Tuesday, 14 July 2015


 When Fitz is six, his small world is turned completely on its head.

He is discovered to be the bastard son of the King in Waiting, Prince Chivalry.

It's about as big a scandal as can be imagined, but Fitz is taken from his mother and his life to a new one in Buckkeep, the seat of  power for the Farseer royal family.

His arrival is akin to a stone thrown into a still pond - it creates ripples on ripples.

First, Chivalry renounces his claim to the throne, and retires with his wife Patience to a family vineyard. This leaves a void in the succession that is filled by Chivalry's younger brother, Verity - a capable man, but more military than subtle.

As for Fitz, he finds himself in the care of Burrich, Chivalry's stablemaster. Burrich is left behind when Chivalry and Patience leave Buckkeep, and he suffers for it but we only ever get hints of how, as Assassin's Apprentice is told entirely from Fitz's point of view.

Burrich is as kind to Fitz as he's capable of being, except where it comes to Fitz's talents. Fitz, it seems has The Wit - the ability to talk and bond with animals which, according to Burrich is a Bad Thing and he does all he can to try and pinch it out of Fitz.

That aside, Fitz grows up in the Keep under Burrich's sometimes rough but always considerate care. Fitz roams the castle, and the town below, meeting some of the town's children, in particular, Molly, the daughter of a chandler.

One day, however, Fitz's life is changed when he comes to the attention of King Shrewd. Fitz is about 13, and Shrewd demands an oath, making Fitz the king's man.

Fitz also meets Chade, the king's personal assassin, who helps to shape the person Fitz will become

Robin Hobb is one of those authors who has been on my radar for years but for one reason or another I never picked up her books. However, playing through Dragon Age has given me a huge hankering for some solid, old-school fantasy and so I started Assassin's Apprentice and I'm so glad I did. I loved it. Loved the whole premise of it, and the ups and downs of Fitz's life at the Keep and all of the intrigue and even the tragic horror of the Forged.

I'm 100 per cent looking forward to getting book 2 from the library and disappearing again.

 I don't have a lot to say about The Vines by Christopher Rice. It's a short book - just over 200 pages, and it felt to me like there wasn't enough time spent building up the necessary suspense and tension.

On the night of Caitlin Chaisson's birthday, she sees her husband cheating with another woman. Caitlin flees to an old gazebo on the restored New Orleans mansion where she and her husband live, and in an ill-thought out suicide attempt, Caitlin wakes up something under the earth that's been asleep for years.

I liked the premise of The Vines more than the execution of it. I think with a bit more build up, it could have been something great and sinister and spooky. As it is, I was left feeling just a bit confused.

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