Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1)

The bastard son of a prince gets training in the art of deception, eavesdropping, and murder, while failing to master the royal Skill, a sort of telepathy that is the Six Duchies chief weapon against the Red Ship Raiders, who harry the coast leaving only zombies in their wake.

This is my second read of Assassin’s Apprentice, and it’s been an odd experience. Actually, I listened to the audiobook version, and while I enjoyed the narrator’s performance I was disappointed to find Robin Hobb’s prose to be a little clunkier than I remembered. I got a little tired of “rueful” smiles and people replying “mildly.” The story felt lighter than I remember, too, though I could see the seeds planted for the threads I know the later story will encompass. It was thrilling to see mention of the Rain Wilds, given how largely they figure in later books. I am hoping the rest in the series hold up better.

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