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Assassin's Quest (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 3) Mass Market Paperback – January 5, 1998
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In this conclusion to the Farseer saga, FitzChivalry's quest for revenge on the usurping Regal requires him to journey to the Elderlings (wise old mages in the classic mold) and afterwards to realize the emergence of his own magical gifts, at which point the quest comes to an end after a mere 688 pages. Like much high fantasy these days, the book could have been pruned more than a trifle; on the other hand, along with the extra wordage come extra measures of characterization, world building, and emotionally compelling scenes of both magic and battle. And this is definitely the end of one story, although the world Hobb has created is now sufficiently developed (even why the characters have such archetypical names is explained) to be the scene of future books. In all, this is an improvement over its predecessors that will please their readers and probably whet their appetites for more from Hobb. Roland Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
Final installment--each entry independently intelligible--of Hobb's stunning fantasy trilogy (Royal Assassin, 1996; Assassin's Apprentice, 1995) about the beleaguered Six Duchies and their Farseer kings. Months ago, King Verity vanished into the far mountains in search of the semi-mythical Elderlings, whose help he must have in order to defeat the rampaging Red Ship Raiders, leaving his murderous, venal, and insanely ambitious brother, Prince Regal, to dispose of Verity's last few loyalists at his leisure--including narrator, spy, and assassin FitzChivalry. Poor Fitz, unable to contact his beloved Molly (she thinks he's dead) and daughter (by Molly) for fear of exposing them to Regal's attentions, uses his magic Skill to locate Verity and receives an imperious summons: ``COME TO ME!'' So, abandoning his plan to assassinate Regal, Fitz enters the mountains with a small band of helpers. Eventually, having evaded Regal's minions, Fitz comes upon Verity Skill-carving a huge dragon out of black rock; nearby stand other lifelike dragon-sculptures that, to Fitz's animal-magic Wit, seem somehow alive. Are these eerie sculptures what remain of the Elderlings? Yet, for all his Skill, Verity cannot bring the dragons to life; and soon Regal will arrive with his armies and his Skilled coterie. An enthralling conclusion to this superb trilogy, displaying an exceptional combination of originality, magic, adventure, character, and drama. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Perhaps that's why the author gives Fitz time to go through the various stages of revengeful thoughts and actions, grief, healing and ultimately sets him back on the course to fulfill his quest. Initially, after his mistreatment in the dungeons, Fitz is mixed up about his identity and only Burrich, who is accustomed to working with wounded animals, can see him through this period in his life. Ultimately, it's up to Fitz to get back on his feet and go forward. To this end, he seeks to revenge himself upon Regal and those who left him for dead. He has some success, but in the middle of his acts of revenge, Verity calls to him - "Come to Me" via the Skill. The message is so strong, Fitz heads for the city of the Elderlings. He has adventures aplenty along the way and is reunited with Kettricken and the Fool as he moves toward the end game. He also picks up two other travelers - Starling, a minstrel and Kettle whose identity, when revealed, adds much to the story. Together they head far into Elderling territory to try and find Verity.
Once they locate Verity, it's a bit difficult to relate to Verity's actions. In my first reading of this book, I was extremely let down by the way the storyline handled Verity and his doings. After re-reading this series, plus reading other related series, including the Tawny Man Series and the Ships of Magic Series, the overall picture becomes more clear, thus making it easier for me to accept Verity's and Kettricken's story for what it is. However, one can't help but find parts of it very dismal. Overall, I was simply enthralled with this book on this third reading.
Okay, so you've read books 1 and 2 and you're wondering if Assassin's Quest is worth it. Short answer, yes. If you've read the first two books, you know that Hobb has no qualms about taking our protagonist, Fitz, on an incredible (and sometimes painful) personal journey. Her beautiful writing has transported us to the Six Duchies, and we've been there for all of the highs and lows of Fitz's childhood and adolescence. As you might imagine, everything has escalated in this book.
Fitz has lost. Fitz IS lost, when this book begins. The opening pages of this book are both tragic and fascinating as we watch Fitz recover himself, and decide whether he even wants to keep on living. Yeah, it's heavy. I warned you. From then on, he is on a journey to both find his King, and defeat the evil Prince Regal and save the world. That's all of the plot I'm giving you, sorry.
The only downside I found in this book is that it is, at times, slow. I've read elsewhere that Hobb looks to avoid Deus Ex Machina at all costs, which is evident here. If Fitz is going to win, he's going to earn it, and it's going to take something from him (just like it would in real life). There's a lot of walking, and talking, and meeting new characters along the way. Most of the new characters are really great (Kettle and Starling), but it's the growth between Fitz, the Fool, and Nighteyes which really takes the cake.
I never really liked (or, frankly, understood) the role of The Fool until this book. I still don't completely understand him, but I'm actually interested now, which is a big accomplishment. I'm looking forward to learning more in future books.
Overall, I found the ending to be satisfying. I had read a lot of critiques coming in, so I was actually pretty worried the ending might be disappointing. However, I think the majority of the criticism came from readers who were unaware that Fitz's story continues with the Tawny Man trilogy, as well as Hobb's most recent trilogy. When viewed as the first puzzle piece of a complicated man's life, Farseer shines.
Ultimately, it's a wonderfully written (if a bit dreary at times) addition to the fantasy landscape, and highly recommended.