Assassin's Quest – Farseer Trilogy #3

Genre: Fantasy
[rating:4.5]
(Amazon UK/Amazon US/Goodreads)

This is my review copied over from Goodreads, I’ve included a spoiler warning for the extra bits. Hopefully it stands out enough 😉

How to review this without spoilers… That’s quite a difficult one isn’t it. Reviewing the last in a series without spoiling the ending because all you want to do is discuss how everything was wrapped up, what you thought of the way such-a-body acted, what was sad, what made you smile. I guess I can safely say that Hobb is fantastic at letting her story fall into place. Giving justice, sadness, and happiness in equal measures, ending her story as it began – balanced. And to me, it almost did come around in a circle, starting the way it began. I think the best literature successfully mirrors itself.

The first half of the novel was a struggle, I will admit. I felt as thought the same times were happening again and again and I almost took a break from it, right in the middle, and then something changed and the story dusted itself off and got going again, and I didn’t quite expect it to go where it did. Some things I anticipated all along, some things weren’t even trying to be twists, which is fine, not every change in a story should be a twist, but the things that you don’t expect, you really don’t expect, or perhaps you’re given plenty of clues, and you have an inkling, but even so, the twist comes and slaps you in the face, mocking you for missing it so easily.

Hobb is a genius with words, and though I’d probably have rated this one more at 4.5 stars for the first half of the novel, the ending was brilliant and ended the Farseer trilogy perfectly, and so it was closer to 5 than 4, based on the ending and her writing style alone. If you haven’t read it yet and like fantasy, I recommend you go and get yourself a copy of Assassin’s Apprentice.

Spoilers Below

I want to discuss my thoughts on the ending of the novel. I like to keep my Goodreads reviews spoiler free, but as this is the last in the trilogy, and I have had a few people ask me what I thought of the ending, I felt it would be apt to cover my thoughts here. If you haven’t read the series and don’t want to know the spoilers, stop reading now.

Now, I’ve read a few reviews and such of people saying that they found the ending unsatisfactory. I disagree. I thought the bittersweet ((sorry Naithin for stealing your word, it just fits so well :P)) ending was perfect for this trilogy because all along, nothing has been perfect and happy. Fitz has these safeguards in the forms of his friends, and when half of them believe him dead, you’d think that perhaps he would go to them, at least to say goodbye. I found that a little too modest. I’d have liked to see Fitz say goodbye to Burrich, who he has always seen as a father to him, but I suppose I can understand why he left Burrich and Molly well alone. But, it would have been nice if he’d gone back to Buckeep and said goodbye to Chade, Patience, and Lacey, yet he doesn’t. He decides to slink off on his own and live a life that is reminiscent of some combination between Chade and Burrich. More so of Burrich, really, as this was what I meant by the novel coming in a full circle. Once everything has been dealt with, Fitz gets himself a place and shuts himself off from the world. This part reminded me of Chade, how he lives in secret, but in essence, he becomes a young man who has lost his King and remains scarred, and lives alone with the beast he has Wit-bonded to, when Starling brings him a boy, no older than 7 years old, for Fitz to look after, perhaps to look after Fitz. And he calls the child ‘boy’, as his mother had named him ‘Mishap’. That literally reeks of the beginning of Assassin’s Apprentice when Burrich is charged with looking after Chivalry’s bastard, and I love it. It’s nice to be able to draw these comparisons, though it is a shame that he decides to hermit himself rather than live his own life like he had always wanted. It is a bittersweet ending, but it fits perfectly, as the entire series is just that, and that’s what made the Farseer trilogy feel so real – the flaws.

I particularly loved a couple of things. Firstly, when Verity says goodbye, he tells Fitz that he loved him. I’ll admit that I welled up a little at this, because all along, Fitz wanted to feel loved by his family. He almost had it with King Shrewd, and then it’s revealed that, though we do know it all along really, his Uncle loved him as a nephew. And I’m glad that the obvious was stated, because it’s a nice thing to end Verity’s life on.

Secondly, Regal. Ahahaha. I had to laugh at his ending. Anyway, I know that madness in a villain is a very common thing, but it’s so rare that you actually see into their minds, and to see how every evil that Regal has done was done out of jealousy for his brothers and Fitz, well, it just makes you pity him. He’s nothing but a crazed man, spoilt by his mother, and Galen the Skillmaster. Fitz burning in a fierce loyalty to Kettricken with the Skill was just plain and simple poetic beauty and I found that a brilliant end to such a fantastic villain. I say fantastic, because he wasn’t especially overdone, you just hate him.

Overall, I loved this trilogy. I found this one did get a little repetitive at times, especially in the first half, but it was worth it just to get to the end.