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I've known for some time that Robin Hobb is to be one of the Guests of Honour at Loncon 3, the 2014 Worldcon; and was rather guiltily conscious of the fact that I had never read any of her books. Even apart from the Worldcon connection, she has been recommended to me several times by you guys.

Well, if you did recommend her to me, you can feel very smug, because I thoroughly enjoyed Assassin's Apprentice, the tale of the bastard son of a prince whose natural and supernatural gifts turn out to be useful to his grandfather in the twisted paths of statecraft in a fantasy kingdom desperately seeking allies against attack from a barely human, possibly inhuman, foe. The description of intersecting court politics and personal loyalty was intricate, fascinating and even moving. (OK, she uses puppies shamelessly as a way of engaging the reader's emotions; but I am a sucker for small furry creatures with large trusting eyes.) I will go out and get the sequel, and probably the third volume; and then consider how much further to take it.

I am trying to identify why Assassin's Apprentice worked for me, when the very similar (and much shorter) Yearwood totally did not. It may partly be the puppies; it may be the well-handled theme of education from many sources. But in general I think Hobb has a better political sense, and also after killing off a significant character or two in the early chapters there is a much greater feeling of suspense.

One minor linguistic whinge: the words "flout" and "flaunt" are used the wrong way round!

Comments

bohemiancoast
Sep. 5th, 2012 07:14 am (UTC)
I have famously low tolerance for books-that-are-the-same-as-each-other, such as sprawling fantasies set in the same world, and I scarfed down about eight Robin Hobbs before I started to get fed up. Which is loads; about six and a half more than I managed of Jasper Fforde, for example.

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