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Assassin's Apprentice

Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb Review originally posted at Sauraly.com


Assassin's Apprentice has been on my shelf since 2008, when I got it for my birthday. It was actually a book I really wanted to read at the time, but, as I'm sure a lot of book-lovers have experienced, another book came into my life and stole my attention and Assassin's Apprentice was put aside for years.

I finally decided to read it, when a friend on Instagram recommended it. I remembered that, yeah, I did have that book hidden away somewhere. I got myself together and started it!


The book had a slow start, but was intriguing enough for me. A lot of time was used on world-building and setting up the story. We spend the first-half of the book with Fitz, our main character, as he narrates his journey through childhood.

Fitz is an intersting character. He's hard-working and honest, but not naively so, which I liked. Though his life is not exactly easy, he never feels sorry for himself (except on a few occasions, which are SO JUSTIFIED). I look forward to see how his character grows in the next books.

The supporting characters are all well-written and believable too, especially Burrich, Fitz' caretaker. I especially loved seeing the growth of Fitz and Burrich's relationship. It's so rich and complex and dynamic - the way real relationships are! It's something Robin Hobb really excels at.

But, in the end, the character who stole my heart is the Kings' Fool. He turns up in Fitz' life at different moments to share some very cryptic advice - perhaps to help him because they're friends? Or there could be a larger reason at play. We don't know much about the Fool yet, but I have a feeling he'll be an important player later on (and also, the books in the next trilogy of this series are called 'The Fool's (insert word here)', so doesn't that mean he'll be the protagonist there? *crosses fingers*)

The world building is great. I love the politics of this world and the intrigue that happen throughout the story. But one thing I don't like, is the first paragraphs of each chapter, which are excerpts of the text Fitz is writing in the future. The excerpts tell the reader too much. I would rather have SEEN/experienced those things than to be told.

Another thing I don't quite like, was how we weren't shown some important moments, but instead were told about them later by Fitz. An example is Fitz and the Fool's friendship. Fitz tells another character that he talks with the Fool and that they're friends - but we never saw that happen! Another moments was Fitz' coming of age ceremony - how does it fit in chronologically with the rest of the story?

But, all in all this is a very enjoyable first book and I'll be reading the rest of the books once I get my hands on them (they're in the post!).

Among Others

Among Others - Jo Walton This book let me down. Maybe I was too excited for it and expected too much – I don’t know. This book was sub-par at best. It was riddled with one of my biggest pet peeves ever: the protagonist, Mor, kept reminding us that ‘she’s not like the other girls who like boys/make-up/girly stuff.’ She reads.

Yeah, no. I hate, hate, hate when female characters in books – and girls in real life! – throw other girls under the bus like this. There’s nothing wrong with liking girly things, or in not liking books at all (*gasp* the horror!!!).

Also, I think this book’s popularity is due to all the name-dropping the character does. She’s a big reader, and talks about nothing else but books, mainly SFF classics. So, I can see how this book might appeal to readers’ nostalgia, but since it doesn’t present anything new of its own, it has absolutely no substance.

The book had other problems – God, how it did – but I’m not going into them here. I'll end up ranting and nobody wants that :P

Still Midnight

Still Midnight - Denise Mina I chose this one next because I wanted to read about a female detective. The Silkworm made me crave more mysteries and this one sounded very interesting.

My feelings for this book are conflicted. I liked it, because of the characters in the story (you know me and well-written characters by now!) but the mystery didn’t make much sense. I never really understood the motivations behind the main crime in this book. Also the ending freaked me out (in a bad way). I did not expect it to go the way it did, and I do not like what the author did.

Overall though, it was fine, but nothing special. I’m interested enough to pick up the next book in the series – only because of the authors skill in writing good believable characters.

Dark Matter

Dark Matter - Michelle Paver I was in the mood for a scary ghost story, so I picked this up next. I’ve previously read Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by this author – which I liked – but this book is very different. First, its much more adult and second, the themes are very different.

This book is very short and I read it in two sittings – and it freaked me out. I kept thinking about the ending and the mystery of the ghost long after I was finished. I even admit I asked my brother to keep me company because I was a little too scared to be alone.

Recommended!

The Ask and the Answer

The Ask and the Answer  - Patrick Ness OH. MY. GOD.

That ending. I'm not coherent enough for a review, but.

Hell.

The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go  - Patrick Ness This review is for the whole series.

I’ve owned these books since January and had yet to pick them up. But I’m so glad I did. The plot itself was really good, but what I loved the most were the characters. For me, multifaceted, well-crafted characters are THE most important thing in a book, and the characters here were phenomenal. No one was wholly good or evil; people’s motivations were complex – as it is in the real world!

The story raises some issues about humanity and what it means to be ‘good’. Because no one in this book was good – nothing was black or white.

I really recommend this series if you like stories about morality and humanity. As I do.

The Silkworm

The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith This is the second instalment in the Cormoran Strike series, and I was pleasantly surprised by the mystery in this one. I liked the first book, but the mystery fell kind of flat at the end. It was fine, just nothing special.

Let’s start with this series’ strong point, which is its characters. Cormoran Strike is not your average detective: he has a prosthetic leg that prevents him from doing a lot of things required of a private detective, but he works around his handicap anyway and succeeds. I like this. It gives the character another dimension that I don’t see explored very often in mystery books – or books in general. Another thing: Robin, Cormoran’s trusted secretary, has a more prominent role in this book, which is something I really wished for in the first book.

Back to the mystery: It was tightly plotted and well executed. There were some things that I didn’t really understand and some loose ends, but overall a much better book than its predecessor.

Wonder

Wonder - R.J. Palacio This book makes me want to be a better person. I really wish everyone could read this and learn from Auggie and his experiences. Throughout the book, I just wanted to give all the characters a big hug (especially Auggie) and never let go.

And another thing; This is how you write children and teenagers! Many authors don't get young children's/teenagers voices right (*cough*Fault in our Stars*cough*). I never for minute disbelieved any of the characters or what they said. They all felt real to me

The Shamer's Signet (Shamer Chronicles)

The Shamer's Signet - Lene Kaaberbøl This is my least favourite book in the series, maybe because of Dina's borhter's role in it. His story was boring and his character is very difficult to like. I felt like he ruined Dina's story for me. But other than the brother's part, the book was lovely.

Tell Me Lies

Tell Me Lies - Tony Strong I liked this book. I couldn't put it down once I started reading it, and I read it in one day. The many turns the plot took was always unexpected, but good.

Goosebumps #43: The Beast from the East

The Beast from the East - R.L. Stine This book is a book you don't forget. I read it some years ago, and I couldn't stop thinking about it for days. Some of the few noteworthy Goosebumps books.

I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It

I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It - 'Barbara Sher',  'Barbara Smith' I'm removing this from my currently reading list, because it isn't a book you just read. You need to work your way through it at your own pace while doing the excersises and thinking about your choices and past and everything that has led you here, where you are now. My thoughts in general so far: The author comes with great excersises thoughout that really helps readers identify the the things they find imortant, and elliminate all the negativity and pressure they have been bombarded with all their lives, from family or teachers or even friends. What I found most useful so far, is the excersise 'Job from hell' in which the reader must describe the worst job they can imagine and change it into the opposite.

Biology of Plants

Biology of Plants - 'Ray F. Evert',  'Susan E. Eichhorn'

This is the textbook I use for my Algae, Plants and Fungi class. It is generally good, and has great descriptive illustrations, but the text does sometimes go on and on about things that aren't important for this particular subject in my opinion. 

Annie on My Mind

Annie on My Mind - Nancy Garden Dropped for now. The 'conflict' is too simple for me and I think I'm just too old for it.

The Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1)

The Amulet of Samarkand - Jonathan Stroud I personally loved this book to pieces. The characters are all so well-made and deep, and you can't stop reading once you begin!

The Help

The Help - Kathryn Stockett February 2012: I'm giving this book another chance. I'm enjoying it better this time around.2010: I didn't finish this book. It dragged too much and I didn't feel anything for the characters.