Assassin’s Creed Renaissance by Oliver Bowden – A Book Review

Assassin's Creed Renaissance


‘I will seek Vengeance upon those who betrayed my family. I am Ezio Auditore di Firenze. I am an Assassin…’

The Year of Our Lord 1476 – the Renaissance: culture and art flourish alongside the bloodiest corruption and violence. Bitter blood-feuds rage between the warring political families of Italy.

Following the murder of his father and brothers, Ezio Auditore di Firenze is entrusted with an ancient Codex, the key to a conspiracy that goes back to the centuries-old conflict between the shadowy Templar Knights and the elite Order of Assassins.

Ezio must avenge the deaths of his kinsmen and in doing so fulfil his destiny, and live by the laws of the Assassin’s Creed.

Truth is written in blood.


Author: Oliver Bowden

Publisher: Penguin

Release Date: 18/11/2009

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 532

My Chosen Format: Paperback

My Rating for ‘Assassin’s Creed Renaissance’: 2 out of 5

Purchase:Amazon UKAmazon US



Everyone has that one series, be it film, book or videogame that they get insanely excited for to the point of fanaticism. For me, that series is Assassin’s Creed. It has, and always be my favourite video game series. I enjoyed the film and have picked up the entire series of books because my fanboy devotion demands nothing less.

Renaissance is set around the first game in the Ezio story arc of the Assassin’s Creed video game franchise. The author sticks to the video game content very well and fans of the game will remember playing whilst they read. Sadly, large parts of it read like a video game plays. Especially the first part where Ezio has a race with his brother. And many, many more parts that are too numerous to list.

To me, a fan of the series, I don’t want to read a video game walkthrough with action. I want a historical fiction that encompasses everything that makes Assassin’s Creed great. I want the backstory, I want the training, I want the secret war between Assassins and Templar. I don’t get that in Assassin’s Creed Renaissance.

What I get is, at least, a complete story. It’s well told for the most part and parts of it are genuinely hard to put down. Equally, other parts of it are hard to believe. Ezio is too perfect in most parts. He will pick skills up very quickly or, where he learns them over time the author will simply say ‘five years passed and Ezio’s training intensified.’ I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the general gist. He will also skip more exciting parts along with the duller training bits. Ezio is, without a doubt, a skilled fighter/killer. So let me see his skills on display. Don’t put him against four enemies and say ‘Ezio dispatched the guards with ease’. That is not combat. That is an insult to Assassin’s Creed fans and your reader in general. The book is over 500 pages in length. How does a man cut so much out but still leave it so long?

I liked the interactions with Da Vinci and many of the other minor characters, even though, at times, dialogue was incredibly weak and the characters didn’t seem overly fleshed out. I even enjoyed the majority of the story, I just did not like how the author handled it. I think the story deserved better and I hope he gives the following books far better than he gave Renaissance.  Characters also have a habit of turning up randomly to save the day. Everything like that just felt shoehorned in.

Also, the author will stick ONE Italian word in a sentence here or there. WHY??? It makes you look incredibly stupid as a writer. Incredibly stupid. It takes away from the realism of the piece as it is all set  in Italy. Why on Earth would any of the characters switch languages? I can see why he used a pen name when writing these books. Due to the varied flaws, I would not want my real name on the cover either.

As I said, I am a devoted Assassin’s Creed fan and will be reading the rest. I just hope I will be enjoying them more than I enjoyed Renaissance.

25 thoughts on “Assassin’s Creed Renaissance by Oliver Bowden – A Book Review

  1. Lol….well that’s pretty clear: staying far away from this one 😂😂Too bad though: novels based on popular franchises can really go either way: and I have read quite a few good ones. The Resident Evil book series by S.D. Perry for instance is pretty good. Well, still enjoyed reading your review for this one 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not to start a flame war or anything 😀
      But, Raistlin, do you have reviews for the RE books you read? I read several of them and they were some of the worst books I’d ever read. So to read a review from a positive side would be interesting.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Lol 😂😂 I haven’t written reviews myself. But I have read the books years ago and quite enjoyed them. Earlier this week I saw the books come on a blog I follow called: Biblionyan 😉 And that review was positive 😀

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve had almost universal bad luck with videogame novelizations/tie ins. I read one Doom book and that WAS practically a walk through of the game. I never understood how more books got written in the series.
    Like Raistlin, I also read some of the Resident Evil books, but where he thought they were decent, I found them to be atrociously bad. It probably didn’t help that my only exposure to RE has been the movies. But my goodness, I love the movies 😀

    There’s been a couple of others too, but I can’t think of them off the top of my head. Which goes to show how much I thought of them 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I hope that you find more enjoyment in the other books! 🙂

    Ah, I remember that you are a massive AC fan, can’t blame you as the games are epic! I bet you won’t be doing much blogging or reading when the new one comes out! 😉

    I might have this book! I have one AC book and for the life of me, I can’t remember which one it is! I do remember however echoing your sentiment about it reading like you are playing a video game and I just didn’t enjoy it, rather be playing the game! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have all of the books. The geek in me refuses to be put off. If they all suck, I may write a strongly worded letter to the author hiding behind that pen-name.

      I am so looking forward to Origins. Might not play it too much, though as am going through a ‘not into gaming’ phase.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Suddnely, I am quite glad I didn’t spend the last of my change on the book when I was fingering it in the shop a while back 😀 ha… I haven’t played the game or seen the movie… Hubbie has played it though and I liked what I saw so thought the book must be good to unreal proportions… hmm… Will be interesting to see how you fare with a sequel…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. hahaha… aye, well… I have no defense here… 😀 next time you’re browsing a book at the store, just think about it and it’ll make sense 😀 hahaha… *book shopping forever ruined (or not?) with innuendo*

        Liked by 2 people

  5. We just watched the movie and didn’t think it was well done either. I am sad the book failed to delight, it seems like they are just spreading to all industries too fast to make good quality products. Shame! I used to watch my husband play this game and it was very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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