Series: The Farseers trilogy (books 1-3 of Realm of the Elderlings) by Robin Hobb
Release Date: May 1995 to March 3rd 1997
Tags: High fantasy / Fantasy / Assassins / Coming of Age / Dragons / Princes
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill—and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family. As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.
For a while I had been putting of reading Robin Hobb and the start to her Realm of Elderlings but then at the end of May I got an itch to binge read the Farseer trilogy and within a week I tore through all three of these. I think that says enough about how I feel about these books.
The Farseers trilogy introduces us to Fitz, a bastard born to a prince in waiting for the throne, when he gets dumped with them at the age of six by his mothers’ family. He never does get to meet his father who turns away from court and his place as prince in waiting. This leaves him alone at court. He feels alone. Burich, a man loyal to his father, ends up raising him. But even he can’t protect him from court or what his grandfather wants him to become.
I think the draw to this trilogy for me is how we watch Fitz grow. We meet him at the age of six but at the end of the trilogy he is nearing or in his twenties I believe. Essentially we follow his young adult life. His coming of age. There is just something about following a character along like that. All his ups and downs. But also his growth and failings.
Fitz is set separate from court as a bastard but along the way he meets others that also share that faith though perhaps in a different way than he does. He also has abilities like the skill and can link himself to animals, that last being frowned upon heavily. But these things, and especially the skill don’t come easily to him. He doesn’t become an over powered boy who is seen as the savior or anything like that. He struggles with the skill and his other abilities cause for a lot of debate with those that care about him.
As for the other characters, I grew fond of Verity very quickly and was sad to see him disappear of the page for a while halfway through the second book. I liked how he became with Fitz and how their bond grew over time as well. Burich I also grew to like. He took on the role of father to a point for Fitz, even if Fitz didn’t always see it that way.
Writing wise this trilogy does have some dense paragraphs here or there. But where I often struggle with adult fantasy is the lack of humor and ease between the characters, this was not the case here. Fitz has a mind of his own and there is such subtle humor throughout this. But also in his interactions with others. The writing is also done in a way that I feel close to Fitz. I also barely noticed this was a first person point of view book. We get so much about the other characters as well I almost felt like I was reading a multiple person. And everything was still dosed really well so that no information ever felt overwhelming or info dumped. Robin Hobb clearly has amazing writing skills and I shall highly recommend her to any fantasy lover.
She does however take awhile to build up the plot so it isn’t exactly fast-paced. However everything is well thought out. There were moments that I wondered why Fitz hadn’t noticed something or hadn’t put some things together, but when he did he also smacked himself that he hadn’t put it together earlier. I liked that. It shows the author that she doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of her readers or overestimate her own ability to secretly foreshadow something.
The reason I am rating this 4 stars and not higher is because sometimes there is a clear lack of action. And I didn’t necessarily agree with all the things that happened in here at the end. I’m totally not upset or anything about that. Nope. But I can say that I was completely absorbed in this world and the characters for a week and would try and find as much time to read these. Seeing as this trilogy is a total of 1700+ pages I feel you might understand my commitment.