Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I mean, WOW.
I've read something like nine, now ten of her books at this point and they were all epic doorstoppers split as trilogies, and this one may actually be my favorite of them all.
Why? Well, it wasn't because there was a ton of death and grief in it. Indeed, middle-aged retired Fitz having a well-deserved life with his childhood sweetheart and bringing a new winter baby into their lives was probably the sweetest damn thing the author could have done for him.
She writes it so well that I don't even miss all the epic dragon battles or the battles with the Forged or the battle for the kingdom on the high seas, with Skill and Wit fighting together for once. No. In this case, it's introspection and memories and trying to put all the hard crap behind him and settling into the life of his dreams.
Too bad he's aging slower than his wife and he fears that she's going mad because of a pregnancy that lasted two years.
But what is the real kicker is the fact that she wasn't crazy.
In fact, his kid has both the Wit and the Skill.
This is where it gets really interesting, because we see this kid grow up with our favorite hero, the Catalyst without the White Prophet, and we as readers are making all the connections as Fitz does not, safe in his marital and familial bliss, even after his poor wife has died. On top of that, his daughter Bee is easily one of the most fascinating characters in the book.
No, the thing is... this book is objectively sedate. The currents of being a dad, missing his old friend the Fool, loving his wife... all these things are written so well that it's gripping and fascinating, but as we keep feeling the tension build, knowing that something will inevitably go wrong, we're left hanging on the edge.
Nearly the entire book is a setup. We know this. We're just reveling in a gorgeous span of time, giving Fitz the peace he'd always desired after having become the most deadly assassin and mass-killer of the land.
I just didn't expect to be completely bowled over by this slow boil and the emotional reunion or the rest that immediately follows it.
I cried. I stopped reading and I cried. That's the kind of effect this book had on me, and I generally don't cry with any books. I'm too used to plots and situations.
This one caught me unawares. Hard. So. Ten stars. :)
I'm gonna plow through all three of these doorstoppers in a row. :)
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