Assassin’s Apprentice

Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 4, 1997

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Attendees: A. T. Campbell III, Shirley Crossland, Cyndi Dunn, Wes Dunn, Willie Siros, Lori Wolf

We had a good turnout at Adventures in Crime & Space to discuss Assassin’s Apprentice, the first book in a fantasy trilogy by Robin Hobb. The book is well-written adventure story involving a young boy whose father was a prince but whose mother was not the prince’s wife. Due to the boy’s heritage he can’t be treated like a regular member of royalty, so instead he gets trained to be an assassin working for the king.

Our impressions of the book were favorable. Hobb’s prose style was smooth and compelling, and it didn’t get in the way of the story. Willie liked the book because it violates the assumptions of high fantasy. He’d felt it was too polished a work to be a first novel, so he wasn’t too surprised when Hobb turned out to be a pseudonym for Megan Lindholm. Cyndi and Wes, who’d already read the entire series, felt the story was excellent. They warned that later books in the series are quite dark, and it’s pretty depressing to turn each page unless you constantly maintain a hope that things will turn out all right. They also pointed out th realistic touch that no one in the book, not even the main character, knows all that is going on. Shirley liked the meaty story and admired Hobb’s literary technique. Lori felt the story was compelling, and said that the book was a good aid to her recuperation when she was sick recently. I found the book’s political situations interested, and I liked how Hobb avoided the artificial writing style so common in high fantasy.

There wasn’t much we found to dislike. We did feel that the main character didn’t grow or mature as much as we might have like, but this was not a major flaw.

We liked this book a lot, and would encourage others to check it out.

— A. T. Campbell, III