Royal Assassin: a review

Robin Hobb's Royal AssassinAbout a month ago, I reviewed Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice.  I really enjoyed that book, in spite of a few misgivings.  I felt like the first book in the series didn’t stand quite well enough on its own and that the ending wasn’t quite climactic enough for me.  The character development on the other hand was stellar.  Each person in the story acted in realistic ways and I grew to feel like I knew many of them.

My initial impression of the second novel in the series, Royal Assassin, was less than ideal.  The cover of the copy I read displayed Fitz standing on top of a mountain, arms outstretched, holding a sword up above him.  His shirt is open, and he is standing beside a howling wolf.  In the background is the pink and purple of a sunrise or sunset.  Unfortunately, the predominantly pink and purple coloring combined with Fitz’s open shirt (apparently flapping in the winds of change?) is very reminiscent to me of some sort of a romance novel.  I try not to be judgemental about this sort of thing, but it’s not exactly the kind of novel that I was proud to whip out on the bus.

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Our Fantastic Week Ahead: August 22

We'd like to start today by offering our our congratulations to all the Hugo and Campbell Award winners!  You can find a complete list of the winners here, but we'd like to single out two winners for special congratulations, as we've recently featured them here on Fantasy Matters.

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Fantastically Fun Fridays: August 19, 2011

Happy Friday everyone!  First of all, as many of you already know, WorldCon is going on as we speak--we hope lots of you are there, having a wonderful time.  And for those of you who aren't there, the Hugo Awards ceremony, which takes place on Saturday evening, will be broadcast via streaming video on the internet, and updates will be posted on Twitter as well.  Here are the details on how you can take part in the fun from the comfort of your own couch!

In other WorldCon related news, George R. R. Martin was planning on bringing two signed Game of Thrones scripts with him to the convention to be auctioned off for charity, but they appear to have been stolen on their way to him.  Details about the situation can be found on his blog, and he's asking for help in getting them returned to him.

Here are some of the more lighthearted things we found around the tubes this week:

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Intersections and Unexpected Moments

This summer, the fantastic and the usual intertwined while my family spent time at the ranch where I grew up. The constant companionship of memory and discovery guided my thoughts toward those unexpected moments when fantasy leaves the realm of intentional thought, and bursts through the surface of our daily lives. Not quite unexpected moments such as coming across a child’s toy sword or finding a copy of a favorite book sets us thinking about fantasy, or even dredging up some wonderfully apt association between the not-very-pleasant teller at the bank and the White Witch, but the moments where things seem to fall between, when the very thing we are doing or the very place we are, fits without our forcing it into the realm of fantasy.

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The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: "Transparency in Time"

I suppose if I were to be strict about definitions, this installation, "Transparency in Time," is more "fantastic adjacent" than strictly "fantastic," but it is beautiful, and it makes me think of magic, so I am sharing it with you.

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