Setting my Sights on the Farseer Trilogy

Well this is a seriously stunning series! I have to say right off the bat that if you like fantasy even a smidgen then *this is the trilogy for you*! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get to Hobb… Actually I can a little- I mean, she’s got a huge body of work and it’s pretty intimidating. But I was able to line up the whole first series to read recently… so that’s what I did. And let’s just say I was transported to fantasy heaven.

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Rather than swamping you with loads of little reviews, I decided to tackle the whole Farseer trilogy at once- so buckle in, this is gonna be quite the trip!

Please note spoilers will be marked, but the further you get down the page, where I discuss the later books, the more likely you are to encounter them.

Assassin’s Apprentice

assassins apprenticeI will say that this started out a little slow for me. I did like the introduction of all the characters, but it took me until the magic got introduced, at about 10%, for me to get fully invested- which would be fine, but in a 500 pages book, that’s a little longer than I would like.

Speaking of the characters, that’s what this book is all about. I *loved* how realistic, how complex and how vivid they all were. This isn’t one of those books where characters come second to the plot- no, they were the ones that breathed life into this trilogy. At the epicentre of these books is Fitz- who, as the Prince’s oft-mistreated bastard, is sympathetic from the start and often on the outside looking in. Thrust into the heart of all the political intrigue, he pulls us by the heartstrings into his world, and becomes the unlikely-yet-likeable force that drives the action and makes it impossible to resist falling in love with Hobb’s work.

Because there was also a great cast of side characters. From villains to heroes, they all felt alive to me. I don’t think I could juggle as many people in my review as starred in this book- which is testament to how terrific Hobb was at balancing them in her work! One of the highlights for me was actually Patience- who added a nice touch of comic relief whilst also being amazingly compassionate. The Fool was certainly a draw for me- though I hardly got anything pinned down on him in this early book. I also quickly admired Verity, but my first impressions were actually quite spoilery, so if you’ve read the whole series, highlight the next bit: I actually wrote in my notes that he was an interesting character but I didn’t see him surviving- LOL got a bit ahead of the game there 😉  I did appreciate Burrich- but he could be a bit of a foil to Fitz, which I thought was an interesting exploration of the parent role. As for the others: Chade was Shady, Shrewd was Shrewd and Regal was anything but.

Overall the writing was very absorbing. I especially appreciated the little snippets at the beginning of each chapter which added to the world building. However, while the descriptions were on the most part beautiful, there were points when the writing became burdensome and slow.

By the end, though, I was well and truly invested in the plot and didn’t care. Cos *man* that was a good ending, with revelation after revelation, events coming thick and fast, and culminating in some *fist pumping* moments. By the end of book 1, there was no doubt that I was going to be hooked on Hobb for life and that I may have just found a new favourite author. So it can be no surprise my rating for book one was:

4½/5 bananas

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Royal Assassin

royal assassinSo this book really built on some of the subplots from the first and I was mostly happy about that. For instance, the role of Fitz’ Beast magic took more of a centre stage, with the introduction of the wolf cub Nighteyes. And prepare for some gush, because I love-love-loved him! It can’t be a surprise that I adore non-human characters in books, given my blog name, and Nighteyes pretty much stole the show for me. I mean who wouldn’t love a ginger cake eating wolf? There were so many great details to him to make him pounce off the page and Hobb got his wolfish voice *just right*, with hilarious lines like asking Fitz to scratch him with “your so clever hands”. Honestly, for him alone, I would have wanted to give this book a squidgy hug!

Still, considering how strongly I felt about all the characters in this series, I was pretty meh about Molly. Don’t get me wrong, the romance here was sweet and it allowed for some gorgeous descriptions, but I wasn’t totally feeling it. To be honest, I didn’t find this relationship as important to me as his relationship with Nighteyes for instance- which was not great, cos, you know, as cool as their bond is, I should care more about the protagonist’s feelings for his love interest.

But, speaking of writing, this was an exquisite piece of work. I mean all you can say to this is *wow*:

“My body jangled like badly-tuned harp strings”

I wrote down so many incredible quotes from this because, like I said, *wow*. Every touch built on the world and the characters. I couldn’t help but admire the Queen’s poem for instance, or Fitz getting compared to a wolf, or the tradition of hanging a Pocked Man marionette before a tragedy tradition in puppet shows. The precision of the world building was an absolute delight.

Plot-wise, this began where book 1 left off and it was nice, dramatic starting point. However, once they got on the road and returned to Buckkeep, I did personally find it slowed down a little. Don’t get me wrong, I do like scheming and machinations- and this had that by the fortress load- but I couldn’t help but feel like things took a breather in the middle of the book. HOWEVER, that was just the calm before the storm because WOWEE this has transformative, bold ending. Honestly, that lifted this book several notches for me and completely blew me away.

4½/5 bananas

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Assassin’s Quest

assassin's questWell, if I thought Royal Assassin began and ended well, it was nothing compared to this book. *Spoilers abound* from here on out– but I honestly cannot keep things to myself at this point. As readers, we were taken on Fitz’s savage journey back to being human and truly got to experience his wolfish side. If the writing was well done before, this was bloody marvellous- take a peak:

“You’d pick at this quarrel like a scab until you got it bleeding and fresh”

The plot was a total rollercoaster- speeding exhilaratingly fast and then breaking to a halt. Because of this, I did find the ride a little jarring at times- for instance, there was a detour in the middle where Fitz attempted to kill Regal, where it sped up, but then immediately slowed again with another journey. There was a lot more meandering about in this book, which was a shame, because this slowed it down for me- but I guess I’ve also come to expect that from books that can double up as a weapon. In the end, though, it was like trekking up a mountain- there were some difficult peaks, some moments of concentration, but in the end the breathless beauty of the view from the summit made it all worth it.

What I liked most was the way this story was told. While told from Fitz’s perspective, he is not, I would argue, the most instrumental character in the book. In fact, we are given a vision of Verity’s heroism through Fitz’s eyes, who sacrifices everything for the good of all. This coupled with Fitz’s own sacrifices gives us a multi-faceted view of sacrifice. Here Hobb embraces, transforms and goes beyond typical fantasy tropes, for we are given a symbolically flawless hero, through the would-be king, whilst also preserving the need for a flawed, human protagonist. With extraordinary deftness, Hobb explores the costs of magic, consequently showing the responsibilities of power, in a complex and striking way.

As you can tell from this, I thought that as a character study this was exceptional. However, I did have a few nitpicky issues. I may get in trouble for this, but I honestly didn’t connect to a lot of the side characters in this one. There were a lot of new people crowded into the book, like the minstrels, and although they were all prancing about for my attention, I just couldn’t bring myself to care for them. Annnd if that didn’t annoy you, I’m sorry to say I also hated Molly a little by the end of this book. At the risk of being a Fitz-fangirl, I think she often misunderstood him, didn’t give him the benefit of the doubt and I don’t think she had any justification for shacking up with his (practically) adoptive father in the end. Like I said, I was never that invested in Fitz’s relationship with her, but man, that’s harsh. The conclusion to that story arc was a bit gross to me and the elements of miscommunication (like Burrich not telling her he’d come back from the dead once already) left me a tad unsatisfied. Honestly, it felt like there was a bit of a cliffhanger in his personal life… it’s no wonder I immediately went on to read the next series!

4½/5 bananas

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Ultimately- I couldn’t resist *immediately* launching into Hobb’s second series on Fitz. So I hope you liked those reviews… cos I’m gonna bring out the next one soonish…

That’s all for now! Have you read this series? Are you planning on picking it up? Let me know in the comments!

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52 thoughts on “Setting my Sights on the Farseer Trilogy

  1. Nel says:

    I *might* pick it up eventually. It’s been on my backburner for a really long time (damn TBR that never shrinks). I enjoyed your reviews though and I’m glad you liked the series! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Matthew Wright says:

    I’ve read ‘Assassin’s Apprentice’ and have the next two waiting on the ‘to read’ pile. A fabulous story! I need to read the other two. So much to read… so little time (sigh). Back in 2008, my late Mum almost managed to meet the author (real name Margaret Ogden) at a fantasy fair at Castle de Haar in the Netherlands.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. raistlin0903 says:

    I haven’t read anything by Robin Hobb yet, but I have heard some great things about him. It might be time, especially after reviews such as these, to go and check these out ASAP. Thanks for sharing these (even though they do keep adding to my way too long to read list lol 😂).

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Bookstooge says:

    I read the first book and hated almost every minute of it. Made me realize that Hobbs is not an author for me.

    I’m glad you enjoyed this whole trilogy so much though. At least you have a lot of books to catch up on…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek says:

    Awesome review for an awesome trilogy. I love Hobb’s work and Nighteyes truly is a great character, even Fitz is though he’s a miserable f#cker!😂

    You really should read The Liveship Traders trilogy before The Tawny Man, it’s great and all Hobb’s work ties in together.

    Tawny Man is also great, enjoy though that first book is heartbreaking!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Hehe thank you (I should probably tell you I’ve finished it now, so you’re not too surprised by my next review 😉) ahhh I know what you mean about fools errand- totally broke my heart!

      Haha i wish I’d had that much foresight! I was ambivalent about her in book 1- to be honest I never thought she’d be that important… I wish I was right now!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. lostartofreadingblog says:

    I have been seeing the name Hobb all over the place lately. I feel like I need to give her a try. I rarely read fantasy, but I sort of want to jump in and finally get over my fear haha so to speak. All the fantasy book seem huge and are often in a series, I think that is what has been keeping me away. Everyone see to like Hobb, maybe I should get a library book and give it all a try.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. R A I N says:

    I ABSOLUTELY ADORE THOSE BOOKS THAT ARE CHARACTER DRIVEN AND BOY, IF IT’S A FANTASY + SERIES ……..hahahahahahahahah…. TRY AND STOP ME FROM READING IT!!! I have been meaning to read something from Hobb for some time. Guess I’ll start with this one. AND……..UHHHH….. I DON’T KNOW…I HAVE VISITED YOUR BLOG SOOOO MANY FUCKING TIMES AND, I KEEP FALLING IN LOVE WITH IT AGAIN AND AGAIN………It’s just soo pretty – IT HURTS MY EYES…. !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. LizScanlon says:

    Whooosh! This series demands commitment but I am so glad you read and reviewed it as a whole here because I have been thinking I need to try this series out… you helped me make the decision now 🙂 I just have to schedule reading them in…*looks off into the distance, trying to see the end of imminent TBR* 😀
    Fantastic reviews and I truly feel like I’ve been missing out.. those quotes are fabulous! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hehehe yes it definitely does- but it’s totally worth it!!! 😀 Ah brilliant!! 😀 hehehehe I totally understand 😉 They are so incredible- sometimes I just feel like I need to let the book show itself off, cos the writing is so darn good- this is one of those times!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Angelica (TheBookCoverGirls) says:

    This is a series that has been on my radar since forever! I have been trying to get into fantasy lately but there are just too many books I want to read and they are all so big! But I’ve only heard good things about this one so I may have to bump it up on the TBR. I know that there are other spinoff series and I hear that they are pretty good too. But that demands so much commitment! I will at least try to read the original trilogy…someday. Great reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer says:

    I’ve only read Assassin’s Apprentice but I quite liked it… I read it a while ago and didn’t continue the series simply because it does slow at times… it just becomes a bit of a slog to read especially when I read it a handful of years ago. Maybe its time to try it again… Lovely review Orangutan! You hit right on the head why I don’t often read adult fantasy unless I hear TONS of good things from sources I trust…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

    Wahhh fantastic review, and I’m so happy that you got the chance to read all three in a row!! Gives me hope on my own future experience of Hobb’s writing! I just recently read a short story by her and I can see how that her writing and her style (especially when it comes to developing characters) will seduce me! 😛 Looking soooo forward to trying out the Farseer trilogy! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Zezee says:

    Ahhh!! You read it and liked it!! 😄😄😆 I’m so happy right now. I did a little dance in my office chair, lol!
    Yup, I didn’t like the slow start either and it’s worse in the Liveship Traders trilogy, which follows this one, but the story is still good.
    Lol! Nighteyes is one of my characters in the books too and I love how close he n Fitz are. And also Patience. Loved her too. I can’t remember if I liked Molly or not…I don’t think I did because I don’t like her much now when I think of her. And ugh! That minstrel Starling. I didn’t trust her from the start because she was mean to the Fool.
    I do think Regal’s character could’ve used some more development though.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. luvtoread says:

    Yay! I’m so glad that you loved this series! I totally agree with you about the slow parts and about Molly. I really wasn’t a big fan of her either. I haven’t gotten to the rest of the Fitz books yet. I’m planning on going to the Liveship Traders Trilogy next (reading her books in publication date order). I love how she writes – how she takes her time and builds her characters. I think this is a series that will stand up to re-reads.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you!! I remember seeing a lot of great reviews on your site which nudged me towards finally picking them up- so thank you! Ahh yes, I know what you mean, she wasn’t my favourite. Oh I’ve been told I should have read that before the other Fitz ones, so good choice 😀 Yes I totally get what you mean!!

      Liked by 1 person

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