There's only so much negativity that I can take before I decide that a book isn't worth it. Considering the fact that I really liked the first, I had high hopes for this one; But the whole air of hopelessness that hangs over every single event in Royal Assassin just makes it hard to swallow. I'd have imagined the lead character ‘Fitz' to have grown up a bit for this second book but, if anything, he's more of an idiot. Some of the decisions made by the good guys just make no sense whatsoever.
MINOR SPOILER ALERT
We're told in this book that Fitz is strong in the ‘Skill', but because of how he was traumatized by Galen's teachings, he's somehow blocked his own powers. We're also told that the King-in-waiting - who desperately needs strong Skill-users - simply has no time to teach Galen how to to use his powers. I'm simply not able to swallow that load of rubbish! Practically all of the problems in this book follow from our dear Fitz being powerless to do anything!
Then there's how the Verity and Shrewd manage Regal. If one of your sons just tried to (and nearly did) kill the other - I imagine there'd be a bit of an issue raised. In Robin Hobb's world, the worst that the perpetrator can expect is a slap on the hand and a (gentle) reminder that it isn't polite to kill one's siblings.
Oh, and don't even get me started on the ‘Fool' character - Hobb tries so hard to make him interesting, fascinating, and all that - but the fact that his cryptic clues always leave our poor dim-witted Fitz scratching his head... it just makes for really poor reading material.
So... I'm definitely not picking up the third book and, possibly not any R.H. books - for a very long while.