It was kinda hard to rate this book, as I had different opinions on it depending on where in the book I was. The first half just seemed to basically repeat the previous book, and on the whole was rather boring and dragged on. The second half or so though was a lot more tense and full of action and was really good. Royal Assassin
continues the story of FitzChivalry, aka Fitz, where the first book left off. Fitz has barely managed to survive an assassination attempt by his uncle, Prince Regal, and has made his way back to Buckkeep. He finds out that his grandfather, King Shrewd, is dying. His other, kinder uncle, Prince Verity, continues to exhaust himself using the Skill to try and stop the Red Ship Raiders who still attack the coast and 'Forge' the people they capture. Prince Verity decides he then must leave on a quest, to seek out the Elderlings who have helped the Farseer line against coastal raiders in the past, or so the myths say. But Verity's absence provides Regal with the opportunity to try and ascend to ultimate power, and the throne... unless Fitz can stop him.
As I said before, I felt the first half dragged. Apart from some obvious changes it just felt like a continuation of the first book and not much of consequence seemed to happen. There was a lot of focus on Fitz using the Wit to befriend a wolf he names Nighteyes, and I started to wonder if the Wit was actually going to have any benefit or be important to the story, which it later proves it is. Once Verity leaves however, the story begins to pick up and begins to become very tense and dramatic very quickly. Once I reached this point it soon became hard to put down and I absolutely adored the second half. It was just a shame to me that it took so long to get there.
Fitz continues to grow and is still a likeable protagonist, for the most part anyway, although sometimes some of the plot twists or information would seem really obvious to me again whilst it took Fitz a long time to see it himself. The same with Verity and a lesser extent Burrich.
Regal is a good antagonist, although sometimes the way he gets away with everything and no one can stand up to him seems a little unbelievable but it all plays into the story so I didn't really care that much.
Also, considering the book is entitled Royal Assassin
, Fitz doesn't really spend that much time assassinated anyone or doing anything related to that. Much of his time is just spent conversing and interacting with other main characters, and so it's a little... off-putting? that that's the title of this book. Surely there was a slightly better title? Although Fitz's royal blood does become increasingly important as the story continues.
There a lot of promise for book 3 as well. It'll be interesting to see the Fitz-Molly storyline wrap up, as I have a feeling about whats going on there. Book 3 also promises to be a different set up with the way it ended, so it'll be interesting to see how Hobb sets it in motion from there and how Fitz manages.
Overall, a good middle book for this trilogy, although I felt the plot and drama suffered a little, at least initially, as it does pick up massively towards the end.