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!).