by Victoria Miera
As much as I love the fantasy genre, it sometimes has a very interesting way of making even the most incredible circumstances seem routine. Mysterious magical powers, dragon-slaying, and generally momentous quests to save all humanity can feel like played out, pumped-out scripts, or they can be as thrilling as they are meant to sound. At least for me, the distinguishing factor is most often the depth of the characters involved and the level of my own emotional connection with them. This phenomenon accounts for one of the many reasons that the saga of FitzChivaly Farseer (as penned by Robin Hobb) has held such an immovable place in my heart since I first read Assassin’s Apprentice, the first novel in the now triple trilogy.
For those unfamiliar with Fitz, his story has been told in seven books so far, with two more still to come. Readers have seen him grow from a small child to a man in his later middle years, and in that time cope with the duties and expectations placed on him not only in such infamous roles as royal bastard and assassin, but as a friend, husband, and father as well. The sheer scope of time and content covered in these books, as well as the amount of time it takes to physically read them all offers the reader the rare opportunity to experience themselves growing and learning alongside a fictional character, developing an even deeper connection with them than they might have otherwise. In this particular case, yes, there is almost every element of a pulp-fantasy story (magic, dragons, and potential world-ending galore), but they make for a compelling story because you truly care about the characters and their fate.