January is always a depressing month, the bitter wind bites at your nose and cheeks and the weather never allows for a moment of unadulterated sunshine. This year I decided to not let the weather interfere with my mood, instead I would use the gloomy days and early fading light as an opportunity to get cozy by the fire and delve into the world of fantasy.
As a, mainly, classics reader, I find the fantasy genre very overwhelming. I am not intimidated by large classic novels but something about the size of a fantasy novel terrifies me. This month, casting aside my fear, and putting on my ‘big girl’ reading cap, I decided to start the second book in the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb. I must now take the opportunity to congratulate myself on that wise decision.
Claiming only two fantasy novels under my belt during my reading career, I can already state that I do not think any other book in the genre will compare to The Farseer Trilogy. I cannot get enough and am so delighted that I have not yet made a dent in Robin Hobbs’s oeuvre.
Royal Assassin continues from where the first book leaves off. FitzChivalry has yet again to outwit and outmaneuver intriguers within Buckkeep, all the while trying not to get himself and the people he loves killed. With the Red Ships raiding the coastal villages and reeking havoc on all who dwell there, King-in-waiting Verity takes on a quest to find the Elderlings; beings that,according to legend, aided the royal house in troubled times.
Of stones were their bones made, of the sparkling veined stone of the mountains. Their flesh was made of the shining salts of the earth. But their heats were made of the hearts of wise men. ‘They came from afar, those men, a long and trying way. They did not hesitate to lay down the lives that had become a weariness to them. They ended their days and began eternities,they put aside flesh and donned stone, they let fall their weapons and rose on new wings. Elderlings.
With Verity away from court, and his new wife left lost and alone among strangers, who will protect his claim to the throne, his abandoned wife and battle against usurpers- well none other than loyal FitzChivalry Farseer, the bastard nephew.
Hobbs writing is remarkable for both its poesy and also its accessibility. The narrative is captivating and gripping, and is not so plot heavy that she entirely ignores character development. This book has plot and character in spades. The world is incredibly well imagined, and we are slowly introduced to new concepts and ancient lore, not beaten over the head with it from the first page. I highly recommend this book for readers, who like me, are only beginning their journey into Fantasy.
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