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Assassin's Quest

Assassin's Quest - Robin Hobb “When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse”

- Coldplay

There is a kind of trope in epic fantasy where the Chosen One gets angry at being chosen, at what he has to sacrifice for the global benefit, and what a terrible time he is having. Frodo, Harry Potter etc. all go through this “woe is me” phase. FitzChivalry, the protagonist of this “Farseer Trilogy” does a lot of that in this final volume of the trilogy. To quote Prince (formerly “The artist formerly known as Prince”): “Shut up already, damn!” Perhaps a bit of Coldplay would have fixed him.

So! The final volume of the The Farseer Trilogy – hurrah! I love reading final volumes of trilogies, it is an accomplishment of sorts (that no one but you cares about) and it also gives you a sense of closure. Of course the series continue with new trilogies, but there is no cliff hanger to spoil your day. Assassin's Quest of course moves right along from the ending of [b: Royal Assassin|68487|Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy, #2)|Robin Hobb|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1387145228s/68487.jpg|4668002] where our hero Fitz was apparently beaten and tortured to death by the dastardly Prince Regal. Of course having much more protagonistic work to do he did not die but stuffed his soul into Nighteyes the wolf to be downloaded and restored into his body when the bad guys are not around. After recovering (about 80%) from his wounds and whining at his two best friends and mentors so hard they pack up and leave him, he goes off on the eponymous quest to find the missing Prince Verity who went off to a remote mountain range to find the legendary Elderlings to aid the people of his Kingdom. The plot sounds silly when I recount it but it actually is a damn fine story with oodles of plots, intrigue, excitement, characters and emo bits.

What I particularly like about this series is how the fantastical element is implemented (I dislike the term “magic system”, it sounds inappropriately techy for fantasy). Any way, much of the magic in this series resemble that old Golden Age Sci-Fi chestnut “psi powers”, telepathy, premonition, psychic attacks, astral projection and whatnot; of course Robin Hobb has her own terms for these things. This helps to boost the believability of the series' universe for me. I am not a big fan of spells and incantations in epic fantasy, they just seem too Cinderella for my taste. Having said that things become much much more magical toward the end of the book but by then I was already so deep into the book I did not really care.

There is an elegance to Ms Hobb’s writing that I tend to associate with female authors. However, she is also adept at depicting some very badass fight scenes. The characters are skillfully developed and quite vivid. The Fool continues to be the most unique and interesting characters in the series, though he is much less enigmatic here than he was in previous volumes. Nighteyes the wolf is much improved from his appearances in the first two books when he was basically just an annoying pup. In Assassin's Quest he is clever, resourceful, loyal and generally very lovable. My only gripe with the characterization is the central character FitzChivalry. For practically the entire book he makes the same mistakes over and over and complains incessantly. I don’t remember him being this whiny in the previous books. Ms. Hobb’s penchant for angst and melodrama also bogs the narrative down from time to time and made the book longer than it needs to be (757 pages).

Still, Assassin's Quest is a damn good read, mostly well paced and has a rousing climax. If you are looking for a fantasy series to read do pick up the first volume [b: Assassin's Apprentice|45107|Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)|Robin Hobb|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320339497s/45107.jpg|171715] which Amazon has kindly made available at a very low price to entrap you into Hobb addiction, it kinda works. I am not sure I am on board for the subsequent trilogies of this series, they require a lot of time commitment and I feel the first trilogy is nice and complete by itself. Fitz should just acquire a comfy chair, kick back, smoke a pipe and start a stamp collection or something. I am glad I have read this trilogy though, it’s pretty damn awesome.