28 January 2010

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father's gruff stableman. He is treated like an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz's blood runs the magic Skill--and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family. As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.

This is a book meant for people who can read thick, flourishing descriptions.  I say "thick" because details are very, well...thick.  Usually it would bother me (and I have given up on a book or two because the descriptions of the tiniest details put me to sleep) but with this novel, it only required me to have a clear mind while reading.  Meaning I couldn't read it in class, but it fit perfectly in my lower backpack pocket, which was a plus.

It took me a long time to read through this.  At some times, it was as if the book had no direction and was more of a journal entry rather than a story.  Yet the story and plot was original and touching in some sections.  The characters were well developed but I was expecting more action from the assassin/spymaster.  There wasn't a huge bond there that you usually get.  Maybe it was just subtle, but I was hoping for it to be more obvious, if there was a bond at all.

I have not yet picked up the sequel and I'm not quite sure I will.  It's one of those novels you read when you wanted to be inspired to write in a lofty, delicate fashion while being hard-core at the same time.  Robin Hobb is definitely one to take advice from on writing.  Her plot was well paced on average.  There's so much detail; it makes me wonder how long it took her to write it, let alone plan it.

There are moments of humor and insight but overall, it's a bit depressing, especially towards the end.

The lasting impression I got was that we didn't get deep enough into Fitz's character.  Perhaps I am wrong and it was some months ago that I finished reading this book, but lasting impressions are important.

Book Info:

  • pages - paperback, 480
  • publisher - Voyager
  • genre - fantasy
  • rating - 4/5
  • series - The Farseer Trilogy
    • Assassin's Apprentice
    • Royal Assassin
    • Assassin's Quest