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Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)
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Group Reads Discussions 2010 > "Assassin's Apprentice..." Conclusions? **plenty o' spoilers!**

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message 1: by Richard (last edited Mar 26, 2010 03:36PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Richard (mrredwood) | 165 comments The month is almost over, so many of us have finished Assassin's Apprentice, right?

So, the book's overall rating is a very healthy 4.15 average (current N=5502).

Do you think it's a four-star-plus book?

What were the book's strengths? Did it make you want to read the rest of the series? Do you think it was fine as a standalone novel?

What were the book's weaknesses? Were any of the weaknesses because it is the lead-off for a long series?

Did you like any villains? Did you hate any heroes? Have you wondered since reading this whether poison would be a good solution to any of the problems you face in your Real World™ life?



Richard (mrredwood) | 165 comments OK, I'll start. I just finished my 800-word review here.

But to summarize: this is no sword-and-sorcery action-oriented fantasy, fer shure. What we get instead of well-done court intrigue, with characters developed with a lot of depth and some nuance. These are used well over the course of the moderately complicated plot.

Those are the strong aspects, and they were done well enough that I gave this a four-star review and would have bumped it up to four-and-a-half.

But for people that want action, I can see how this would be a snoozer. You wouldn't expect most people that enjoy professional wrestling to sit still for a chess match, although I suspect there are a few oddballs that enjoy both. This book is well along the spectrum towards the chess end.

I don't think that's a weakness; but the book left so many untidy plot threads lying around that the book probably works even better as a lead-off for the series instead of a standalone-novel. That's unfortunate, but understandable. Possibly the reason so many people are forgiving of The Fellowship of the Rings is that they'd read The Hobbit and know the fundamentals of the LotR tail. Hobb doesn't have that advantage, and the nature of her series makes it hard to finesse the problem.


Bookbrow | 10 comments I quite enjoyed this tale, I liked the focus on characters, the straight forward story and the concept of the farseer, even better was the limited use of "the magic" this in my opinion made the story stronger. Really great development of the setting. Interesting characters from the king down, odd names but in the end didn't matter. I look forward to the next book. Very good fantasy choice.


message 4: by Jurgen_i (last edited Apr 04, 2010 04:14AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jurgen_i | 16 comments Well, i also post my comment, although i haven't read till the end. Nevertheless, there are couple of dozens of pages left and my picture of the book is sufficiently complete.

So, strengths: psychological and political stuff. I agree with Richard that characters are developed really well and deep. And there are a lot of good and adequate ideas about political sphere: for example, that power is first of all an accountability and so on. Of course, not new ideas, but correct and depicted well.

Now weaknesses. It's one of the largest mistake of fantasy/SciFi author not to explain the culture. Due to titles and terms (e.g. king, prince, Six Duchies...) we can conclude that it is kind of European Medieval society and culture (as plenty of other fantasy). But, bastards were really common for that culture, the majority of nobles had bastards. But in Hobb's world bastard is smth extraordinary. I do not state that it isn't correct, but the author only should explain, why. It's only one example. If author had depicted the culture, there wouldn't appear such questions and book would have been really better and more interesting and complete.

What about plot. Interesting to read, rather catching, but not greatly.


Flint | 28 comments The characters were well developed and deep? I've never seen thinner characters in my life. How is Fitz and any of the characters deep in any way shape or form?


Richard (mrredwood) | 165 comments Flint wrote: "I've never seen thinner characters in my life..."

Well, I suppose these things are relative, but I think there's plenty that do a much worse job. Scifi tends to be a bit worse than fantasy, of course. In Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea, for example, I felt I knew less about Ged, and cared less for him.

Flint wrote: "How is Fitz and any of the characters deep in any way shape or form?"

We're given a pretty darn good idea of how he relates to others, both human and animal, and what his motivations are, and what his past traumas are and how they create inner turmoil that distorts his thinking and reactions.

Many of the other characters also are pretty well understood, especially Burrich. Even the frustration that he is still somewhat incomprehensible is well delivered: if we didn't already believe we understood him so well, the remaining contradictions wouldn't bother so much.

Flint, what is it that you think creates depth in a character? What was this book missing in that regard that you might have hoped for?


Libby | 271 comments IMO the character development was one of the book's real strengths. I really enjoyed this book and found it to be a refreshing, well-written fantasy. However, I should mention that my opinion is bias as this book falls into my preferred type of fantasy literature. I prefer historical, mythical, non-violent epic fantasy etc. that focuses on character development and plot as opposed to the “sword and sorcery” sub-genre. I can see that a fan of more action-driven fantasy would not enjoy this book. In particular, I felt the characters were really fleshed out by their interactions with others. I believe Hobb is quite skilled to painting a great character without having to “tell” you about them.


message 8: by Kaion (last edited Apr 07, 2010 09:35PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Kaion (kaionvin) | 38 comments ... but for me it was *all* tell... there was never a conversation where I was forced or even asked to draw my own conclusions, it was all fed to me... (often as stuff was just wholesale fed to Fitz, or he fed stuff wholesale to me) Exposition.


Libby | 271 comments It's interesting but people seem to love or hate this book - the opinions are very diverse.


message 10: by Kaion (last edited Apr 10, 2010 09:15PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Kaion (kaionvin) | 38 comments I didn't hate it at all actually. It's pretty pleasant, just boring. (Which is probably the worst crime an entertainment source can have, perhaps.)


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

Mike (mikespencer) | 75 comments It totally roped me in. Definitely not my favorite series, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. I just picked up the rest of the trilogy in fact.


message 12: by Flint (last edited Aug 29, 2010 07:56AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Flint | 28 comments 〘ℛᎥ¢ʰ̀Ʀᗤ〙 wrote: "Flint, what is it that you think creates depth in a character? What was this book missing in that regard that you might have hoped for?"

Obviously the ability learn and grow thru your circumstances. This creates an extra dimension to a character. Fitz mostly just reacts and his actions are virtually always predictable. He's a defeatist and moper. I really don't like those perpetual victim type characters and this never really changes throughout AA. As for the other characters they're just simple characters with few motivations beyond occassionally interacting with Fitz. I can't imagine how anyone can construe them as being well developed. If I may use an analogy they're almost as irrelevant as say the hot dog vendor or doorman in a movie who befriends the main character, but is otherwise inconsequential.


Richard (mrredwood) | 165 comments Flint wrote: "Obviously the ability learn and grow thru your circumstances."

Hmmm; looking around in my own life, I don't see too many people "growing" through their circumstances, but I see plenty of depth around me. For example, I know one person that is currently in pretty dire financial straits, and is on the verge of moving back in with her parents in her early 40s. But I can't see this crisis changing her, while at the same time it does illuminate her personality quite drastically.

So I'll stick with my definition of depth, e.g.:

〘ℛᎥ¢ʰ


message 14: by Flint (new) - rated it 1 star

Flint | 28 comments A character who does not appear to learn and grow is typically thought of as one dimensional. Even his personality remains static throughout his life, and his emotions appear limited to either being sullen or angry. He's a loser at the beginning of the book as he is at the end of it. I simply don't see the "well developed" character everyone is speaking of.


message 15: by Richard (last edited Aug 30, 2010 02:12AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Richard (mrredwood) | 165 comments Flint wrote: "A character who does not appear to learn and grow is typically thought of as one dimensional..."

Yes, that's what you asserted before. I still disagree. A character who “merely” reacts, but does so in complex and nuanced ways: that is not one dimensional, even if the character does not significantly evolve over the course of the story. In my opinion, your criteria for “depth” is too limited.


message 16: by Flint (new) - rated it 1 star

Flint | 28 comments Please give an example of what you are speaking of.


message 17: by Dawn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dawn (breakofdawn) | 462 comments When you are saying the characters don't evolve at all over the course of the story, I think you are being very shortsighted. This is of course only the first book in the series, and things aren't always what they seem. What seems obvious to you after just this book is built upon and developed in the following books. And if Fitz seems to not be evolving as much as you'd like in this book, you have to realize this is only the beginning. It's not a cliff hanger, so it can stand alone, but that doesn't mean it's intended to. The character's individual journeys are no where near complete.


message 18: by Flint (last edited Sep 02, 2010 03:12AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Flint | 28 comments It's not the job of the reader to assume a character will develop in future books. If 500 pages is not enough for character development then maybe Hobb isn't doing something right. In any event I've heard from others that the Fitz character doesn't even alter that much if at all in the sequels.


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

Dawn (breakofdawn) | 462 comments If you expect the character of a book to make a complete journey and to evolve fully within the book, I think what you are looking for is a stand alone novel, not the first in a series of nine books. And as for hearing from others this or that, until you've read the other books I really don't think you're entitled to form an opinion on them. There are plenty of people on both sides of the fence - and unless you've read the books you really don't belong on either side.


message 20: by Richard (last edited Sep 03, 2010 03:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Richard (mrredwood) | 165 comments It has been months now since I've read this, so I can't cite specific examples anymore, but I distinctly recall that the story left me with a very good sense of who Fitz is as a person, which had developed over many nuanced interactions with others and reactions to his experiences.

I think, Flint, that you are expecting a fundamentally different kind of "character development" than most of us here. We're looking for the author to illuminate his cast to the point that we feel something about them, to the point that we feel we "know" them. You might say we are expecting to author to develop those characters.

It appears that you are waiting to see how characters change, and are blind to how well fleshed-out they are if they steadfastly refuse to substantially "evolve" within the story.

That kind of change isn't something that most of us expect, even in a major character. (Although, as Dawn points out, within the scope nine books you're almost certainly going to see major personality changes, which is what allows a series to remain fresh across such an extent).

But multi-dimensional characters don't need that kind of radical evolution. For example, Burrich remains the curmudgeonly fellow he started out as. But due to the complexities of his personality, after starting as Fitz's surrogate parent and loyal friend, he effectively divorces Fitz over the whole animal-bonding thing. Burrich didn't change, but we learned a great deal about his temperament and emotional priorities through that interaction.


message 21: by Dawn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dawn (breakofdawn) | 462 comments 〘ℛᎥ¢ʰ


message 22: by Flint (last edited Sep 07, 2010 10:51AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Flint | 28 comments 〘ℛᎥ¢ʰ̀Ʀᗤ〙 wrote: "I think, Flint, that you are expecting a fundamentally different kind of "character development" than most of us here. We're looking for the author to illuminate his cast to the point that we feel something about them, to the point that we feel we "know" them.

There is no such thing as a "different kind of character development." My definition is no different from the average person.

"You might say we are expecting to author to develop those characters."

I expect the same thing. I just want it to happen in the same book I happen to be reading. A good author would know how to accomplish this very easily regardless of the fact that there may be more volumes after the initial book.

"It appears that you are waiting to see how characters change, and are blind to how well fleshed-out they are if they steadfastly refuse to substantially "evolve" within the story.

That kind of change isn't something that most of us expect, even in a major character. (Although, as Dawn points out, within the scope nine books you're almost certainly going to see major personality changes, which is what allows a series to remain fresh across such an extent)."


How can characters be well fleshed out and also be undeveloped at the same time? Fitz (utterly stupid name btw) lived an entire lifetime in the first book, growing from an infant, to a young boy and eventually to a teenager and finally a young adult, and you're telling me I shouldn't expect any changes in the character from childhood to adulthood? I'm sure this sounds very reasonable to you, but I expect just a little more in my characters, and reading all 9 books is not how I plan to do it.


But multi-dimensional characters don't need that kind of radical evolution. For example, Burrich remains the curmudgeonly fellow he started out as. But due to the complexities of his personality, after starting as Fitz's surrogate parent and loyal friend, he effectively divorces Fitz over the whole animal-bonding thing. Burrich didn't change, but we learned a great deal about his temperament and emotional priorities through that interaction."


Getting a minor character to change his mind about something doesn't make him multidimensional. I think the problem here is you have very minimal standards for what makes a character well developed.


Richard (mrredwood) | 165 comments Ah, yes — well your shouting and insults have convinced me that I’m wrong and you’re correct. Congratulations.


Linette Wow...for some people it's their way or the highway! lol.
I think her characterization of Fitz was well done - I even like her name, which did have meaning in the context of her world. Just my opinion...which I am entitled to.


message 25: by Flint (new) - rated it 1 star

Flint | 28 comments 〘ℛᎥ¢ʰ


Richard (mrredwood) | 165 comments No — I’m not convinced. I think you keep repeating your assertions in the face of a consensus you disagree with. Sticking to your opinions is fine, of course, even when they are incomprehensible to others.

But using all bold, LIKE USING ALL CAPS, makes me feel you’re shouting. And telling me that my standards are minimal compared to yours is definitely insulting.


message 27: by Carol (last edited Sep 08, 2010 06:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carol | 7 comments I've really been devouring Robin Hobb's books and am enjoying them greatly (which is all I ask from this kind of light reading). I started with this book and so may be reading a lot into my memory of it from all the other books set in the same world. But I did find the characters well-fleshed and interesting enough for me to be irritated by them--particularly by Fitz. He has real virtues and real faults and his stubborn anger is certainly a real fault, that he never gets over. But, after all, a character doesn't have to be totally virtuous, likable, or have to change to be real. Lord knows, I know some "real" people who have the same faults (and virtues) at 60 that they had at 20.

I do think you need to read this book as part of a series, though, which not everyone may want to do. The characters develop slowly and people you think you understood or that were peripheral turn out to be much more interesting and important than you initially assumed.

It does seem to be that, with this kind of reading, if you like it, that's great. If you don't, find something else. I just can't see getting worked up (let alone rude) over differences of opinion in what should be a fun discussion.

I will say, at the risk of starting another argument, that part of the pleasure of this book (and her others) is that Hobb can actually write decently. A lot of fantasy just turns me off because the writing isn't graceful. Whether you enjoy her slowing moving plots (and they do move slowly) or her sometimes unlikeable characters or not, at least her writing doesn't make you flinch.


message 28: by Flint (last edited Sep 08, 2010 10:43PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Flint | 28 comments 〘ℛᎥ¢ʰ̀Ʀᗤ〙wrote: "No — I’m not convinced. I think you keep repeating your assertions in the face of a consensus you disagree with. Sticking to your opinions is fine, of course, even when they are incomprehensible to..."

No one is shouting at you or insulting you. Stop being so sensitive and grow a thicker skin or just don't get into anymore debates with ppl. They're really not for everyone. Do you hear me crying when you said I was "blind" to Hobb's genius? It seems you've set a double standard for yourself. I mean give me a break already. People who aren't ready to continue a debate do stuff like this all the time and it more than anything derails a discussion.


message 29: by Danielle (last edited Sep 14, 2010 07:20AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Danielle (queentess)
"Fitz (utterly stupid name btw)"


You know how Hobb named all her characters with names that invoked their biggest (or what was supposed to be their biggest) traits? Shrewd, Verity, Regal, Lacey, Patience... Fitz means 'bastard'. It is a very appropriate name, and fit within the naming context of the world.

In the U.S. we have names like Fitzsimmons and Fitzpatrick. Fitzchivalry isn't such a 'stupid' or odd name.

"but I expect just a little more in my characters, and reading all 9 books is not how I plan to do it"


The Farseer series is really only 6 books: the Farseer books and the Tawny Man books. Liveship and Rain Wilds, while set in the same world and with some overlapping characters, are not terribly related. Much like Stephen King's Castle Rock books.

I found the Fitz character to be very well fleshed-out, but that's my opinion and you obviously disagree. He does grow more throughout the entire series, and comes to realize how much he was allowing his name and place as a bastard to determine who he was.

You prefer to have all your character growth in one novel. I prefer for the author to keep growing and changing the character throughout the entire series. It's what keeps it fresh.

"Stop being so sensitive and grow a thicker skin or just don't get into anymore debates with ppl."

All he said is that you're entitled to your opinion. This is a discussion forum, and if everyone held the same opinion it would be boring. It's also a bit boring when someone keeps regurgitating the same thing over and over and maintaining that they are right and everyone else is wrong. So a simple "yes, our opinions differ" is completely appropriate, and your comment was inappropriate.


message 30: by Dawn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dawn (breakofdawn) | 462 comments Danielle wrote: "The Farseer series is really only 6 books: the Farseer books and the Tawny Man books. Liveship and Rain Wilds, while set in the same world and with some overlapping characters, are not terribly related. Much like Stephen King's Castle Rock books..."

I (politely) disagree. The first time I read these books I skipped Liveship thinking what you just said. It didn't seem like anything was missing and it worked fine like that. But then I more recently reread them with Liveship in between, and I really think it adds a lot to the story. The two series can be read without it in between, but they are so much better with it. In my opinion at least.


Danielle (queentess) I also skipped Liveship when I read through, then went back and read them, and I don't feel like I missed anything. The two obvious things are

***FUTURE SERIES SPOILERS***

When Amber carves Fitz's face into Paragon and when Amber obtains the rooster crown.

END SPOILERS

But I thought those were sufficiently explained in the Tawny Man books. In fact, when I read through Liveship, the first time I came across the name Paragon I was like "OH CRAP, I already spoiled this for myself". :( So I didn't think it detracted from Fitz's story, but if you have a good memory for names, it does somewhat spoil the Liveship books.


message 32: by Dawn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dawn (breakofdawn) | 462 comments ********POTENTIAL LIVESHIP SPOILER**********


I just thought it helped to shed more understanding on the fool in general, which I personally really enjoyed.


Valerie (darthval) | 781 comments Wow, this looks like it was certainly a lively debate back in the day. i am going to lurk here and wait for the bookshelf group readers to join me.

This was my second visit with this book. Last time I did Kindle format and this time I did audio. The narrator was adequate, but not awesome. Still, I enjoyed the book as much the second go-round as the first.

It is interesting that in one of comments above someone mentions that they thought the book was not very action oriented. Perhaps they are right, but I definitely consider it high adventure.

I like poor, naive, down trodden Fitz. There are times when he was broody and moody and annoyed me. But then, most teen age boys that I've experienced go through that phase without the challenges set before young Fitz. I do have to say that I so wanted him to get a clue. He was SO trusting that it was painful. I like to think this was Hobbs casting his naivete and desire to see the good in others. Maybe?

Regarding his character development, I felt that he came a long way in the book. Early on he was so eager for scraps of attention that he easily pledged himself to the King. I believe it was this eagerness that allowed the King's weak Skill to work so effectively. Yet, at the end, we see him come to a decision somewhat independent of his "King's Man" role when he wonders if the king gave him over to Regal.

I liked the naming convention. It is silly and pompous, but look around the world and many traditions are so. I thought this lent some flavor to culture.

So, after my second read, I am even more convinced that "The Wit" is related to "The Skill." Perhaps a way to scare potential talents away from the gift? IF this is revealed in later books, DO NOT TELL me, please. I want to discover it on my own. Feel free to smirk at me behind your monitors where I cannot see you. I won't be offended.

Now, I just need to find time to read the other two books in the trilogy while it is all fresh, unlike last time.


Sarah | 3877 comments I'm glad you mentioned the prior discussion because I don't always read them. People were getting a little out of hand, huh?

I also thought the character development was good. I really loved seeing his reaction to the assassination at the end because that's where we got an excellent look at who he had become. It made me more curious about what the future books will be like.

He was terribly trusting. I feel like he must have been desperate to fit in after the way that he was tossed into this life. It didn't exactly sound like he had had an ideal childhood and then to be cut off from everything familiar and be around so much that was unfamiliar would have been so difficult.

I also ended up liking the naming convention. It ended up working for me because it gave insight into the characters so you had a leg up on what type of person they were.

I didn't understand what "The Wit" was exactly. Could you explain? Please? And believe me, I am not smirking :) I actually feel the same way and I really want to get to the other two books.

I also really ended up liking Verity (who I trusted immediately because of his name). I loved it when Fitz let himself be used and that that allowed Fitz to get help from Verity in the end.

Actually, I loved the whole book. I'm not really a fan of Epic Fantasy, partially because I'm now looking at twelve books, so it's kind of interesting that I enjoyed this one so much. It's totally one of my least favorite subgenres.


YouKneeK | 989 comments Sarah Anne wrote: "I'm now looking at twelve books"

Sixteen if you’re counting all the main series. Farseer (3 books), Liveship (3 books), Tawny Man (3 books), Rain Wilds (4 books), Fitz and the Fool (3 books once the last is published). I'm not helping, am I?! ;)

I remember being a huge fan of Verity when I read this book. The Fool ended up being one of my all-time favorite fictional characters ever, but he didn’t make as big of an impression on me in this first book.


Sarah | 3877 comments Oh, geez. I feel so much better now ;) I'm going to pretend that there are only three books. It's called denial. I can face the rest when I'm brave enough.


YouKneeK | 989 comments LOL, that’s probably the best plan.


Silvana (silvaubrey) | 1507 comments If you are looking to continue the series after this trilogy, I suggest using the chronological reading order.

Anyway, this is my fave book of the trilogy. It sets up the mood for the plots, worldbuilding, magic system and characters really well. Having said that, there were too many doggie's death for my taste. I was devastated.

The Skill is really something, right? I love the concept of you being swept away in the Skill current or something if you force it or not ready, and the fact that it has a sinister side of it (vampiric even, with someone can suck out yours for his/her own use). The Wit is more simple, down to earth version of bonding with animals. It is not something new in fantasy but it is done well.


Sarah | 3877 comments I was stunned when Nosey ended up being alive!!!!!!! I was horrified when he was "killed" and, like Fitz, it shaped my opinion of Burrich.


Chris | 770 comments I think that the Wit has something to do with detecting and influencing emotions. It works with people as well as with animals. Fitz used it on Molly, and it was how he recognized the Forged from a distance. (Yeah, I know that the Forged still had emotions, but emotions seem the best fit from the other examples.)


Silvana (silvaubrey) | 1507 comments Ah yes, that is correct. Can we say it is like an empathic power?

The Nosey affair also surprised me. I got mad at Burrich alot but then when I found out...well the book really played with my emotions.


Wastrel | 130 comments Sarah Anne wrote: "Oh, geez. I feel so much better now ;) I'm going to pretend that there are only three books. It's called denial. I can face the rest when I'm brave enough."

One of the virtues of Hobb's books is that, unlike most epic fantasy, that's actually true: it's a trilogy of three books, designed to be read as a self-contained story. So far as I remember, when Hobb finished the Farseer Trilogy, she thought that that would be the end of the story; Liveships is connected to it, but is in no way a continuation of the story (the two stories are actually woven more together retrospectively in later books).

So it's OK to stop after three, or at least pause - it's written that way. In fact, to replicate the original reading experience you should wait 4 years after Farseer before you start the Tawny Man books (which are much better, btw)...


Michelle Morrell (vylotte) | 37 comments Wastrel wrote: "Liveships is connected to it, but is in no way a continuation of the story "

Quite true, I read Liveships first, before Farseer, and didn't feel like I missed anything. I assume there were references and in-jokes I missed, but it wasn't anything glaring or obvious. It'll be interesting (some day in the far future!) to read them again and see.


message 44: by Bruce (last edited Sep 01, 2016 10:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bruce (bruce1984) | 387 comments I just finished the first book, Assassin's Apprentice, and loved it. I liked the laid-back feeling of the writing. It struck me as very character driven, a despised royal bastard making his way in a kind of hostile world.

I couldn't really tell much difference between the Wit and the Skill, except the Wit worked on animals and the Skill worked on people? But other than that, aren't they basically the same thing?


Wastrel | 130 comments Bruce wrote: "I just finished the first book, Assassin's Apprentice, and loved it. I liked the laid-back feeling of the writing. It struck me as very character driven, a despised royal bastard making his way in ..."

This is probably grossly simplifying, but I think that essentially the Skill is about thinking and thoughts. So it can put thoughts in your head, and it can force you to think things, and it can find out what you're thinking, but that's all basically thought-based. [In later books there are some Skill-related things that go beyond that, but that's probably an OK starting place].

The Wit, on the other hand, is basically about feelings and empathy. It doesn't really tell you what an animal is thinking, because animals don't really think in the human sense - it tells you what they're feeling (which Fitz sometimes puts into words for us, because that's how he experiences it). It can give a sense of whether people are hostile toward you, because that's about feelings.

Or perhaps a better description: the Wit is about the basic animal (including human) functions, all of the living and growing and striving and feeling that natural life naturally does, and about a sort of empathic sharing of that life between beings. It's a much more instinctive thing. I think of it as being a sort of sense of the... heat?... of life. The Skill is about the higher intellectual and cognitive faculties, and is much more proactive.


Briar (briarraindancer) I recently crawled into a book hole and read the first thirteen books of this series (I'm saving the newest trilogy until it's actually completed), but I'm happy to have found this thread.

Ironically enough, my only real complaint with Robin Hobb is that she spends so much time on characterization that the action is almost an afterthought. These people are real to me; especially Fitz and the Fool, but I feel like I even know Chivalry, which is pretty remarkable, considering how little he actually appears. Their behavior might be predictable, but I feel pretty strongly that it's because we know them so well.

But there are pieces of action all over this series that we don't get at all, or only as a brief mention. And they all do this in some way, including The Rain Wild Chronicles. Part of this is the first person narrative, but only part.


message 47: by Kateb (new) - added it

Kateb | 759 comments sorry I seem to be the only negative comment here. I found the book too "slow", I really got sick and tired of all the descriptive bits.


Sarah | 3877 comments Oh, you're not the only one. There was a pretty good argument in the original discussion at the top.


message 49: by Kateb (new) - added it

Kateb | 759 comments Sarah Anne wrote: "Oh, you're not the only one. There was a pretty good argument in the original discussion at the top."

thanks I read the top few comments and then the rest of the page, feeling much better as I wasn't the only one to find it a bit of a slog.
I don't even think it was the "slowness " of the book just the information given that really need not have been, and then little details of other stuff that would have meant a lot more for the story line.
I have read other Hobb's books and enjoyed them .


Michael | 1298 comments Valerie wrote: "I like poor, naive, down trodden Fitz. There are times when he was broody and moody and annoyed me. But then, most teen age boys that I've experienced go through that phase without the challenges set before young Fitz. I do have to say that I so wanted him to get a clue. He was SO trusting that it was painful. I like to think this was Hobbs casting his naivete and desire to see the good in others. Maybe?"

I liked him a lot, and I wasn't very frustrated with him because his personality made sense in light of his treatment. He didn't even get to court until he was 6, and then he was treated as a shame and a problem that needed to be offloaded somewhere. When he was finally singled out for a purpose, it was as an Assassin, which in many books is portrayed as "cool" but in this one the secrecy and guilt were highlighted - even Chade expressed a lot of mixed feelings about his career (possibly because he also experienced shame and exclusion as a royal "bastard"?) All that to say Fitz did not have a lot of confidence, but if he did it would seem unrealistic, because where would he have gotten it from? My thinking is that after his success in Skilling with Verity, his confidence may improve.


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