Rating: 4 / 5
ROYAL ASSASSIN by Robin Hobb is the second book of THE FARSEER TRILOGY and the second book for the #elderlingalong which is a buddy read for a couple of Robin Hobb’s trilogies. I read the first book ASSASSIN’S APPRENTICE in March and I was a little underwhelmed at the time. Given that this installment is much longer, I was a little wary when adding it to my TBR, but I decided to start it as April was winding down to see if it would need to be on my May TBR or not. Thankfully, I loved this one so much more than the first!
ROYAL ASSASSIN picks up pretty much where ASSASSIN’S APPRENTICE leaves off, so I won’t say a lot specifically about the plot. The trilogy as a whole centers on Fitz, the royal bastard son of Chivalry Farseer. Because he has royal blood, he has a natural affinity toward some magical abilities. His is particularly the ability to link up with animals (dogs and wolves in particular) to communicate with them, see through their eyes and feel what they feel. Somewhat at lost ends when he is abandoned by his mother and grandfather as a child, Fitz has been trained to be an assassin to serve the king and his family.
There are a few reasons why I think I connected with this book better than with the first in the series. As is the case with any big fantasy world, the first book does spend a lot of time on world development. While I do like good worldbuilding and I do feel that it was done well in ASSASSIN’S APPRENTICE, it does give the first book a lot of moments where a lot of information is being dumped on you at once. The first book also spends a lot of time with Fitz growing up and exploring his new world and there isn’t a lot of plot happening during that time.
This second book builds on the world building that was already done in book one and takes off running. Even though this book is considerably longer than the first, I flew through this one much quicker. There’s political intrigues, plots and action that kept me flipping the pages.
This is a prime example why I don’t necessarily DNF a series if the first book isn’t entirely a win. I did really enjoy watching the live show for the first book on YouTube and that helped encourage me to continue on as well. I immediately ordered book three upon finishing this one though I will hold off on book three until after the next live show!