Fitz has survived his first hazardous mission as king's assassin, but is left little more than a cripple. Battered and bitter he vows to abandon his oath to King Shrewd, remaining in the distant mountains. But love and events of terrible urgency draw him back to the court at Buckkeep, and into the deadly intrigues of the royal family.
This is a review for the entire Farseer Trilogy (Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin's Quest) because I find it almost impossible to rate them as individual books.
This trilogy has just placed itself on my short list of all-time favorite books. There is something about these characters and their stories that I found to be incredibly moving. This is not an easy series to read because it reads so much like real life. It is messy. There is just as much pain and hardship and disappointment as there is hope and encouragement and love. The pacing is timed so that you feel like you have truly lived every long day with these characters. Hobb's talent for world-building and character development is nothing short of masterful.
This is a painfully beautiful fantasy series but it will not appeal to all fantasy readers. It totally lacks the fast paced, slash and dash, sword and sorcery feel of many fantasy novels and anyone looking for that in this series might find themselves bored senseless in the intricate tedium of the plot. On the other hand, I think that this is a series that defies genre stereotypes and could appeal to any typical non-fantasy reader who could appreciate what Hobb has accomplished here.
This is truly a series to savor.