Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Farseer's End

ASSASSIN'S FATE (The Fitz and the Fool # 3)
Robin Hobb
Del Rey
May 9, 2017

It has been a couple of weeks since I finished Assassin's Fate and it has taken me that long to let it settle. In fantasy, several factors play into the execution; world building, coherent social/magic systems and characterization being just some of them. World building and systems are important, but above all (at least for me) are characters I can invest in. I have been fully invested in FitzChivalry Farseer through three trilogies now; The Farseer Trilogy, The Tawny Man Trilogy, and now The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy. There are many memorable characters in the Six Duchies, but Fitz is indelible in his messy, chaotic, maddening humanity. His small, mysterious daughter, Bee, is another unforgettable piece of the tapestry. Following Fitz's life from bastard child to middle-aged man has been frustrating, rewarding, horrifying and often heart-breaking. 

I'm not going to try to synopsize Assassin's Fate other than to say that after several years of relative peace living as Tom Badgerlock with his beloved Molly, Fitz's life falls apart with the seemingly impossible pregnancy of Molly. After a very long gestation, Molly brings forth Bee, a tiny girl who takes an inordinate amount of time to grow and develop. Molly dies when Bee is still a tiny child. Bee seems backward and odd in the extreme, but Molly gives her all the love and attention a child could need. When Molly dies, Fitz is overcome by grief and at a loss about how to raise Bee. The Fool's sudden reappearance complicates matters. The Fool has been horribly tortured by the sadistic White Prophets on the island of Clerres where the Fool grew up and then returned to, expecting a warm welcome. Fitz's efforts to save the Fool's life ensure that he is not at home when Bee needs him most. Bee is kidnapped by a band of the same White Prophets and Fitz's estate and people are destroyed. Fitz becomes convinced that Bee is dead and wants revenge. The Fool is not sure as he has had dreams about Bee. The two set out on the long journey to Clerres and Fitz's ultimate fate.

Robin Hobb incorporates elements and characters from the Farseer books as well as from the Liveship Traders and the Rain Wild Chronicles. I confess that I have read neither Live Ship or Rain Wild. In fact, after The Soldier Son Trilogy, I laid off Hobb's books. I found the Soldier Son books tough going. No doubt it would have made The Fitz and the Fool a richer experience had I read them but it was always Fitz's voice, and now Bee's, that intrigue me. Fitz's ultimate fate is not what I ever would have chosen or wished for him, but ultimately he is Robin Hobb's creation and her vision. I don't doubt that we will see more of the Six Duchies and the Farseer Dynasty, but Fitz will be missed. To sum up, I ran across a Facebook meme from one of the many "bookish" sites I frequent that expresses my feelings exactly:

 me: This book brutally ripped out my heart and tore it to shreds then stomped it into the
        ground as I drowned in a sea of tears and basked in eternal sorrow.

me:  Here read it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Del Rey for an advance digital copy. The opinions above are my own.

RATING-  5 Stars                 

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