Assassin’s Apprentice, by Robin Hobb

In my last post I raved about re-reading a favourite novel by my favourite fantasy author. I continued my Christmas fantasy excursion by reading an old, but new-to-me, trilogy from my other favourite fantasy author. This was Robin Hobb’s Assassin trilogy. I had read the two follow-up trilogies, The Liveship Traders and The Tawny Man, but never the original series.

Robin Hobb is a brilliant fantasy writer and in Assassin’s Apprentice she introduces one of her most compelling and believable characters: FitzChivalry Farseer, an illegitimate son of the royal house of the Six Duchies. Six-year-old Fitz is a nobody and a political liability when he gets dumped on the royal family’s doorstep, but he quickly becomes the target for competing allegiances and loyalties that will continue to affect him throughout his life. Characterization and plot are brilliant here. My only complaint would be that the third novel of the series, Assassin’s Quest, is a bit slow in places — but by that time I was committed enough to Fitz and his story to follow him wherever he went, no matter how long it took. If you’re a fantasy lover and haven’t yet discovered Robin Hobb, I can’t recommend her novels highly enough. Start at the beginning with Assassin’s Apprentice — it’s the first of nine great novels which will keep you turning pages for weeks or months (depending on how quickly you read!)

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2 Comments

Filed under Fiction -- fantasy

2 responses to “Assassin’s Apprentice, by Robin Hobb

  1. I think Robin Hobb is one of the best writers out there. I loved these books, but like you, I felt the books slowed down, especially parts of the last book, as they head towards the climax.

    I wonder a bit whether this is an intentional tool to make the story feel more epic, and leave a more lasting impression on the reader. Because in a sense, I think that it does have that effect.

    Just like in The Lord of the Rings, when you finish that book you feel as though you’ve really trodden a thousand miles, “just concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other, and knowing nothing else” at many times! Haha. And years later, you kind of remember that feeling of drudgery, and feeling a bit lost, and wondering whether you’re ever goig to make it to the end!

    I wonder whether this is an intentional tool used by authors sometimes, that, although frustrating to a reader on one level, also leaves the reader with a level of catharsis that they probably wouldn’t reach if they were just given the snappy always-stimulating version of the tale.

    All said and done, I loved the Fitz books best. Just about finished the Liveship ones now, and although very good, I miss the focus and detail of one central character.

    – Murray

  2. Good work buddy, keep writing.

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