Royal Assassin - Robin Hobb To be honest, I waffled over how to rate this book. I ended up giving it 3 stars, but there were huge swathes of this novel where I was tempted to give it 2. If I could sum up my reading experience in two words, it would be: mentally tiring.

I really enjoyed the ending, and maybe a few chapters here and there in the middle, but I have to admit that on the whole I have more negative things to say than positive. Maybe the story actually warranted this book to be so long, but boy, several parts certainly dragged.

On some level, I'm probably still getting used to Hobb's style; I discovered with her Rain Wilds Chronicles series that her individual books tend to feel like they lack direction, but when taken as a whole, the big picture eventually emerges clearly. Given Royal Assassin is the middle book of the Farseer trilogy, perhaps this was what made this "rambling narrative" feeling more apparent. Though it's been quite a while since I read the first book Assassin's Apprentice, I don't recall feeling so frustrated about it, but maybe I was just a bit more tolerant then because it was book one and that made me give it the benefit of the doubt.

I was unfortunately much less patient with this book. I definitely wanted to give it a chance to show me where the story was going, but it really didn't do that until near the end. Before we got to this point, between Fitz's problems with the Forged, with Molly and with Regal, not a lot really happens and I had to fight myself from zoning out.

To be fair, I just didn't find myself very interested in Fitz's character, nor did I really care about his relationship with Molly. I disliked her intensely, actually. I just really can't understand Fitz's obsession with such a clingy, melodramatic and flaky woman. Not unexpectedly, I really couldn't get into the story when so much was centered around their love and their struggles to be with each other.

I also grew irritated by the fact no one besides Fitz seems to give a crap about Regal's shenanigans. I'm not sure Verity really deserves Fitz's hero-worship of him; I've always thought the King-in-Waiting is a great character, but ultimately it's the inexplicable inaction of otherwise very intelligent and rational characters that really started getting on my nerves. I really didn't like that to be the driving force behind the book.

I'll definitely finish the trilogy, as there's the aforementioned "whole big picture" and all that. Like I said, I particularly liked the ending of this book and I'm quite keen on finding out what happens. Part of me thinks, hell, I've come this far already, but another part also knows it'll mostly likely come together.