by Robin Hobb
Fitz returns to Buckkeep to a wasting king, increased threats from the Raiders, and Regal’s plots to replace Verity as king-in-waiting.
While still a fairly slow paced story, this sequel to Assassin’s Apprentice makes a much deeper exploration of the character’s relationships and loyalties. Fitz spends a great deal of time trying to make a relationship with Molly work, but through his desire to properly commit himself to her, and some guidance from the Fool, he realizes the true threat to the throne that he had previously stayed ignorant to. Although the pacing could have been faster, the characters, their relationships, and the plot are all interesting and well-developed.
Fitz declares his loyalty to Buckkeep and its people and willingly involves himself deeper in the attempts to save it from the many threats it faces, rather than just on the obligation he had to serve the crown before. He also develops a new bond with the wolf Nighteyes that proves crucial and shows an even greater strength in the abilities of his Wit. I enjoyed seeing more of the ways the Skill and the Wit can work, along with the varying and often conflicting ways the character’s set their loyalties and goals.