Assassin’s Apprentice will be my first Classic Fantasy review, for those of you that have been waiting. I previously talked of Robin Hobb’s work during my review of her Dragon Keeper. Assassin’s Apprentice was her first book, at least writing under the name of Robin Hobb (she’d already written a few books as Meghan Lindholm ), as well as the first in the Farseer Trilogy and in her ongoing Realm of the Elderlings. It was first published in 1995 and since then has gained critical acclaim and an enormous amount of popularity. This is how it’s going to work: Bellow you’ll find a blurb, a commentary by me and of course the usual Buy Assassin’s Apprentice Links. My commentary will also cover my thoughts on the Farseer Trilogy as a whole, since I consider it to stand together as a single piece of work and there won’t be any Summarizing Info section since I don’t think it will be necessary.
Blurb: In a faraway land in which members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, ne young boy will become a walking enigma. Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only hi magical link to animals – the old art of the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility. So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and learn a new life: weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.
I’ll admit right here that though Assassin’s Apprentice wasn’t bad for me - I mean it
was at least good enough for me to get the second book - but it wouldn’t have made it to my top list just on its own. Its, really the second book, Royal Assassin, that did it for me. Once that one was read I rushed onto the third book and after that, skipping the Liveship Traders because it didn’t have Fitz in it, I read straight through the Tawny Man Trilogy. Part of the reason for this is that Assassin’s Apprentice is really a character piece with little action until Fitz is begins his Skill trainings. The other books and the third especially, are the ones that really develop the mythology of the world and where we discover a lot of the past and the richness of the world, while still getting as much character material from Fitz. The first book goes through most of Fitz’s childhood and for me it was hard at first to relate to a 7-12 year old boy living in a castle… though that improved considerably when the intrigue and magic began.
Hobb’s first person writing is probably some of the best you will ever find in the fantasy genre. We get all of Fitz thoughts, emotions and experiences first hand in way which, when I read it, I had never really seen before. Hobb also likes to hit Fitz hard, not in the way of the Martins, Abercrombies and Lynchs that I’ve mentioned before, but in a way that really handicaps Fitz and makes him have to go through an entirely new journey from point zero to where he was before. We see him crippled at least twice in the first book, and many other times in the following two. It really gets us readers to feel intensely for him and, of course, want to read more by him.
So since this is a classic, you should definitely be reading the Assassin’s Apprentice and the Farseer Trilogy if you haven’t already. Feel free to also get her Tawny Man Trilogy, which is just as much a classic, and the direct sequel to the Farseer Trilogy. I’m toying with the idea of creating a Classic Fantasy review for each of her trilogies, minus maybe the Soldier son trilogy, but we’ll see….
Robin Hobb's website: http://www.robinhobb.com/
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