REVIEW: FOOL’S ASSASSIN /AUTHOR: ROBIN HOBB / PUBLISHER: HARPER COLLINS / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 12TH
Robin Hobb is a world-class fantasy author and is regarded by many as the fantasy writer’s writer. She’s best known for the The Farseer Trilogy, a series of books about a royal bastard called FitzChivalry Farseer, and the novels set in Fitz’s world are by far the most popular and best regarded of her work.
It’s been a little while since her novels have focused on Fitz and the last time we saw him the reluctant hero married the girl of his dreams. Fool’s Assassin takes place ten years after the events of the Tawny Man series and Fitz’s life is one routine and gentle luxury. The book opens with Fitz enjoying the quiet life and as always, bemoaning his fate without really acknowledging how lucky he actually is. This doesn’t last, of course.
Fool’s Assassin is a gently paced novel that gathers momentum slowly but surely, only hitting a really breakneck pace toward the very end. This means that not a lot happens at the very beginning, with Hobb skilfully placing plot devices in plain sight amid the humdrum activity of Fitz’s nice life. Things pick up with the introduction of Bee, a new member of the Farseer line. Bee is a nine-year-old girl with the maturity and mind of a twelve-year-old and the body of six-year-old. The strangeness about her will cause all fans of the series to raise their eyebrows so high that they may go into orbit. Luckily, Hobb neatly side-steps most of the clichés associated with super-talented fantasy children simply by making Bee believable as a child.
Those who find Fitz’s relentlessly negative worldview a little much will be pleased to hear that he’s not the only narrator of this tale and the other perspective is as refreshing as it is odd. Fans of the supporting cast are also well served; Chade is back on the scene and the cranky mentor is as interesting and amusing as ever, as is the Mountain Queen.
Overall, Fool’s Assassin is a fine addition to Hobb’s legacy and guarantees that she will remain the envy of her peers for a long time to come.