Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb

Fool’s Assassin by Robin HobbFool's Assassin by Robin Hobb
Series: ,
Published by Del Rey on August 12th 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 688
Format: Ebook

Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown.

But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic, and assassin. A man who has risked much for his king and lost moreā€¦

On a shelf in his den sits a triptych carved in memory stone of a man, a wolf and a fool. Once, these three were inseparable friends: Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool. But one is long dead, and one long-missing.

Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives to seek out Fitz, but mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing but a blood-trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger?

Suddenly Fitz's violent old life erupts into the peace of his new world, and nothing and no one is safe.

I have a love-hate relationship with Robin Hobb, and I am afraid that it is mostly hate, given her track history. I was somewhat hesitant at picking up another Fitz book, especially one which is another 700 page doorstop of a book set essentially after Fitz has retired from public life. Retiree adventurers don’t seem that exciting, right?

I was willing to give Fool’s Assassin a go, and I was dragged into what I thought was a deep and emotional journey of someone dealing with a dementia-like illness, as Fitz’s partner begins to believe that she is pregnant, despite her advanced age, and lack of pregnantness. (pregnancy? – ed) This then took a turn for the best – I guess – when it turned out Molly wasn’t going crazy, and she was actually pregnant.

And that is where the author lost almost all interest for me. She spent the next 600 pages introducing us to the character of the daughter, and weaving a lot of intriguing events around the family. This has been my problem with Hobb all along, and that is that she is great at building characters, but the story goes absolutely nowhere. The cast of characters is enormous, and they all have their agendas, but there is nothing tying all of this together. This feels like what should be the first third of a book of this size, rather than 700 pages of indulgent snorefest.

There were some interesting moments – particularly the daughter’s relationships with the various animals she interacts with – but the rest of the story seems utterly inconsequential. It’s like the author spent 700 pages dropping hints and suggestions about what was going to happen in the actual story, which I can only assume occurs in the second book.

The end of the book is even more confusing, as it offers a lot of wild action (FINALLY) with no real explanation, and abandons the reader on a cliffhanger that I for one did not give a damn about. If I was not reading this for review I would have abandoned it long before I hit the bitter and lame duck ending.

I suppose I understand why people enjoy Robin Hobb, but for me this novel went absolutely nowhere, and asked me to invest in a bunch of characters without giving me any reason to do so. This should have been a prologue, not an entire novel. I like my fantasy to actually involve some sort of action, not just a bunch of mystery and no forward motion.

Rating Report
Overall: one-star

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