Monday, 2 November 2015

Assassin's Apprentice - non-spoiler review

Hi booklovers

Recently I've been reading more fantasy books again and I have to say to me it feels like coming home. I have discovered some new genres I enjoy since watching BookTube and joining Goodreads, but fantasy will always remain one of my first reading loves.

Anyway, this post is a non-spoiler review about a great fantasy book I've read in October.
Author: Robin Hobb
Genre: High fantasy / heroic fantasy
Publication Date: First published in 1995, this version was published in 2014
Format: Paperback
This is the first book in the Farseer trilogy and we follow the story of Fitz - or FitzChivalry as he is later called - who is crown prince Chivalry's bastard son. Since the crown prince doesn't want to have anything to do with his son, Fitz is raised in the stables by the prince's stableman Burrich. After a year Fitz is summoned by his grandfather - the current king Shrewd - to be trained by Chade, the king's assassin. He is to become a king's man - aka an assassin. Growing up at the castle isn't easy for Fitz because almost everyone regards him as a lesser being because he is a bastard. So, the first book deals a lot with Fitz' struggles in finding his place at the castle and getting involved in the politics of the country.

-Fitz: He is the bastard son of prince Chivalry. We meet him as a 6-year old boy, who is brought to the castle by his grandfather. He is taken in by Burrich who teaches him to take care of the animals in the stables. Fitz also gets to learn how to read and write and how to use weapons. Later on he is trained to be the king's next assassin.

-Burrich: He is prince Chivalry's stableman / friend who takes care of Fitz when he first arrives at the castle. He is a bit of a gruff character who feels a bit betrayed by Chivalry because he can't go with him after he abdicates the throne and moves to the countryside.
-Chade: He is the king's current assassin and he is ordered to teach Fitz how to become an assassin. He is a very intriguing character and there is definitely more to him than meets the eye.

-Verity: King Shrewd's second son and the current king-in-waiting after Chivalry abdicates the throne. He welcomes Fitz to the castle and likes him because he reminds him so much of Chivalry. He is very strong with the Skill.

-Regal: King Shrewd's youngest son and the complete opposite of both Chivalry and Verity. He is a very jealous man who despises Fitz very much. I really didn't like him!

-Shrewd: The current king and a man who isn't afraid to use people for his own personal goals.

-The Fool: Another very intriguing character and again there is much more to him than meets the eye!

There are more characters, but for me, these were the most important ones.

Besides interesting characters, this story has two intriguing magic systems:

-The Skill, which is the ability see things over a (long) distance, to communicate telepathically with people who also have the Skill and even influence people's thoughts, emotions and actions. People who have the Skill can be taught how to use it properly, although much of the knowledge regarding this ability has been lost.

-The Witt is the ability to communicate with animals. However, this is looked upon as something bad and is therefor forbidden.

Fitz possesses both these skills, but Burrich forbids him to use the Witt and tells him it's not normal to communicate with animals and see things through their eyes - which happens when someone bonds with an animal.

*Overall rating:
I really liked this story even though it has a slower moving plot. I think I just needed a slower moving story at the time I picked it up. Even though there are a lot of - well-developed - characters in this book, I never got confused. The world is also very well-developed. I normally don't like stories that have a lot of politics in them, but somehow in this story I didn't mind it. Maybe that was because the story is actually more character-driven than plot-driven.
Robin Hobb has a way of making you love or hate the characters and feel what they are feeling.
Another thing I really liked is the way that noble people are named: their name tells you something about their character. After they are given a name, they grow up to have the characteristics connected to their name.

I also want to say I love the cover of this book - it is much nicer than the earlier versions - and the map is great too.

I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads and I definitely will be continuing on with this series. (But I've learned the hard way that marathoning series isn't for me. A few times now I've noticed that even though a series is very good, I get distracted when I spend too much time in the same world.)

Thank you so much Samantha, Kaitlin and Mercedes (definitely go check out their YouTube channels!) for raving about Robin Hobb's books and getting me into this first story.

Let me know in the comments if you've read this book and what you thought of it or if you are interested in picking it up.

Bye for now


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