Ivalen's Reviews > Assassin's Apprentice

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
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Sep 14, 12

bookshelves: middle-of-road
Recommended to Ivalen by: Sword and Laser
Read in September, 2012, read count: 1

This book was a pick for the August 2012 book club Sword and Laser.

(view spoiler)

Experience
Unfortunately some of the comments, both written and verbal, describe this book as 'slow to get going'. I did not experience this at all. It's almost something to expect with fantasy literature, especially multi-volumes series, however this book just did not drag. I was engaged and not bored, the content was clear and almost everything was addressed immediately. There was not a lot of world building, but the author did use the mechanic of starting each chapter with a block of italic text giving brief back story. That I liked.

Characters
The story was told first person through the eyes of Fitz. I had to get used to this style, but it was not an impediment.
I liked Fitz. He had foibles and weaknesses. He was a prodigy and was not portrayed as being the remarkable boy wonder that has been used in many a tiresome novel. Perhaps this is becoming the new boy wonder type of character? Discuss so many capabilities, let the main character fail at some, but be sure that he excels at the important ones.

Burrich. I hope there is additional depth to this character. A great unanswered with this fellow is the sudden coldness displayed when Fitz admits to using the Wit with the dog during the attack on the stairs.

The two characters that changed the most, although we didn't that much time with them, were Verity and Regal. The first was pompous and ambitious. The second a playboy and spoiled brat. (view spoiler)

Structure
During the writing the author would throw in "as I look back I could sense the confusion" types of statements but I think it worked. Maybe there's a word for this type of writing; it reminds me of a certain talk show host who starts a story with, "he's okay now, but... ". In a book like this it is unfortunate, there's never any doubt that Fitz will live or all is well, because the author just said so, but then follows up with danger.

The writing was all through the eyes of Fitz and stayed that way throughout. It worked for me once I got used to it. As mentioned he prefaced each chapter with some brief world building which was also a propos to the chapter about to be read.

Ending
The ending was satisfying. I understand that there are additional books, which is good, there is additional training, questions unanswered etc, but for the main purpose of the first book, the establishment of Fitz as a pawn of the King, the ending concluded.
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