Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off #6: Our Round One Winner

Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off #6

Our Round One Winner

Where Shadows Lie by Allegra Pescatore – SPFBO #6 Semi-Finals Review

Where Shadows Lie

SPFBO #6 Semi-Finals Review

Shadow of a Dead God by Patrick Samphire – SPFBO #6 Semi-Finals Review

Shadow of a Dead God

SPFBO #6 Semi-Finals Review


Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb

Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb
Book Name: Assassin's Fate
Author: Robin Hobb
Publisher(s): Del Rey (US) Harper Voyager (UK)
Formatt: Hardcover / Paperback / Ebook
Genre(s): Fantasy
Release Date: May 4, 2017 (UK) May 9, 2017 (US)

Robin Hobb’s genius isn’t flashy.

The world she has created is fully articulated, complete with complex characters and histories, detailed magical systems, and fully realized political intricacies, yet she rarely is mentioned alongside Brandon Sanderson and others recognized as fantasy’s greatest world-builders.

Her prose isn’t particularly flashy in the same way as writers such as Patrick Rothfuss, and almost never draws attention to itself, allowing the characters and their emotional journeys to provide the fireworks.

Hobb certainly can be clever with her dialogue, but she’s only occasionally laugh-out-loud witty along the lines of Scott Lynch.

Instead, Hobb’s success has always depended upon compassionate storytelling and characters who drive the plot, rather than the other way around. In “Assassin’s Fate,” Hobb completes the third book of the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, the fourth such trilogy Hobb has written about this world, and the third trilogy focused upon FitzChivalry Farseer, his friends, and his families.

Even now, after spending thousands of pages and countless hours with these characters, “Assassin’s Fate” provides even more evidence that Robin Hobb’s ability to emotionally punch readers in the gut remains unparalleled.

As the book begins, Fitz’s home has been attacked and his daughter Bee kidnapped. Unaware that Bee still lives, Fitz, the Fool, and a small collection of companions have begun their journey to Clerres, hell-bent upon a vengeful suicide mission. Their enemies already have seen their plans defeated once by Fitz, but some still believe that Bee could be their salvation, a once-in-a-generation figure upon whom the wheels of fate turn.

Against villains who may know their every move in advance, Fitz, now a past-his-prime assassin whom readers have followed since he was a young boy, is under no illusions regarding their chances of success – he considers this his final mission, with no higher goal than to destroy those who stole his child from him.

At one point, the Fool chastises Fitz for risking his life unnecessarily, and asks him if he wants to die.

“Yes,” I admitted it. “But not yet,” I added. “Not until I’ve put a lot of other people in the ground.”

Earlier in the book, Fitz, whose adventures have so often been undertaken out of duty or for love of his kingdom, admits that he has no higher purpose in this final mission.

“Fool, I care nothing for anyone’s vision of a better future for this world. The Servants destroyed my child.” I spoke into the darkness. “I care only that they have no future at all.”

But unbeknownst to Fitz, Bee is alive, held by captors whose casual and unending cruelties are documented in painstaking detail. Bee’s point-of-view chapters describe her beatings, fear, fatigue, pains and injuries, as well as the many times that she dares briefly to hope before that hope is snuffed out once again.

Assassin's Fate by Robin HobbIncredibly, Bee’s point-of-view chapters are even better than those narrated by Fitz, a stunning accomplishment considering that many readers, myself included, are reading this book because of how incredible a character and narrator Fitz has proven to be. Bee’s perseverance and determination will fondly remind readers of Fitz’s younger days as the target of Prince Regal’s abuses. Those cruelties provided the emotional fuel that made you cheer, even when Fitz made decisions that were ill-conceived but emotionally satisfying. Here, the threats and violence perpetrated against Bee are so well-written that you can’t help but spend much of the book enraged on Bee and Fitz’s behalf.

At times, Hobb’s table-setting is so effective that it’s hard to remember that Robin Hobb’s books aren’t one of the “Taken” movies. Fitz may have a particular set of skills, but these books have never descended into a series of vengeful murders. Hobb doesn’t shy away from the violence, but she won’t revel in delivering vengeance either. It gives her books a higher purposed, but I’ll admit – at times, all I wanted was to see the Fitz of old murder his enemies in righteous vengeance.

While Bee suffers, Fitz faces challenges in getting to Clerres, even after he learns that she may be alive. His company’s journey takes it to the Rain Wilds, where the magical liveships serve as the cornerstone of the traders’ way of life. Readers who have not read the Liveship Traders Trilogy may very well be confused at times, though it is possible to follow the plot even without a complete understanding of the traders’ back stories. Ultimately, the story of the liveships plays a key role in Assassin’s Fate.

Not surprisingly, the book’s conclusion packs Hobb’s usual punch. Hobb obviously put significant thought into how to conclude this trilogy and it showed, as threads dating back to the original trilogy came back into play and made the conclusion feel less like the ending of a simple trilogy, but a way to encapsulate the entire story Hobb has told to date.

Fans who have followed Hobb since she first introduced us to this world in Assassin’s Apprentice can’t afford to miss this one. It’s a story that was 22 years in the making, and Hobb’s ability to draw rage and tears and – when she chooses, elation – from her audience is stronger than ever.



  1. […] Fantasy Faction reviews fantasy novel Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb. […]

  2. Avatar Ritika says:

    I will be rereading the entire series before picking this up, even plough through the rain wild chronicles..

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