The room was too hot. And too small. Panting no longer cooled me. I got up from the table and went to the water barrel in the corner. I took the cover off it and drank deeply. Heart of the Pack looked up with an almost snarl.Use a cup, Fitz.
If "Royal Assassin" was "The Empire Strikes Back", then this must be "Return Of The Jedi", just with Elderlings instead of Ewoks. Fortunately it's nothing like that bad, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the first two books in the series.
The end of the second book made it pretty clear that this one wasn't going to be set in Buckkeep, which means that Fitz is venturing out to the real world in search of Verity. The problem is that this turns much of the story into a pretty generic fantasy road movie where Fitz has to get from one side of the world to the other, and aside from the usual terminology changes we might as well be in a Wheel of Time book (and, as it happens, Kettle makes it clear that her view of how the world works corresponds exactly to the WoT).
While I didn't care much for the majority of the plot here, there were a few particularly good parts: the descriptions from Fitz's viewpoint at the beginning during his recovery, and the few pages describing the liberation of Buckkeep at the end. I'm curious as to why it took Fitz half of this book to figure out what even I'd been able to guess about Molly at the end of the second book, though.
If you liked the first couple of books, then I'd certainly recommend reading this one; just don't expect it to be of the same standard as the others. I see that there's another trilogy set in the same world a few years later; I'll look forward to reading it...