Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

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Fitz is slowly adapting to his new life at Withywoods, far away from courtly politics and his former life as an assassin. However, he still struggles to let go of old friends and the echoes of his past. When his wife Molly comes with a surprise announcement and a mysterious messenger appears, it becomes clear his former life still haunts him in more ways than he knows…

It’s been a good while since my last Robin Hobb book. I finished Blood of Dragons around two years ago. Since then, I’ve found book 2 and 3 of the Fitz and the Fool trilogy in thrift stores. They’re really nice, too. Both are those fancy hardcovers that I would never buy new. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t find part one, Fool’s Assassin, in the same edition. After my fortune finding the first two books, I figured the first installment of the series would also eventually just… fall into my lap. It didn’t. I ended up asking for the paperback version as a birthday gift from my work. At least this way I could finish the series, even though it meant I wouldn’t have the full set for my bookshelf. It’s fine. I’m fine and cool with that.

After the last trilogy, Fool’s Assassin was an absolute breath of fresh air. Or perhaps not fresh, but certainly good, decent, quality air. I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters in the Rain Wild Chronicles, and I have to admit I have my issues with the cast of Fitz and the Fool as well. However, it’s much more of an “Oh, you” kind of feeling than the annoyance I felt at Thymara and co. Fitz is a little bit dumb but we love him and he’s been through a lot so we’ll let it slide. Molly has never been my favourite but she’s a character stuck in a story she never wanted to be in, so like, I get it. More characters get introduced, whom I won’t say too much about except to say that one of them is frustrating in much the same way as Fitz, but there are also side characters I’ve grown extremely fond of, like Riddle.

There are a couple of fun twists in this book. A lot of it I saw coming because literally anyone reading this book is smarter than Fitz, but there were also a couple of twists that surprised me and left me very intrigued as to where the story is going.

It’s always a little awkward reviewing a book in a series like this. If you love Hobb’s work, you won’t need me to tell you to read this book. If you’ve never read a book by Robin Hobb, then read Assassin’s Apprentice first.

Like any book by Robin Hobb, this one read like an absolute dream. I can’t wait to get started on the next installment in the series!

For years, reality seemed that The Tawny Man trilogy would be the end of Fitz’s story. It was a satisfying ending, one I could have lived with. Still, my heart kept on hoping for more, while I kept imagining what the epilogue of Fitz and all the other characters I came to love would look like. A decade later, my yearning was unexpectantly rewarded with Fool’s Assassin. And, once again, I enjoyed every scene Robin Hobb gave me.

Apart from my fond memories of being reunited with all the loveable (and less loveable) characters of the Six Duchies, as well as meeting a few new interesting faces, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Fool’s Assassin is its very unusual narrative. Some would probably call it a slow build-up to a bigger plot, and I could see how they’d come to that conclusion. When it comes to plot, it seems we mostly follow Fitz during his lowkey day-to-day business. However, from very early on Robin Hobb manages to create a tension that is hidden between the lines. You just know things are going to get disastrously wrong, as if you are witnessing it coming in your peripheral vision. You just don’t know how and when precisely. And then, when you have somehow lowered your guard, misfortune strikes. And it strikes hard…

Robin Hobb’s books – especially those about Fitz – frequently manage to make me weep for its characters, and Fool’s Assassin is not an exception. By this point, we’ve spent a lot of time with these characters and Robin Hobb knows how to build on this and use it to her advantage. Fitz and his (found) family are still the heart of the story. Their relationship dynamics, just as complicated as we know in real life, are masterfully written and deserve every praise we can give them.

Fool’s Assassin is unique in the Fitz series because it introduces a new and younger POV-character, the character of Bee. And I love her. It was refreshing to alternate between her and Fitz’s perspectives.

If you’re new to this world, I’m not quite sure if this is where you should start. Though Robin Hobb does her best to summarize the key events of earlier books, I still suspect the history is a little overwhelming at times. Starting at Assassin’s Apprentice might be the smarter move.

If you are already invested in Fitz or the mysteries of the Realm of the Elderlings, I can promise you this trilogy dives deeper into some loose ends and unexplored mysteries. You’ll not be disappointed.

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