Lorena's Reviews > Assassin's Apprentice

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
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's review
Sep 17, 2007

did not like it
bookshelves: fantasy
Read in January, 2001

Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. I didn't care for this series at all. The bad guy is SO bad, stomping around twirling his virtual Snidely Whiplash mustache, sneering and jeering and (literally) kicking puppies, and yet the supposed "wise mentor" in the book keeps insisting mysteriously that there is more to him that meets the eye...well, guess what, there ISN'T, he's just as bad as he seems, and that pretty much saves you the trouble of reading the whole book right there.
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04/04/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-25 of 25) (25 new)

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Britannia You're wrong, actually, about the bad guy. You should try to refrain from making judgment before you've finished the entirety of the books. The bad guy (I'm going to assume you're referring to Regal - and if you're not, shame on you for even thinking you have any idea what you're talking about) isn't bad - actually, he's just nothing but a willful spoiled child. Quite a shock, when you read it, and the 'mysterious mentor' doesn't insist that there is more to him than meets the eye, actually - he insists that Fitz should watch his ass instead of jumping to conclusions all the time. Furthermore, it leaves room for the mysterious mentor to be WRONG about some of the things he thinks. Unless you're looking for typical fantasy with badly written over-perfect stereotype characters, you should appreciate the fact that the mentor has character flaws. Perhaps you should do a re-read and try to pick out the elements of good character development and story-telling before you decide to rant about some point of view that (frankly) doesn't even make sense.

Lorena You'll note I said I didn't care for the SERIES, although I chose to confine my comments to the first book, so yes, I read all of the first three books, in the vain hope that the series would turn itself around. And yes, I was referring to Regal as the bad guy. And yes, the "mysterious mentor" DOES insist that Fitz not leap to conclusions all the time, but those "conclusions" were "Hey, this Regal guy seems really nasty and like he's probably trying to kill his brother and, incidentally, me." Which, you know, he was, and it was obvious that he was, and the mentor was so fallible as to be an idiot, because how on earth do you miss THAT? The reason I didn't like the series is because I DON'T like stereotypical characters, and this one had the worst stereotype of a villain I've ever encountered. You're welcome to your opinion of the books, and I'm glad if they brought you joy, but I thought the character development and story-telling were crap.

Perhaps you should get a grip and recognize that tastes differ before throwing a giant online hissy-fit because someone else didn't care for one of your favorite books. Perhaps you should also learn to leave thoughtful commentary expressing your difference of opinion instead of flouncing about hurling insults that, frankly, make you seem pretty juvenile.

message 3: by Cereus (last edited Jun 12, 2009 07:16AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cereus Simone wrote: "And yes, the "mysterious mentor" DOES insist that Fitz not leap to conclusions all the time, but those "conclusions" were "Hey, this Regal guy seems really nasty and like he's probably trying to kill his brother and, incidentally, me." Which, you know, he was, and it was obvious that he was, and the mentor was so fallible as to be an idiot, because how on earth do you miss THAT?"

If the 'mysterious mentor' you're referring to is Chade, and I assume it is, I think Chade was telling Fitz to investigate and see the plotting being done on a wider scale, which Fitz didn't figure out until the very end of the book. All conclusions that we, the readers, were able to draw (before Fitz himself had) were based solely on Fitz's observations and what people said around Fitz. That he wasn't able to draw a conclusion about the bigger picture is, I believe, a very real and human manner of judging others' intentions. That is to say, in real life you can't just assume someone behaving nastily indicates deadly intentions

On killing Verity, I don't think Fitz had any real, concrete reason for thinking that was Regal's intention (until the end). Yes, Regal is nasty. That doesn't make him someone capable of plotting his brother's death. And no, it wasn't obvious that he wanted to kill Verity. Not at all. Except maybe to the reader... but certainly not to Fitz.

On Stereotypes. Well, the fact of the matter is there is really nothing new under the sun. Everything has been done. I think the book even makes that argument with the mirror image of Fitz and Chade's lives. Would you rather have a realistic stereotype (Jealous, self-victimizing Regal) or a contrived character? Even in real life 'villains' behave unconscionably even when they're not being strictly villainous.

Margot I have to agree with Britannia and Cereus on this. I think Regal can very easily appear one-dimensional, but Hobb does a good job of hinting at the complexity that dictates his often nefarious actions. If we were not limited to only Fitz's point of view (not arguing that we should), we would more easily see the non-stereotypical reality of Regal's character.

Also, I believe it's made pretty clear at the end of the first book (when Fitz overhears Galen and Regal's Skilled conversation and then later when Verity Skills to August about their treachery, saying that Galen was too ambitious) that Galen, not Regal, masterminded the whole assassination scheme. Regal has ambitions but at this point probably wouldn't have taken on such a scheme without his half-brother urging him on.

Matthew Henry  K Lorena wrote: "You'll note I said I didn't care for the SERIES, although I chose to confine my comments to the first book, so yes, I read all of the first three books, in the vain hope that the series would turn ..."

Wow Lorena.... Just because someone challenges your review there is no need to get nasty. Britannia didn't attack you personally, he/she just disagreed with your assessment. I found your initial review some what lacking as well and it does appear to be a rant. 1 star? Really?

Your welcome to your opinion, but people are also well within their right to reply to your opinion.

Sarah I'm actually surprised by how passionate people seemed to get debating this review. Funnily enough, while I really loved the book I don't actually disagree with this review, I'm just surprised to see people deciding how good the book is based on Regal. To me that's like saying "I hated Game of Thrones because Prince Joffrey was too evil." Personally I thought Regal was kind of a run of the mill, cookie-cutter bad guy and it would've been nice to see a villain with more depth, but that's not why I read the books.

message 7: by Wade (new) - added it

Wade Well, all that this back-and-forth about the charcters has done for me is make me curious about this book. I was considering starting it, now I most definitely will. So, as far as suggesting people do not read this *fail*. Everyone loves a good debate to create interest. Wish me luck! (And to other readers.....) Never let one person's prejudice blind you to a potential masterpiece.

Lorena Oh, for heaven's sake. Take a look at the dates, people. This is a review of a book I read in 2001. My last comment was in 2008, responding to a person who basically called me an idiot who actively preferred reading bad books just because I didn't care for one book he/she read. I'm not on a crusade against Robin Hobb. I don't care if you read the books or not. If you like them, that's fine by me. I'm just using this site for it's intended purpose...writing down my impressions of the books I have read. These impressions serve mainly to refresh my own memory of what I liked and didn't like in books read, for example, well over a decade ago. They may or may not prove useful to other readers, depending on taste. Those who share my opinions on this book may find that they share my opinions on other books, and thus find new things to read they hadn't run across before. Those who disagree with me here may wish to avoid my favorites like the plague (or may find that we agree in some areas and disagree in others). So far, among all the comments, only Sarah has made a coherent and thoughtful response. The rest are doing nothing to change my initial impression that the characters and plotting in this series are obvious and dull, appealing only to the juvenile and inexperienced fantasy reader.

Jake Haha convenient the "only coherent and thoughtful response" came from the only person who sided with you.

Lorena Do you even read, Jake? She said she loved the book and I hated it. She said she thought the premise of my review was tangential to the premise of the book. She just said so respectfully, without resorting to childish insults. Try it sometime.

message 11: by Jake (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jake I was hoping you would say that as she actually said she doesn't disagree with your review, hence siding with you.

message 12: by Jake (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jake And asking if I even read sounds like a childish insult to me personally.

Lorena Ah yes, the "I know you are but what am I?" defense. Classic. My question was one of reading comprehension, as Sarah said she didn't disagree with my assessment of Regal, but thought it was a strange way to assess the book as a whole. So yes, she agrees with my take on one character, but disagrees on the rest of the entire book and it's meaning. (And incidentally, if Sarah wishes to wade in to this mess again and tell me what she liked about the books and where she thinks the focus should be, I would be very interested to hear it. Honest!)

And Jake, reviewing all 26 books you have listed as "read," I hate to tell you this, but if you are bound and determined to play the contrarian with me, you are going to have to downgrade your ratings of several, as it seems we both really liked "The Way of Kings," "Harry Potter," "The Hobbit," and "The Name of the Wind," among others. (Speaking of which, have you read "Among Others"? It's fantastic! I recommend it to you.)

It's not the end of the world or a personal slap in the face in someone does not share your exact taste. Sometimes people like some of the same stuff as you, but not all of it. It may be interesting to discuss why that is, sometimes, and come to an understanding on why another person's perspective may differ. It is not interesting or productive to say "You are wrong to dislike what I dislike because you are STUPID and I HATE YOU." I note you haven't even read the book we are ostensibly discussing here, Jake. If you read it and you disagree with me for substantive reasons, please feel free to come back and tell me why. (Although, let me emphasize this again, I read this book and wrote this review 13 YEARS AGO now, so it's not like my memory of it is terribly fresh.)

message 14: by Jake (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jake Ahh yes I will concede that my ratings are definitely on the high side as I tend to find it hard to critique books. Although, I would not say I was using that "classic defense" as you put it as much as I was pointing out hypocrisy. Oh and I will check that book out thnx.

Matthew Henry  K Lorena, do you know how to interact without being bombastic? You're the one questioning people's intellectual just because they have a divergent option or dislike the way you comport yourself when replying to others. Or did you think questioning a person's ability to read would be viewed in a positive manner?

Lorena Go troll elsewhere, Matthew. There's nothing for you here.

Matthew Henry  K You've already insulted several people's intelligence in this thread and have the audacity to call someone else a troll. Classy Lorena, classy.

message 18: by Lorena (last edited Jan 22, 2014 08:24PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Lorena It's true, I am soooo audacious!

message 19: by Jake (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jake I am going to have to agree with Mathew on all accounts except for one thing...when he called Lorena classy.

Lorena Fantastic. Then you may join Matthew on the Island of Blocked Trolls, where those who fail at both reading comprehension and basic civility dwell.

Lorena To clarify for future reference, I note that the most recent activity on this review (over a decade after it was written) comes from males who have not even read the book. They have nothing to add to the discussion of the merits of the book itself. Rather, they take it upon themselves to try to police my "tone" and whether it is "classy" (read: lady-like) enough. I strongly doubt that they would have done the same to an apparently male reviewer reacting strongly to having been personally insulted by other commenters. This is called "misogyny," and it has no place here or anywhere else. It is as boring as it is inappropriate. Ain't nobody got time for that, and it WILL get your posts here flagged. Have a nice day.

message 22: by Jennie (new)

Jennie C-knight I know what you mean, Lorena. But there is a lot more to the series than just one bad guy. Maybe you did not read it all?

Lorena Jennie, I know I read it all, but this was 13 years ago, so I'm afraid I don't remember much more about why I didn't like it, aside from the fact that I found Fitz frustratingly dense throughout. I generally dislike books where I am several steps ahead of the main character in terms of what I know and understand about their situation, and I have to read page after page of them flailing around, getting everything wrong, waiting for them to catch on to what the reader already knows. It makes it hard for me to relate to the character in question.

message 24: by Jennie (new)

Jennie C-knight Yes,I know what you mean, Lorena. I thought that Fitz was prepared to put up with far too much, but also that what he had to go through was simply not reasonable for just one person. I know life is unfair, but really!!!
It made me wonder about the author's life (speaking as a counsellor and therapist).
My daughter aged 20 thinks that R Hobb's books are the best she has ever read, so I am giving them a go for her sake. My younger son (23) also said that I should read them, so being a good parent...!!!

message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Holy shit.

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