March 21, 2011 § 2 Comments
Farseer Trilogy: Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin’s Quest
Verdict: One of the must read for fantasy fans
How do you know you have stumbled onto something great? When you spend 7 hours reading, so you could know the whole story. And then you spend rest of the day just thinking about it.
This is what Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb did to me. Not in the beginning, mind you. It was good, of course. It was engaging, no doubt. But there was a slowness to it. Then I read next one in series. It’s end only meant that I pick up last one immediately and immerse myself in it. And by the end of it, you are a fan. Of the series. Of the Author.
While it has all the common fantasy elements – medieval world, Royalty, Court intrigue, Magic, loyalty, war, sibling rivalry; it still managed to be different. War is just backdrop to the story. Magic, just a tool. It’s characters in the series who shine out. It’s their story, told by the illegitimate child of prince. As a Hero, he’s not perfect. He stumbles and falls. He refuses to heed advice given by his mentors. But that’s what keeps you engaged. It’s the imperfectness of people that one identifies with. They are human and they make mistakes. Til the end. Of course, there are times when you want to yell at them about obvious stupid choices. And it’s only by the end, you realize how each of those choices developed those characters, gave them the strength to be what they should be. You feel their pain and the triumphs. This is what makes it such an interesting series.
Book begins with bastard child of king-to-be brought to the castle, which is ruled by one shrewd King (and that’s his name too). His kingdom includes 6 duchies which bicker amongst each other. On arrival of this child, his father abdicates his claim to the throne and leaves child in care of his stable master. This child catches eye of the king who decides to train him as an assassin like his own bastard brother. New king-in-waiting, his uncle, likes him but next heir in line of throne detests him. This child, apart from skill magic of farseer line also carries old blood magic known as wit. Wit allows him to bond to animals and skill lets him talk to his uncle using mind. This wit also causes people to mistrust him and even his death and eventual resurrection.
Throw in King’s murder by his own son, real king away on a quest and declared dead, war brought by enemy from far, lost love and you have a trilogy. Engaging read and somewhat dark. End was very much a surprise. And you should be reading the series to find out what it was.
January 30, 2009 § Leave a comment
Note: Copy-Paste from Jun 07
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
Verdict: Must Read for 2 hours of unparalleled fun.
What happens when Angel and Serpent become too cozy in their earthly lifestyle and apocalypse is near, threatening an end to this comfortable life? Do they simply resign themselves to their fate and help God and Satan in final war or is there a way out of it? This is what we read and explore in ‘Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch’ by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Some of you would already be familiar with Neil Gaiman, courtesy Sandman. For those feeling bit left out, Neil Gaiman is author of many science fiction novels, comics and graphic Novels. Terry Pratchett is a fantasy author too, more known for his Discworld series.
Moving back to Good Omens, Book starts with angel Aziraphale and demon Crowley, both of whom are representing God and Satan respectively on earth and are quite used to life style on earth. Crowley is proud owner of Bentley whereas Aziraphale has his books collection, quite rare ones at that. Apocalypse is near and son of Satan has been born (omen, anyone??). Both angel and demon realize that if final war happens, they would have to leave all materialistic things behind and would have to go back to heaven and hell. For them, this is beginning of life full of boredom. Now, after centuries of working against each other, they have developed mutual respect and are good friends. So, together they decide to thwart the war with plain logic of “freedom of choice” given to humans. Their plan, very simple, influence son of Satan with both good and evil. So, he doesn’t turn out to be fanatic for either side, cannot decide on a side and in the end postpone the war. Just one small glitch, the boy they had been watching wasn’t son of Satan. Due to small mix up in hospital, they ended up focusing on wrong kid. Result, son of Satan had a very normal life uninfluenced by both good and evil and unaware of his powers. Now, time has come for him to gain the throne. Add to this, 4 horsemen of hell (War, Famine, Pollution (Pestilence having retired in 1936 following the discovery of penicillin), and Death) searching for boy to serve him, and you’ve got perfect recipe of roll-on-floor-while-laughing book.
Oh, did you ask why Agnes Nutter in title? Well, because she wrote the prophecies leading to final doom day which are very accurate And it’s up to her descendant to figure them out. Slightly confusing you see