I don’t know whether it was the fault of the book, or because I’ve read this entire series back-to-back and fatigue has set in, but Assassin’s Fate really dragged for me. It’s taken me a full three weeks to finish this one, whereas it’s predecessors were devoured within days – some of this was due to being back at work which is seriously impinging on my reading time, but mostly it was down to becoming bored with what felt like the same bloody conversation being had over and over and over….
Fitz is finally setting off to take vengeance against the Servants, responsible for the slow torture of The Fool as well as the abduction of Bee, doing so in the company of the few new young people we’ve met in this trilogy. On his way to Clerres, he bumps up against the characters and places that have populated Hobb’s other trilogies – the Rain Wilders and their dragons, and the Traders and their Liveships, meaning that we have to have lots of exposition dumps for Fitz and new readers to get up to speed. While I’ve loved those other trilogies and their characters, I felt that this threw a big spanner into the work of storytelling here – any momentum was lost whenever we arrived somewhere new and had to get to know everyone all over again, and these sections started to feel a little too fan-fictiony for me to really enjoy. Throw in that Fitz and The Fool are STILL having the same bloody talks about whether or not Fitz can go it alone, and it soon started to feel tiresome.
Thank heavens for Bee’s chapters, then, even as she’s abused constantly by her captors, for actually giving us a little action as we work our way towards Clerres. It was a blessed relief to spend some time looking through the eyes of a character who wasn’t constantly riddled with guilt and self-doubt, as well as getting to see a little of what this strange little girl was made of.
Normally I’m sobbing by the time we reach the end of a Fitz book, but Assassin’s Fate – riddled with grief and loss as it is – left me feeling only mildly stirred, and happy to bid Fitz and friends a final farewell.