I will admit right now that if you’re measuring my progress in books, then the fact that I haven’t even finished one in the past six hours is rather embarrassing. On the other hand, if I say that I’ve read over 550 pages of Royal Assassin, does that make it a bit more impressive?
I hope so. Anyway, this book had me a bit irritated at the beginning, but I am terrifyingly invested in it now, even if I feel like Robin Hobb’s put me on a rack and is laughing while she turns the wheel.
Here’s the thing. Deaths of fictional characters that I love are very grievous events. But they are definite and I can cope with them to a certain point. However situations that put characters I love in hopeless and impossibly frustrating positions where everything is crumbling and the slimiest and nastiest person imaginable is winning? I want to throw the book against the wall. Not because it’s bad, but because I just can’t take it and want to jump in the pages and set everything straight.
So let’s talk about Regal, the aforementioned slimy and impossibly frustrating character. Not since reading about Joffrey Baratheon (of Game of Thrones notoriety) have I wanted to do violence to a fictional character this badly. I consider it a freaking injustice that I can’t leap into the story and drop-kick him off the highest tower in Buckkeep.
It’s so irritating because none of the main characters are in positions where I can fault them for not doing this- the trickiness of being a foreign queen or a bastard in court when your enemy is a prince of royal blood- but DEAR LORD will someone murder the piece of s**t already? I cannot describe how much I loathe Regal at this point beyond saying that I want him to die a horribly painful death at the hands of everyone he’s ever wronged, Murder on the Orient Express Style. The first person to take a stab can be Shrewd, Regal’s father, who was awesome and scheming and a delightfully impossible and ambiguous person, and who is now drug-addled and barely functioning due to Regal’s machinations. After that, pretty much anyone else who wants can have a free-for-all on the guy. I hate him so much, to the point that I was seriously trying to come up with moral justifications for kicking Regal off a high tower. You know, if that were actually possible.
Sadly, it’s not, so I’m going to have to keep reading about how he’s making my beloved characters suffer. Particularly Kettricken, the Queen-in-Waiting whose life he’s made complete and utter hell.
There are some hiccups in the writing style, particularly in that Hobb tends to skip action scenes a lot and go over-heavy on FitzChivalry whining. And it’s not that he doesn’t have reason to whine, but that he keeps whining about things that I feel like he should have made peace with a while back. I mean, look Fitz- you agreed to become an assassin when you were thirteen. Questionable power dynamics that put you there aside, I would think that by the time you’re older- and clearly developing misgivings- you kind of have to start looking to yourself for the answers to your moral questions and accept that others won’t give them to you.
Anyhow this is where I stand in the final six hours. Contemplating homicide for people I can’t actually kill. Much like the poor characters in this book. Of course I’m hindered by the fact that my target isn’t exactly real.
Hope everything’s going well for everyone else! We can do it guys, last lap!