Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb (review) Part 2

Title: Royal Assassin
Author: Robin Hobb
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 675
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: F Hob
ISBN: 0-553-57341-1
Cost: $0

So I recently posted a review of Robin Hobb's Royal Assassin. It was a bit short. And as a friend and fellow blogger/reviewer told me, that might not be the best thing to do. And since this person has been a well of information and help in the past, I felt a little like my own kids would if I had caught them at something they shouldn't be doing. In my case, I was writing crap. And I got caught. Like any kid, I have reasons but they just don't measure up to doing the right thing, so I won't bore you with them. I've spent my 32 minutes in time-out and I'll try to do better.

Part of my issue with this series is with the author. I had seen and heard the Robin Hobb name for years, even back when I was working in the book store, I knew it was a popular enough name to stay on the shelves. After I began to branch out from the cookie-cutter fantasy I was reading, I gave Hobb a try. And that's when I learned my expectations had been much higher after coming off of works from Abercrombie and Rothfuss. So my hopes were dashed a bit by reading something that just wasn't quite up there high enough for me.

The next part of my issue was, well, the whole book. No, not really the whole book, but there were enough parts in there that I didn't like, they ended up stomping all over the parts I did like. Fitz could have been one of those cookie cutter reluctant hero, but his character never seemed to progress there. He grew taller and stronger, but his mind, his internal voice, still seemed to be that of a child.

Then we have the wolf. What a great chance to expand on Fitz and bring the wolf in as a main character. But no. Yet the Princes and Queen in Waiting were good enough as they were. You felt for them, loved them, hated them, wanted to help (or kill) them. The Fool is awesome. But then he leaves. And Chade? Awesome. But not enough is revealed about him to keep you thinking about him.

I guess what it boils down to is the exciting parts were just skimmed over. Like the white ship. The Fool. The wolf. And the drool parts were dwelled upon. Like the garden on the roof. Or the Skilling here and there and everywhere. And bringing him back from the dead?

So, for me, the book (and series) doesn't work for me. I know many other readers like books by Robin Hobb and that's fine with me. Some people hated Name of the Wind. Some people loved it. We'll call it even. But what saddens me most (aside from my shamefully short review from before) is that I had such high hopes of "discovering" a new author to read. She has written so many books, the covers look great, and a lot of people enjoy them.


1979 semi-finalist said...

I admire the fact that you went back in here and dug for a more complete review. I'm not actually from the camp of thinking it was necessary - perhaps because I found your first review refreshingly honest - perhaps because I too review books and know what a chore it can be - especially when the book is not good, but I admire that you went back in there.

Gold star for the day :)

TK42ONE said...

And it was a chore, mostly because I had to take my own super-strong opinions over the book and set them aside.