, because I knew without a doubt what was going to happen and knew I wasn’t going to like it. Not because it doesn’t make sense, but because this is a trilogy, and it does end on a cliffhanger, and I could tell what that cliffhanger was going to be. I was also slightly annoyed at Fitz for not making a super obvious realization, despite his honed observational skills. But then he has a habit of being really skilled in some areas and really dense in others, which is of course part of what makes him a great character. I wouldn’t be annoyed if I didn’t care about him as a character. Sigh.
Overall, if you are a fan of the earlier Fitz series, you should pick this up. It’s a good read, and will sink you back into that world like you never left.
Sidenote: how perfect is that cover? That’s EXACTLY how I pictured Fitz in my head, as an adult.