MY ⭐️ RATING: 5/5
Format: Kindle Whispersync
Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father's gruff stableman. He is treated as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz's blood runs the magic Skill—and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family.
As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.
This is my first foray into the Realm of the Elderlings and wow, wow, wow! I can see why this is such a beloved series, it was fantastic from beginning to end and I can already tell that my heart is going to be obliterated at some point. I love stories like this, where it’s a some-what slow start, but it is so well written as it builds a foundation with our main character, FitzChivalry Farseer, that it just felt like it flew by way too fast. I did the Whispersync version which may have helped with that as I felt the narrator, Paul Boehmer, did such a great job helping me immerse myself into the world.
Speaking of the world, Robin does an incredible job of the world-building, there’s so much that is explained in great detail of the places that are visited, each one in vivid and intricate details that helped me form the pictures in my mind. I’m a big fan of the medieval Europe type settings in books, there’s just something so beautiful and dangerous about those times and it’s easy to picture in my mind. Because I read the illustrated version, there were also pictures included throughout that also helped the immersion process since I got to see some of the scenes and the characters involved. As stated above, it’s very well written, the story-telling was just phenomenal and you could feel the tension building with each turn of the page. It had a grittiness to it because of the political machinations and not knowing who to trust, while also telling a story of courage and honour.
“It’s a poor teacher who tries to instruct by blows and threats. Imagine taming a horse that way. Or a dog. Even the most knot-headed dog learns better from an open hand than a stick.”
The story had a ton of great fleshed out characters that were strong yet flawed but still lovable, especially FitzChivalry Farseer, the main character of this single POV story. There is a lot to unpack with this character as we see him from a young six year old boy to a 14 year old by the time the book ends. He is the bastard of a prince, and as you may already know by the name of the book, he is training to be an assassin. I would elaborate further, but if you’ve read this, you know, and if you haven’t, you should read it. I also found the side characters to be pretty fantastic as well, the two I found the most intriguing were Chade and The Fool. Both gave a bit more of a glimpse into the darker side of the story.
Lastly, the magic system of Skills and Wit I liked, each one had its own unique and distinct type of use, especially with the companionship that Fitz finds. Not only that, but I loved that the magic felt some-what realistic since it wasn’t all-powerful. The magic system itself was a bit basic, kinda like the names, but it still introduced a nice bit of magic that didn’t feel dull.
Thanks for breaking my heart. This was such a great read and I highly, HIGHLY recommend this for all that have yet to read it. Also, if you have, I would recommend checking out Jeff Wheeler, who tells similar stories in a similar setting.