10 April, 2012

(Audiobook) Review - Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb

This is another one of those, how-can-you-call-yourself-a-fantasy-fan-without-reading series. I really am sorry I waited this long because I loved it and can't wait for more...good thing there are 10 more and counting set in the Realm of the Elderlings.

That's not to say I loved it from the beginning, however. I had a bit of a hard time getting into Assassin's Apprentice [US] [UK-Kindle £1.99] [Kindle], but that could also be the fact that I had a hard time with the narrator of the audiobook at first. By the end, I actually found it quite fitting.

Assassin's Apprentice is the first book in the Farseer Trilogy. The Farseer's are a ruling family in the land of the Six Duchies and the book is told from the perspective of Fitz Chivalry, the bastard of Prince Chivalry Farseer.

Everyone knows he's the bastard, his name even connotes such, but he has an uncanny resemblance to his father. Also, no one really knows what to do about the bastard until King Shrewd Farseer decides to put him to good use by putting him to work as the title of the book suggests.

As an assassin for the king, Fitz learns about herbs and languages, stealth and subterfuge. He's given tasks that test his skills such as stealing certain artifacts and then putting them back without being seen.

The setup of the book works really well to build up the world without slowing down the action too much. It's told essentially as Fitz Chivalry writing his memoirs. Each chapter begins with some information about the world, the politics, the peoples of or around the Six Duchies, among other things. Following this, the story resumes as if we're right there with Fitz as he is experiencing things.

In this way, the world becomes a rich tapestry you can't help but feel yourself a part of. The world expands while we continue to see the important role (and roles) that the bastard is beginning to play.

As I talk about this book now, Assassin's Apprentice wasn't nearly as exciting as I thought it would be going into it. We learn a lot about the world, the history, the relationships and the assassin work is really just a small part.

Then again, the story is much more than I ever thought it would be. It's more than just assassins, it's a rich story with a huge history that's told impeccably. Hobb is a master at leading you to expect one thing while her real plans come out of left field...and yet are so obvious at the same time.

4 out of 5 Stars (Loved it!)

Farseer Trilogy
Assassin's Apprentice (1995)
Royal Assassin (1996)
Assassin's Quest (1997)

Liveship Traders Trilogy
Ship of Magic (1998) 
Mad Ship (1999) 
Ship of Destiny (2000)

The Tawny Man Trilogy 
Fool's Errand (2002) 
Golden Fool (2003) 
Fool's Fate (2003)

Rain Wilds Chronicles

Dragon Keeper (2009) 
Dragon Haven (2010) 
City of Dragons (February 2012) 
Blood of Dragons (February 2013)

5 comments:

Bob (Beauty in Ruins) said...

Hobb is a very different sort of fantasy writer . . . she's very smart, very clever, and not afraid to challenge the reader. She demands a sort of patience and attention span that's definitely above what's required by the usual fantasy fare.

I found this a hard series to get into as well, but once I settled in I was hooked.

Bryce L. said...

Well said, I'm looking forward to the rest of the trilogy and more.

Josh (Fixed on Fantasy) said...

Sounds like Jon Snow mixed with Kylar Stern!

Spaz said...

I've yet to read the Rainwild Chronicles because I no longer read a series that isn't completely published (though I may buy them before then), but Hobb is probably my favorite author. If you can read this book, and the next two, and not love Fitz then I'm pretty certain you have no soul.

Brenda said...

This is one of my favorite series. I think I liked the Liveship Traders trilogy a little bit more even, but I'm the odd reader out on that one, from what I've seen.