First off, I am an average-to-slow reader and have an awful habit of setting books aside, partly because as long as I don't finish the book it isn't over and partly because I have a very long list of things I want to read. So I took much longer to get through this than I ever meant to, which is completely my own fault and says nothing about the book.
This book is exceptionally well written and Robin Hobb has a skill with prose and imagery I often don't see. Her world building, characters and relationships are all well conceived and stunningly composed to reel the reader in. From start to finish this book did just that; everything about this book sparked and held my interest. I enjoyed getting to live through the events of the book and its characters through young Fitz's eyes and personal experiences.
If all I had ever done was to be born and discovered, I would have left a mark across all the land for all time. I grew up fatherless and motherless in a court where all recognized me as a catalyst. And a catalyst I became.The book begins by introducing the main character Fitz as he recounts the events of his life as he records them across the written page. This sets a wonderful tone for the first person perspective, the recounting of events, the opening passages at the beginning of each chapter of either events or the history of a people or person and, of course, the ever present intricacies of politics and its influence.
My Man still chose to give me a name, so He could not have been totally displeased. The name is in the old tongue, which has no letters and cannot be written. Nor have I ever found any with whom I chose to share the knowledge of my Man name. But its ancient meaning, I think, I can divulge here. Catalyst. The Changer.Fitz occasionally divulges information pertaining to the future and hints at things not yet come to pass as he reflects back over his life and experiences. For the most part this works well but one hint in particular is scarcely mentioned again in the book and certainly never comes to pass. I understand that Assassin's Apprentice is the first in the Farseer Trilogy and but a small part of the grand scheme of things to transpire throughout the world of the Six Duchies, but I still would have liked for something more to be done with this.
In the dream, the Fool stood by my bed. He looked down at me and shook his head. “Why cannot I speak clearly? Because you make it all a muddle. I see a crossroads through the fog, and who always stands within it? You. Do you think I keep you alive because I am so entranced with you? No. It is because you create so many possibilities. While you live you give us more choices. The more choices, the more chances to steer for calmer water. So it is not for your benefit, but for the Six Duchies that I preserve your life. And your duty is the same. To live so that you may continue to present possibilities.”Hobb perfectly manages to end this book feeling both complete - with its ending notes and observations as Fitz reflects over everything that has happened to him so far - and completely open for the following installments in the series as the story continues.
My only issue with this book is