Friday, February 10, 2012

Enormous Volumes of Fantasy

I have somehow missed Robin Hobb till now.  I'd never heard of her till pretty recently, and then suddenly she's everywhere.  So I got Assassin's Apprentice from the library.  Luckily, it's on the Kindle, so I couldn't tell how long it was, because I'm pretty sure it was enormously long.  It might have intimidated me in hardback, but I read it.  And it was awesome.

I'm always surprised by how many of these are out there--enormous fantasy novels.  I suppose you might call them epic, but it doesn't span generations, characters, high passion.  It's the story of one boy who finds himself a member of the royal household.  As the bastard son of the heir to the kingdom, he's hated, yet bound to the family.  The king puts him in training as a spy and assassin.

A bunch of stuff happens--enemies attacking the coast, the king's youngest son jockeying for power--but most of the book is about Fitz growing up, learning about royal life, and trying to do his part to hold the kingdom together.  He makes the occasional friend, but mostly he's a solitary kid with a gift for communicating with animals.

Does this sound like not much?  Most of my favorite books do.  I thought this book would be boring when I started it, but that was out the window pretty quickly.  Mostly, though, it's the story of a boy growing up kind of lonely and becoming extremely competent at things like intrigue and poisons.  Did I ever mention how much I love books about people just being competent at things?

Can't wait to read the next one.  And there are heaps more Robin Hobb books out there!  Lord, I'm never going to finish reading.  Well, back to it, I guess.


Aarti said...

I started a Robin Hobb series- the one with the shape-shifting bastard son- and did not finish it. I am not sure why- I think because I thought the main character, Fitz, was really, really selfish :-) Glad to know I should give her another try, but I think I'm exhausted of epic fantasy at the moment.

LibraryHungry said...

I think it might be the same series--he's not a shapeshifter yet, but he's a bastard named Fitz--but I wouldn't have called him selfish. More immature and isolated. I think I've read too many books lately where teenagers are indistinguishable from adults, so I was grateful to see a teenager who didn't just have all the suave savoir-faire of James Bond.

Linden said...

I'm just finishing up this book, after reading your review of it. I'm a fan! Just put the next one on hold at the library... And, FYI, it's a pretty average-sized paperback, about 400 pages. Nothing intimidating about seeing it in real life.