Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Review of Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer #1) by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Writing 5/5
Imagination 4/5
Plot 4/5
Setting 4/5
Characters 5/5

My Overall Enjoyment 4/5

After reading this fine book, I understand why it is considered a classic and has garnered near universal praise and acclaim. Most likely, I have never read such strong character development. I really felt that plot was very secondary to getting to know the main character Fitz. He was highly relateable, complete with the flaws and contradictions that make up every person. I got to know him better after every page of this beautifully written book. This was truly some of the finest writing I have read in epic fantasy. There were many great characters in this book, including the stablemaster, both his teachers, the Fool (probably my favorite character), and the princes Regal and Verity. Each was wholly unique.

The world the author created is deep and complex and at times I felt a little lost but that is probably due to not taking my time. The pace was slower than I prefer (until the last quarter or so) but in a character focused book that is usually the case. The plot was very good and had me guessing what would happen next. The magic system was also very good and was subtle as well which appeals to me. I loved what was called the Wit, a type of magic one can use to communicate with animals. Being a dog and animal lover, I loved the scenes with Fitz and the various dogs he had throughout the story. I also enjoyed the other magic called the Skill, which was a way to communicate across distances. There is a lot to be built on this magic in coming books. There were several unique and extremely clever sub-plots, all of which added mystery to an already great main plot full of political intrigue. The backstory of the world is another highlight, and each chapter begins with a small snippet of something from its history, a device I love in fantasy books. Each snippet is tied into the events in the coming chapter.

Highly recommend for all fantasy fans. This is a huge epic fantasy book, a true classic. Although its mostly pretty dark, I don't think it's really grimdark. Assassin fantasy books are very popular in the last few years, but this is one of the best. My only minor complaint has to do with my personal preference, which is that I enjoy fast moving, action-packed books, more in sword and sorcery style. While this book has some good action scenes, the action is not prominently featured. I look forward to reading the next book in the Farsser trilogy!


Nathan (@reviewbarn) said...

Its true, no bone has ever accused Hobb of fast moving plots. Glad to see you enjoyed it, despite its dark setting Hobb is great for a long, lazy day.

The_Wanderer said...

This was a good review. I read this trilogy for the first time this year and really enjoyed it, too. The first book was my favorite, but the other two were also pretty solid.

philip witvliet said...

Thanks Wanderer! I'm putting the remaining books off until I catch up on some other things but I look forward to them.