Thursday, February 23, 2012

Assassin's Creed: Renaissance, by Oliver Bowden

 


Release date: November 11th 2009
Published by: Ace
Rating: 4/5 stars













"I will seek Vengeance upon those who betrayed my family. I am Ezio Auditore da Firenze. I am an Assassin…"

Betrayed by the ruling families of Italy, a young man embarks upon an epic quest for vengeance. To eradicate corruption and restore his family's honour, he will learn the art of the assassins.

Along the way, Ezio will call upon the wisdom of such great minds as Leonardo Da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli – knowing that survival is bound to the skills by which he must live.

To his allies, he will become a force for change - fighting for freedom and justice. To his enemies, he will become a threat dedicated to the destruction of the tyrants abusing the people of Italy.

So begins an epic story of power, revenge and conspiracy.

My thoughts:

I first heard about Assassin's Creed from my brother in-law. He loves the games, was constantly commenting how Ezio was badass, how his moves and kills were impressive, and how the graphics were fantastic. When the novel came out, I spent months craving it, only now having the courage to buy, and finally, read it.

Oliver Bowden transports us to Italy, 1472, where a young man is about the learn the power and secrets of his family. After a brutal attack and betrayal, Ezio takes the name Auditore to a whole new level, seeking vengeance from those who took blood from the ones he loved. Ezio becomes an Assassin, as lethal and skillful as one can possibly get.

When I start reading a book in which the main character is an assassin, I immediately wonder if he's evil. I bet almost everyone cringed upon the words "I am an Assassin..." that's written in the back of Assassin's Creed. I know I did. So you can only guess how satisfied I was when I found out Ezio's not evil at all. He's what I would call fierce, in every single way. He loves his family and would do anything for them. At the same time, he kills without a drop of mercy, but only when he has to. I loved that. He's the kind of guy that I would be proud of, if I were his sister.


That said, I enjoyed his relationship  - if multiple, and brief, encounters over the years can be called a relationship - with Cristina. I didn't expect him to be in love, and I certainly didn't expect for him to be so caring and ... cute... with Cristina. His love life was very, very different from the game, and by that, I was disappointed. But really, since I never played Assassin's Creed, my disappointment was short-lived.


To say Renaissance was a fast-paced book would be the understatement of the year. Ezio's 17 (if I'm not mistaken) when his story as an Assassin begins. At the end of the book, he's 44 years old. No, I didn't type that wrong. He's 44 years old. This means basically half of Ezio's life is described in 500 pages. I both love and hate that. I understand that the author wanted to show us what it means to be an Assassin. It's tiring and bloody. Ezio would spend years trying to find a guy, and months figuring out how to kill him. It makes the Order of the Assassins look way tougher than it sounds.


However - and that's the negative part of my review - it leaves no space whatsoever for character development. Sure, Ezio is more mature on the last chapters than he was on the first ones, but still, to write someone else's whole life, you have to describe their experiences, how they changed over each blow that life had landed upon them... and none of this happened with Ezio. It was so fast paced I was confused sometimes. The narrator would say that Ezio spent a long time searching for someone. I thought this "long time" would be weeks, months, or even a couple of years. And then I found out this "long time" was actually 8 years. How can you describe what happened to someone as special and broken as Ezio in 8 years with less than 3 pages? If the author keeps this pace up, how old will Ezio be on the third book? 89 years old?

Now, the ending itself. I liked it, but it was definitely not what I had expected. Really, it blew me away. I never thought Ezio's mission would be so important. I won't give anything away, but if I was playing the game, I'd have to pause to just absorb the ending for a moment. Just... what the hell?


Assassin's Creed is an excellent book for those who played, and enjoyed, the games. If you never played it - like me - you can read it anyway. It's a good way of learning Ezio Auditore's story, and reading an action-packed book.

2 comments:

  1. It's a shame there wasn't much character development, but I'm glad you liked the rest! I have been wanting to read your review since the teaser you had up on Tuesday. It definitely sounds great! :) I'll have to check this out when I can.

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    1. Ezio would be much more interesting if there was some character development. But even without it, he was amazing ;D You really should check it out, Sam! I think you'd enjoy it! And thanks for commenting ^-^

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