Suzanne Collins tells us that The Hunger Games trilogy was inspired by twin causes in her life: the pain of living while her father fought in the Vietnam War, and the Classical story of Theseus and the Minotaur, which resonated deeply with her psyche. This makes sense. My first impression, however, was I was reading an episode of the TV reality series Survivor, cross-bred with Golding’s Lord of the Flies.
Assassin’s Apprentice is a novel by Robin Hobb. Six months ago, this author was unknown to me. By random chance, I’d found copies of two of her novels on the shelves of a local book exchange, and I snapped them up, hoping for light reading. I was very impressed. Soon, I discovered Robin Hobb was (1) a pseudonym, and (2) that the Rain Wild Chronicles were part of a larger cycle of novels she had written, all in a fairly-well developed fantasy world.
With that in mind, I picked up Assassin’s Apprentice. Like her Dragon novels, I was hesitant to set my hopes too high. I could envision her attempts at this genre descending into cliches that would both insult my intelligence, and waste my time.