by Robin Hobb
Fitz is a royal bastard with a magic that connects him with animals. Abandoned at the castle, he is raised in the stable and trained to serve the king as an assassin.
Being told from the perspective of Fitz, the first half of this book is a slow burn. Fitz is abandoned by the maternal half of his family and left in care of the paternal half, who never accept him as family, although they do fairly well to care for and train him. He takes some time to figure out how he fits in and eventually learns to fill the role the king has chosen for him. The story focuses on Fitz’s learning his existing abilities and learning new skills, as well as the relationships between the royals and those around them.
The second half of the book is where more action comes into play. The kingdom is attacked, Fitz is the subject of sabotage, and the number of assassinations increases. Where the beginning of the story lays the groundwork of who’s who and what’s what, the rest of the book is where the plot rises up and things get lively.
As slow as this book starts out, it didn’t feel like a drag to me. It’s well written, and the more minor events were still interesting, all having a purpose in the story as a whole. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.