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Group read: Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb - Farseer trilogy

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Feb 27, 2:04pm Top

Welcome to our group read of Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings series. This is the thread to discuss Royal Assassin, the second book in the series, in March.

Link back to the main group read organisation thread with a full series listing and timetable.

I wasn't planning to set a timetable for reading certain chapters by a certain date but I would say to use the spoiler tags (<spoiler>spoilery comments</spoiler>) and perhaps also include the chapter in bold so people who are reading along know whether it's safe to read the spoilers.

Feb 27, 2:04pm Top

So who's in?

Feb 27, 10:08pm Top

I am in the mood, so But I will get Assassin's Apprentice from Audible first. I'm sure I'll be able to get through both in March.

Feb 28, 2:31am Top

I'm in! There's 33 chapters plus an epilogue, so I'm aiming to spread out the experience and read around 8 chapters per week.

Feb 28, 3:59am Top

I've finished! I have comments and questions, which I will try to chime in with at appropriate points. Another great read and I can't wait to get started on the final part. I have a question for right now - how do all the other books set in the same universe tie in with these? I get that they are set in the same fictional universe, but are there deeper connections than that? Do characters overlap? Is the timeline roughly the same? I see that the Fool seems to have his/her own massive Trilogy that looks intriguing, but what of the others?

Feb 28, 8:47am Top

I'll be following along. Read this one a few years back.

>5 HanGerg: They all tie together. The Tawny Man is a direct sequel to The Farseer Trilogy. People from Liveships show up in it, though minor. And Liveships does touch on Farseer though you might not realize it until later. The Rain Wilds Chronicles builds upon the Liveships. And though I haven't started them yet, I think Fitz and the Fool series ties them all together. I'll let you know sometime this summer when I read them :)

Feb 28, 3:13pm Top

>3 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel. Welcome! We're leaving a one month gap between the books so even if you don't manage both books in March you'll have April to catch up :-)

>4 Arifel: Good to have you with us Adri! That sounds like a good plan but I know that once I start reading I don't think I'll be able to space it out.

>5 HanGerg: Hannah - really?! Wow! Well done! Please do comment as other people start reading.

>6 Narilka: Thanks for the background Gale. I knew the Tawny Man series was a sequel but wasn't sure about the other series.

Mar 1, 12:06am Top

I'm in. I'll probably start this weekend and then I'll probably read right through, as I'm like Heather and will not be able to space it out once I get started.

Mar 7, 1:35pm Top

I'm a little late to the party, but as one of the instigators, I'm definitely in :-)

I just need to finish my current library read then I can dive in!

Mar 8, 2:04am Top

I'm reading but keep forgetting to stop by and comment.

I'm up to Chapter Thirteen and I'm feeling quite frustrated with Fitz about Molly - I can't see that ending well. Loving Nighteyes and suspecting that Prince Regal is behind Shrewd's illness in some way.

Edited: Mar 10, 6:21am Top

Ok, I'm not sure when it happens so I'll put it in spoliervision, but can anyone enlighten about this one thing I couldn't figure out about this instalment Why does Kettricken go riding with Regal? Surely she hates him, suspecting strongly, if not knowing outright, that he killed her brother?!

In general, the thing I like about both books I've read so far is how real and believable the human interactions feel, for example Verity and Kettricken really struggle at first with their marriage. They are both good people, which in some books would automatically equal a happy marriage, but this book shows how you can be a good person but still fail to gel with another person, despite good intentions. I also really like the way Kettricken's idea of being a Sacrifice for her people is totally at odds with all the court intrigue of Buckeep.

Edited: Mar 12, 2:13pm Top

>10 souloftherose: Hannah, I'm now on Chapter 19, and I'm not only frustrated with Fitz about Molly, but also about Nighteyes. When asked by Patience earlier in the book what he is going to do next, he replies that he will do what he has been told as he always does. My thought is that perhaps he SOMETIMES does as he is told, but more often than not, he does not - and that frustrates me.

>11 HanGerg: Hannah, I had the same question about Kettricken riding with Regal. It seems like with all the combined intelligence, they should be able to protect people from Regal.

I'm starting to be very frustrated with the book. Right now, it seems to go on endlessly about how Fitz is seeing Molly and he shouldn't be. Just about everyone has given him a great reason why he should NOT be with Molly to avoid hurting her, yet he continues to see her. How selfish is that? OK, I get that he is a "good guy" and has a lot of pressure, and also that he is human and therefore flawed, but he doesn't seem to have much regret about the possibility of ruining Molly's life. Also, he just hides his relationship with Nighteyes. I'm sure that somehow in this book or future books, Nighteyes will play a big role, but is he really doing the best thing for Nighteyes? He can rationalize it, but isn't he again just being selfish? Also, in not going to see King Shrewd, to whom he owes allegience - this is totally selfish as well. I think perhaps Hobbs means for us to feel this way, but it is frustrating me to the point that I'm starting not to care about what happens to Fitz. He's started to lose my sympathy in Chapter 12.

Mar 13, 5:50am Top

>11 HanGerg:, >12 rretzler: Re Kettricken riding (which is Chapter Seven), I think there are possibly two things here - first is that I don't think anyone (except Fitz at this stage) really thinks Regal would be capable of harming Kettricken as Queen-in-Waiting. To them I think that would be something of a very different magnitude to killing a foreign prince or killing Fitz (who is 'just' a bastard). Note that Verity's first response when Kettricken returns is to ask how she could be so foolish. He assumes she just got lost not that Regal took her riding intending to harm her.

I think from Kettricken's point of view she's incredibly lonely and very bored as Queen-in-Waiting. Regal can be very charming when he wants to be and I imagine that combination and the offer of some activity (riding - actually getting out of the castle) outweighed her doubts.

Mar 13, 5:58am Top

>12 rretzler: Re Fitz, I understand where you're coming from with those frustrations. And I think we're supposed to roll our eyes when he says he'll do what he's told as he always does (yeah, right Fitz). I think, like with Kettricken, Fitz is incredibly lonely so although I agree that in many ways he's being very selfish with his relationships with Molly and Nighteyes - I don't know if in his situation I'd be strong enough not to take up offers of love and friendship when they were offered to me. He's also very young still (I can't remember how old at this stage but I think early 20s at the oldest).

And yes, his avoiding Shrewd is not just selfish but dangerous.

I can't promise that those frustrations with Fitz are going to go away - he is in general a very flawed character and as he is our viewpoint character for this trilogy and I think some of the others, I can understand how these books wouldn't work if you find him too annoying.

Mar 13, 6:13am Top

Some notes from my reading:

Chapter Thirteen: This was quite a brutal chapter - both the descriptions of the forged ones and the little girl and the descriptions of Fitz and Nighteyes fighting them. Was the taste of blood in Fitz's mouth at the end from his shared experience from Nighteyes (because Nighteyes had bitten the men?) or had Fitz turned wolf and bitten them too? (And, ew).

Chapter Fifteen: Not quite answers on what the Fool is and where he(?) comes from but lots of tantalising hints about the Fool and the future of the Six Duchies.

Chapter Twenty: Chade is the one effectively giving Shrewd those poisons? Is Chade doing this because Regal will try something anyway and at least this way Chade has some control (and can potentially minister antidotes? Like Fitz, I'm confused.

Mar 14, 1:11am Top


Mar 14, 7:38am Top

>14 souloftherose: To Fitz defence Shrewd is the king, and has always told Fitz when to see hem, he had the initiative. Maybe Fitz doesn't realise that he needs to step up and Shrewd needs his protection. Though why doesn't Chase understand this?

Mar 18, 12:36pm Top

>16 rretzler: Well done on finishing!

And I'm also finished. As usual with this series the last 50 pages or so was almost unputdownable.

>17 EllaTim: Good point. Yes, Chade seems to have taken a back seat in this book and I missed him

Mar 20, 6:55am Top

>15 souloftherose: Chapter Thirteen: Just finished this chapter and yup, really brutal. I took it as Fitz having gone too far into the wolf again and resorted to teeth, the way he did in an earlier chapter. It seemed like he was actually spitting out blood and beard, rather than feeling it from Nighteyes, which indicates he had a good mouthful and the Forged man did have his throat ripped badly :-( I'm starting to worry a bit about where this is taking him.

Fitz and Molly: I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling frustrated by this! I can also understand it, because he's very young (I was putting him in late teens, but I could be wrong) and people make bad choices at that age a lot. I agree with everyone who says he's lonely and that's playing a lot into what he's doing, both with Molly and Nighteyes. He's become isolated in so many ways from the people who had been his support and friends earlier in his life and even Chade isn't really there right now.

Mar 21, 2:58am Top

Well, my plans to read this slowly through the month massively fell through, but I've finally started reading a couple of days ago and am up to the start of Chapter 7, so on track to join discussions soon!

Without spoilers, one thing I'm really appreciating on this readthrough is how most of the characters swing so much between being likeable and being totally frustrating and/or unpleasant (with a couple of obvious exceptions who are constantly the worst). It drives home how isolated Fitz is and what an undertaking it is for him to reach out to anyone when he has to so carefully calculate how his partial allies will respond to anything he trusts them with.

Also, (again without spoilers, not least because I don't actually have time to look up how to do the tags right now...!) my favourite character has showed up and I'm super excited to rediscover how their integration plays out.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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