Thursday, August 11, 2011

FANTASY REWIND: Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb

Back in the day when I still had my fantasy section at Borders, I always had at least one Robin Hobb book on the shelf (out of a possible 14 titles). This is because Robin Hobb is brilliant. It is also because people love Robin Hobb's stories. Yet, in my opinion, you cannot call yourself a fan of an author unless you know at least some basic details about them. One thing being THEIR GENDER

So, let's get one thing straight. Robin Hobb is a WOMAN. And her name isn't 'Robin Hood' either, no matter how adamant you are to the contrary. Still don't believe me? Let me prove it, then.

(Click to Feel the Power of the Beard)

Robin Hobb is a pen-name, as is her other name, Megan Lindholm. Her real name is Margaret, but she prefers to be called either Robin or Megan (depending on which fan you are). I picked up Hobb's first novel, Assassin's Apprentice, on a curious impulse. I went against the old sayings and judged the book by its cover. It was beautiful, well-illustrated and there were little images in each corner of the book, promising a possible revelation of secrets if I were to open its pages and start reading.

So that's what I did. I started reading. 

Do not be fooled. This book is not about an assassin. It's a tale about a boy who is born a bastard of a king. He is rightly called Fitz (which literally translates as "a bastard of a king"). It is told in a first person perspective and you are privy to some interesting details, such as Fitz' ability to communicate with animals. The book is full of intrigue and suspense, oftentimes violent and at other times, sweet and harmonic. Assassin's Apprentice isn't a book you can't put down (note the double negative), but it's certainly a book that will capture your attention and leave you appreciating a good fantasy story if you are willing to forgive the minor irritants. 

If you have never read a fantasy novel in your life, Robin Hobb is a very good starting point. Assassin's Apprentice is a book that will grow on you over time, therefore warranting a before and after rating from me. I'm looking forward to re-reading Robin Hobb when the time is right because it's definitely worth my time.



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