22 November 2014

Review: Fool's Assassin

Fool's Assassin
Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been holding out on reviewing this one for a while in part because of time constraints, and in part because I really wanted to kind of enjoy my memory of this book so much. I have been holding out reading Robin Hobb for some time now, and after really devouring this book, I honestly don't know why I waited so long.

The first book in a planned trilogy, the plot involves a magical tracker-type who is a bit out of practice. He and his wife live in the woods, his kids are part of the nobility, and the couple are just enjoying their old age.

At least until his much too old wife gets pregnant.

This is a big deal due to the rules of the magic of the story as well as the weird situation of the pregnancy, and when the child is born we learn even more about what's happening, putting into play a variety of political, social, and magical mysteries that need to be unraveled.

The first 100 pages or so of this are kind of slow in the establishing of the tale. I get, after finishing it, why the slow burn happens, but it does take away from the overall narrative enough to keep me from considering this one a true favorite. With that said, the last 500 or so pages more than make up for it and create a really compelling, interesting, and original fantasy read even as it exists within established tropes and concepts. It may relate to Hobb's other books as well, but there's nothing in this book that points obviously to anything else and appears to stand alone well as a trilogy, so I wouldn't be scared off by that, either.

This is a year where there have been some truly excellent genre books released, from the second book in Sanderson's series to The Slow Regard of Silent Things to Area X to Maplecroft to The Goblin Emperor and beyond. Fool's Assassin shouldn't get lost in the shuffle, as it almost did for me, it's really one of the best reads of the year.

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