Saturday, 3 September 2011

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Apprentice
Assassin's Apprentice is the first book in the Farseer Trilogy, a introduction to the world of the Six Duchies, and to the story of Fitz Farseer.

Now, this book begins with young Fitz being left at the gates of a fort by his grandfather, claiming that his father should be the one providing for him. As it turned out, Fitz was the bastard son of Prince Chivalry, King-in-waiting. He is left in the care of Burrich, Chivalry's hound and stable master, until it is someone decides what is to be done with him.

But due to political intricacies of court life and throne heirs, Fitz remains in the care of Burrich, who, to be honest, only knows how to raise animals. So Fitz grows up among hounds and horses, as well as the rascals on the town below the Castle. And it is with the animals that he discovers his talent that is The Wit, which allows him to feel and communicate with animals.

This is just the beginning of the story, there are a lot of sub-plots, and master plots, and minor plots in this book. As Fitz grew older, the King Shrewd takes an interest on him while, shrewdly, teaching his younger son, Prince Regal, how best to deal with bastards in the family. And this is the way Fitz becomes an apprentice to the king's assassin, Chade. All this happens while the Six Duchies are under constant threat of barbarians, especially the Red-Ship Raiders.

There is a lot in this book that was good, or nice. For instance, the fact that the King and Princes have names that are qualities is not simply coincidence. In this world, it is believed that the name has a power, and so nobles are named with qualities one might desire on them. And, for most part it works. King Shrewd is shrewd, Prince Verity looks like he is true, and Prince Regal is very regal, no doubt. Prince Chivalry however I didn't get to see, and I would have loved to, because from the general feeling of the Six Duchies, he was a fine man, and his part of the story always screamed at me as important. Lady Patience is the one whose name missed the mark, in my opinion.

But back to the book. I liked it, but I felt it was too much of an introduction, and there were too many plots and sub-plots [etc.]. Not that this is bad, but there were some of them that were boring, others that I felt that should have lead somewhere by the end of the book, and one that I believe happened way to fast to my liking, because I enjoyed it a lot.

And part with my problem with this sub-plots had to do with how much I liked each character. Unfortunately, Fitz, the main character, never really clicked with me. He is not a bad character, but just not exactly what I like. So, I never really cared about his expeditions to town and his romantic woes. When he interacted with the other characters, then I liked. Chade and The Fool were my favourites, both shady characters, just the way I like.

And, as I said, this is just an introduction to the trilogy, but as such, it is a good one. I expect that the next book to shows a lot more about The Red-Ship raiders and their attacks, as well as how Fitz grows up in (the backstages) of the court.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Reviews: Este meu cantinho... (and part 2)

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  1. I think your wishes in the last paragraph are granted. ;)

    I've read the Portuguese edition of this one last year, and have been reading the other ones this summer. I think the amount of plots and subplots continues in the second book, and wears down in the first half of the third.

    Btw, it's quite funny to read the names in English, as they are translated to Portuguese in my editions. ;) I always thought Patience's name was meant to be ironic, as she is quite a bit outspoken. xD

  2. It's good to hear there will be stuff I like further on the series!

    I read a review in Portuguese and it was also quite funny to me to see the names translated. I don't really agree with the translation for Chivalry, though.

    I never really thought of Patient as being ironic, but it makes a lot of sense.

  3. "the bastard son of Prince Chivalry" the irony! xD

  4. Yeah, that's one of the parts that I want better told in the next books. How someone so chivalrous has a bastard son :)