I think I may be in love, as usual, with yet another author. In Robin Hobb’s novel Assassin’s Apprentice, she sets the stage for a spectacular experience. From a six year old stable boy to a fully fledged assassin cum “Skill”er, the reader follows through the eyes of FitzChivalry Farseer. A bastard born of royal blood, who seeks to find his place within the court by becoming the king’s man.
This is a fantasy book. With magic yes, but not the wand wielding sort. It’s a rather gritty novel and I enjoyed it greatly. Everything feels real about this book and for that I’m grateful. I’m tired of seeing assassination as an occupation that any mercenary seems to be able to pick up. It most definitely isn’t. What Hobb provides is a world that is believable from court life to political strife.
As a singular piece, it still retains a full dramatic arc even though this is simply the first in The Farseer trilogy. Hobb leads the reader and entices with foreshadowing aplenty. A beautiful, perhaps sinister, world is created. With great detail, characters are sculpted and impressions are left strong. There are twists that I don’t suspect and the magical aspect isn’t overbearing. I wouldn’t say that it’s a gentle read but it isn’t the action packed, war filled novel that the fantasy genre is used to.
The best portions are when Fitz performs his various assassin duties. There aren’t a lot mind you, but it’s a nice change of pace from the stab happy assassins that saturate the markets of today. In general, people talk and Fitz listens. It may sound boring to most but I assure you it was not to me. The limited omniscience perspective really adds to the suspense. Technically it’s a frame story and narration but the reader only knows as much as Fitz knows. He’s a kid and easily influenced so conclusions are left to be interpreted. There may be segments where a multitude of characters are in understanding and each will speak differently.
I’m eagerly awaiting to receive the next books in the series. I think I’ll hunker down with my good friend Glen Cook though. The Black Company is calling.