Review of Assassin's Apprentice
  by Robin Hobb

Jan 20 2021

Hobb’s prose is phenomenal and she captures an old timey feel right from the get go. This book is an origin story about a bastard son.

I found the beginning to be cheesy, because it’s written from the protagonist’s perspective as an old man writing about his younger days. Maybe this trope used to be all the rage when published in 1995, but it’s cliche and I didn’t care for it.

The chapters alternate with a mini history lesson on the world’s politics, which I found unnecessary, but your mileage may vary.

Despite Hobb’s beautiful prose, it is written in first person, and the description plods along like a dying horse.

The actual training and process of assassinating was glossed over, and I was sorely disappointed. Apparently, the publisher decided to give the book its title, so not quite the author’s fault.

Link to Goodreads page

I also found the plot holes to be glaring, but this book is dated and I have an unusually unhealthy obsession with psychopathy, so the zombification spell being painted as a horrible curse did not impress me at all (it turns groups of people into anti-social jerkasses; the rabble would extinct themselves if they actually acted like that 24/7).

The characters such as the stablemaster, the honest prince and the barren lady are all quite interesting. I really liked the rainbow of personalities. I also laughed quite hard at the cranky old noblehag.

At the end, the action started to pick up leading to a climax, but I found the villain weak and uninspired. If you are like me and want to read about amazing villains, this book does not lend faith that Hobb is the author for that. If you want deep introspection and a slow-paced, relaxing read with complex world building and cute dogs, give this book a try.

Verdict: 3 / 5

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