Review Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1)

Senin, 26 Maret 2012

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1)

by Robin Hobb, Barokah Ruziati (Translator), Lulu Fitri Rahman (Editor), Tendy Yulianes (Proofreader)

Fitz, anak haram putra mahkota Enam Duchy, dibesarkan oleh kepala istal kerajaan dan dipandang rendah seisi istana. Namun dalam darah Fitz mengalir Keahlian, kemampuan telepati yang turun-menurun dalam keluarga Farseer, penguasa Enam Duchy. Dan atas perintah Raja Shrewd, diam-diam Fitz dilatih menjadi pembunuh. Ketika perompak ganas menyerang Enam Duchy, wilayah itu dalam bahaya besar. Berbekal Keahlian dan pelatihannya selama ini, Fitz menjalani misi berbahayanya yang pertama. Namun, kendati Fitz bertarung untuk menyelamatkan Enam Duchy, banyak pihak yang menganggapnya sebagai ancaman bagi singgasana.

Penerbit Matahati 2011

Karen: First Review in February 2006: First, a short blurb on the storyline (so skip to the next paragraph if you haven’t read the book, and don’t want it spoilt). Fitz is a royal bastard (as in born outside of wedlock). At age five his mother’s family deliver him to the royals and abandon him. The boy looks just like his King-in-Waiting father, but this doesn’t win Fitz any favours. His father, and his wife, abdicate and move away from the castle, leaving Fitz to be tended by the stable master. Over the years, Fitz is treated badly, but one day the king finds a use for little Fitz, and he is apprenticed to Chade, the king’s assassin. From here everything that can go wrong, does, but I’ll let you read the book to find out how it turns out.

I loved the characters and the plot. Both were deeply woven together. There were a number of surprises, some of them tear jerkers. It is written in first person, but Robin Hobb did a beautiful job with this. She allowed the reader to get right inside the main characters head, and this paid off, because I really felt connected with him – I felt his pain and loneliness. It was enough to shatter the heart.

As I said, Assassin’s Apprentice was written in first person, so the author felt she had to include a short passage at the beginning of each chapter (ranging from a few lines to one and a half pages), which explained the history and other characters. These were things that the main character didn’t know and was mostly “telling”. This is the main thing that I disliked about the book. I found it distracting and…well, boring. After reading the first few, I stopped reading them and I feel I didn’t miss anything. The story was just as rich without these “info dumps”.

There were places where the author also described too much. For example, it took something like five pages to describe a city. By the time I’d read 3 pages, I was well and truly over it and just wanted the story to continue – so skipped the rest of the description. Other sections were over described too, but not as bad as the section I just mentioned. These long descriptions were also distracting and managed to pull me out of the story I was thoroughly enjoying.

Taking these things away, this book is excellent. The story and characters are so real that the reader has no choice but to “get over” the bad things and move on. I did, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The book is the first book in a trilogy, but it is also a stand alone novel. I don’t have to read the next book, but I will because I want to see where the story will go (and how the author improves because, I believe, this was her first published novel).

Highly recommended; and, I think it will gain a place in my top ten books. Second Review in October 2009: This is the second time I have read this book, the first being in early 2006. On that occasion I had intended to read the trilogy but something happened in my life which stopped me – the loss of my son. Unable to concentrate for long periods of time and unable to handle complex plots, I turned to stand alone, much thinner books written for young children. The three books which make up The Farseer Trilogy have been sitting on my bookshelf ever since.

Now, three and a half years later, I find myself wanting to complete the trilogy. However, I realised the grief had completely wiped the first book from my memory. Apart from the main character's name, I could remember next to nothing of the story. I didn't want to pick up book two and start reading, hoping the first book would come back to me, as that would be distracting, so I read the first book again.

I had expected a flood of memory to occur at some stage during the reading – especially when I approached the climax – but that didn't happen. I did, however, remember small sections that obviously made an impression on me in 2006, but not enough to spoil any of the surprises. This morning, after finishing Assassin's Apprentice for the second time, I set about finding the review I wrote back then. It seems I enjoyed it then, with some reservations about the detailed descriptions. Today, I think I have a better appreciation for the book as I had more time in which to sit and become absorbed by it – I even read the “telling” sections at the beginning of each chapter, that I didn't have much time for previously.

Maybe it's a case of “older and wiser”, but I think it's more likely to do with the time restraint issues I had back in 2006, but whatever it was I really enjoyed this second reading. I became totally absorbed and found myself wanting to return to the story, even when it wasn't possible. Eventually, I left all other distractions at home (for the train trip to and from work) and concentrated solely on the book, which meant I was dedicating four hours a day to reading. I was captivated!

The author shows in this one book how a complex plot can be written in a smooth, believable manner. She also proves that whilst action is important, it doesn't have to dominate every paragraph of every page. She shows that a character driven book can pull a reader in and hold them through thick and thin, through the laughs and pain, through love and death. This is a brilliant example of a well written story.

This morning I finished Assassin's Apprentice and in the next minute I was already absorbed by Royal Assassin, book 2 of the trilogy. It's looking as if this trilogy is going to take a place on my “favourites” list.

Barbara: The prince's illegitimate son is dropped off at the King's residence at the age of six - unnamed and unloved. He is immediately dubbed Fitz (meaning bastard) by his father's stablemaster, Burrich. Thus begins the life of a boy hated (and feared) by all. Everyone in Fitz's young life betrays him or tries to kill him. The things they do to him are unconsciounable (sp?).

A few of the people of Buckkeep have psychic abilities - called the Skill. Fitz doesn't appear to have this but he does have an affinity with animals - called the Wit. At the King's command, Fitz is trained in various endeavors - a fighter/warrior, an assassin and even a magic user (Skill). As the King's assassin, he embarks on a mission which will change his life forever.

A backdrop to the story is the red-ship raiders, who are vile barbarians pillaging and kidnapping villagers. They return the victims zombie-like. It's almost like they're given a lobotomy - no emotions at all, no family ties, just violent as hell. The Skill workers are fighting this assault but no real page time is given to the conflict. I imagine this is left for a future book. I hope so, these people are unbelieveably vicious and I'd like to see the Farseers repel them.

I enjoyed this entry in the Farseer trilogy - even with the treacherous court life, the murdering royals and the traitors. I immediately felt pity for young Fitz and as the underdog, was pulling for him to teach those traitorus jackals a thing or two. Well he makes it through this adventure by the skin of his teeth, hopefully he will get revenge in the next installment.

M. Ulin: Buku ini berkisah tentang Fitz, anak di luar nikah dari Pangeran Chivalry--putra mahkota keluarga Farseer. Keluarga Farseer adalah keluarga raja yang menguasai daerah Enam Duchy (Six Duchies)–enam daerah yang masing-masing dipimpin oleh duke atau duchess. Pada usianya yang keenam, Fitz dipisahkan dari ibunya dan dikirim ke istana. Kedatangan Fitz menjadi berita hangat di kerajaan. Alih-alih mengakui Fitz, Pangeran Chivalry mengundurkan diri dari kedudukannya sebagai calon raja dan pergi dari istana. Fitz kemudian diasuh oleh Burrich, kepala istal kerajaan yang juga abdi setia Pangeran Chivalry.

Di masa kecilnya, Fitz hidup dalam kesepian, diabaikan, dan cenderung dipandang rendah oleh penduduk istana. Namun semuanya berubah ketika Raja Shrewd–Raja Enam Duchy saat ini, yang juga adalah kakek Fitz–mengambil sebuah keputusan. Raja ingin melatih Fitz, dan sebagai gantinya Fitz harus memberikan kesetiaannya kepada sang raja. Fitz dilatih baca tulis, etiket, dan persenjataan. Dan atas perintah raja pula, secara diam-diam Fitz juga diajari seni membunuh oleh seseorang bernama Chade. Menurut Raja, membunuh adalah salah satu cara untuk memperlancar diplomasi kerajaan.

Selain memiliki bakat yang lebih daripada anak-anak seusianya (yang digambarkan penulis dari cara berpikir dan kata-kata yang keluar dari mulutnya), Fitz juga memiliki Kecerdasan dan Keahlian. Kecerdasan adalah kemampuan berbahaya untuk menjangkau pikiran binatang. Keahlian adalah bakat turun-temurun semacam telepati yang dimiliki anggota keluarga Farseer.

Walaupun ia sudah berusaha untuk “bersembunyi” dan tidak menarik banyak perhatian, Fitz mau tak mau harus terlibat dalam intrik politik di kerajaan. Diakui atau tidak, ia masih keturunan raja dan walaupun berada di urutan terakhir, ia juga berada dalam daftar ahli waris kerajaan. Konflik mulai terjadi ketika perompak ganas dari bangsa Outisland menyerang desa-desa di wilayah Enam Duchy dan menculik penduduk. Walaupun kelihatannya para perompak tersebut hanya menyebabkan sedikit kerusakan, Enam Duchy sebenarnya berada dalam bahaya yang lebih besar…

…dan Fitz mau tak mau harus terseret dalam konflik ini.

Setting dunia Enam Duchy dijelaskan dengan detail oleh penulis. Sejarah berdiri, sistem pemerintahan, karakter penduduk dan mata pencaharian, transportasi yang digunakan, sampai aspek ketuhanan diceritakan di buku pertama ini. Bahkan, di halaman awal, terdapat peta wilayah Enam Duchy itu sendiri.

Dan karena banyak penjelasan setting, menurut saya bab-bab awal buku ini terkesan lambat. Di setiap awal bab diceritakan peristiwa-peristiwa penting dalam sejarah Enam Duchy. Deskripsi Enam Duchy dan masa kecil Fitz di bagian awal buku ini–yang diceritakan dengan paragraf-paragraf dan kalimat-kalimat panjang–sempat membuat saya bosan. Tapi, menginjak beberapa bab di tengah, yang lebih fokus pada konflik, kisah Fitz mulai menarik untuk diikuti.

Bagi saya, buku ini agak “berat” karena banyak bercerita tentang politik. Akan tetapi, banyak pelajaran yang bisa didapat dari buku ini, misalnya mengenai diplomasi antar kerajaan dan menyelesaikan masalah tanpa masalah–pelajaran yang jarang ada pada buku fantasi lain yang pernah saya baca. Dan untungnya terjemahan Penerbit Matahati terasa mulus, enak dibaca, dan bersih dari typo sehingga saya lebih bisa menikmati ceritanya dan tidak perlu merasa terganggu dengan adanya kalimat yang janggal.

Untuk urusan cover, menurut saya cover edisi terjemahan ini lebih bagus daripada edisi aslinya :) ) Oh iya, awalnya saya mengira si penulis, Robin Hobb, adalah seorang laki-laki. Namun ternyata Robin Hobb adalah nama pena dari Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden (seorang perempuan!). Sebelumnya, penulis juga pernah menggunakan nama pena Meghan Lindholm untuk menulis karya-karyanya. Assassin’s Apprentice adalah buku pertama dari trilogi Farseer yang dilanjutkan “Royal Assassin” (buku dua) dan “Assassin’s Quest” (buku tiga).

Trilogi Farseer sendiri adalah satu dari empat seri dalam rangkaian cerita “The Realm of the Elderlings”. Kisah FitzChivalry dalam trilogi Farseer dilanjutkan dalam trilogi “The Tawny Man”. Dua seri lain dalam rangkaian cerita “The Realm of the Elderlings”, yaitu trilogi “Liveship Traders” dan chronicle “Rain Wilds”, juga bersetting di Enam Duchy walaupun tidak bercerita tentang kisah Fitz.

Anni: This book made me realize a number of things:
1. I like the idea of killing people for fun and profit 2. You can't trust your uncle 3. I like men who whine a lot and play with dogs 4. I would like to read people's minds, but I do not want them to read mine 5. Poison is an interesting topic, and discussing it with strangers online can lead to tragic relationships with gay Nazis who live in other countries
If you keep these things in mind, you will be able to enjoy this book more.