Of all the books Penguin sent me over the past six months, this one was probably the weirdest. But my husband said he will proudly display this on his bookshelf, which is grand, because I don’t really want it on mine. (butsecretlyIenjoyedit)
ASSASSIN’S CREED: RENAISSANCE
Publishing date: February 23rd, 2010
It appears to be a rule that movies based on video games will always suck. The list of failed adaptations is long, so I wasn’t sure Oliver Bowden’s novel, based on Ubisoft’s ‘Assassin’s Creed’ game series, would be able to break the cycle. However, from the beginning of the story, set in 15th century Italy, Bowden whizzes through the Renaissance – always interesting, but especially here, where a band of assassins have gathered together throughout the ages to take down an ancient evil.
We follow Ezio Auditore; at the start, a seventeen-year-old man leading a carefree life – spending time with his girlfriend, Cristina, and indulging in the occasional street brawl against a rival family, the Pazzis. The novel opens at the beginning of one street fight, allowing the reader time to get acquainted with pivotal characters; Ezio chief among them, but also his older brother, Federico, and Ezio’s main enemy, Vieri Pazzi. From here, a simple request from Ezio’s father Giovanni changes the path of his simple life forever – leading to a need for vengeance following an unthinkable loss, and for Ezio, his task to fulfil the Assassin’s Creed.
Bowden has written a surprisingly relatable character in Ezio. Through his eyes we see the Renaissance period, the descriptions vivid. Helping to set the scene are the ‘guest appearances’ made by Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli. In particular da Vinci is important to the overall plot, helping Ezio to decipher key items in his journey. It is this journey that is at the heart of ‘Assassin’s Creed’; that sees Ezio realise that he is part of something much, much bigger than his own quest – leading to a huge chase across Europe and an incredible confrontation with an unexpected historical figure.
A fast paced story combined with real historical elements make for a great read; if you’re a fan of the games, you’ll love it, if you’re not, but are after a thrilling read, you’ll find it in ‘Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance’.
Oh, something else to note: there’s a few Italian words sprinkled throughout the book, and a handy dictionary is included at the end – with a whole lot of fun Italian insults you can use in daily life.
In other news, I was trying to read ‘The Fry Chronicles’ but gave up. I love Stephen Fry to bits, but good grief. What a monumental chore. I started a Diane Chamberlain book instead – the cover says she’s the ‘Southern Jodi Picoult’, so we’ll see how that goes…