‘I am an expert swordsman. And I am skilled in the business of death. I take no pleasure in my skill. Simply, I am good at it.’
1735 – London. Haytham Kenway has been taught to use a sword from the age he was able to hold one. When his family’s house is attacked – his father murdered and his sister taken by armed men – Haytham defends his home the only way he can: he kills.
With no family, he is taken in by a mysterious tutor who trains him to become a deadly killer. Consumed by his thirst for revenge Haytham begins a quest for retribution, trusting no one and questioning everything he has ever known.
Conspiracy and betrayal surround him as he is drawn into the centuries old battle between the Assassins and the Templars.
The world of the Assassin’s has become far more lethal than ever before.
Author: Oliver Bowden
Release Date: 08/11/2012
My Chosen Format: Paperback
My Rating of ‘Assassin’s Creed: Forsaken’: 4 out of 5
I currently have an ongoing mission to get through all of the Assassin’s Creed books due to it being my all-time favourite game series. I foolishly started with Renaissance which is pretty dire and reads just like the videogame plays (not a great way for a novel to read …) Thankfully, the author learned from that mistake in the other novels I have read so far. I’m being super slow with these as once I have read them … I’m done. And I want Assassin’s Creed to linger on with me for as long as humanly possible (I’m sad, I know).
You can find my other reviews in the series here (INSERT LINKS HERE. Thank God you can read them in any order pretty much as only a couple actually follow on from each other in any meaningful way). Assassin’s Creed Forsaken has a slightly different spin on it than most Assassin Creed pieces. Much like his father (Edward Kenway) Haytham finds himself in the middle of the long-raging war between Templars and Assassin’s in a way that would have been totally unexpected. Whereas Edward barged his way in after pretending to be an assassin, Haytham ends up on the Templar side of things. He’s an intriguing character due to his current station in life being at odds with his family ideals. Reading about a Templar with Assassin ideals is a new experience and enjoyable one.
This is not so much based on the events of the game (Assassin’s Creed Three) but a prequel to it. Some of the events to merge later on, but Haytham’s journal leads you right from his childhood up until his final moments and spans everything in-between. The relationships formed don’t have a deep, tear-jerking or meaningful feel to them, but that is mainly due to the morose nature of our protagonist. He is all about the work first and his own pleasure and feelings second, as any good soldier of the cause (from either Assassin’s order or Templar order would be).
The bulk of the tale is set in America. The Templars are trying to set up their operations over in the colonies, hoping to discover precursor sites and thus powerful artifacts. Haytham’s personal wars lead him all over the world from England, to Europe and even further afield, but his primary goals are Templar dominance in America. We are even treated to such events as the Boston Tea Party … such a waste of good tea leaves.
I found the pacing of this to be fast and, at the same time, it flowed so well. It didn’t feel rushed. The combat was plentiful and very well-written. I could almost hear Haytham’s hidden blade (yes … he uses one despite playing for the other team) unsheathing as he made ready for a kill. As with all Assassin Creed books/games, I love the characters from history appearing. As fun as they are to read and play, it’s a great way of cramming some extra learning in without it feeling like hard work.
I thought some of the characters could have done with a bit more fleshing out, yet the ones that were on point were so good. If a character you are attached to in this dies or has something truly grim happen to them … and there are some true grim moments throughout, you feel it as though it were happening to a friend (or at least I did with a couple of the characters).
Well done on this one, is all I can say. I always crack the Assassin’s Creed books open in genuine fear that it’s going to be as unenjoyable as Renaissance and feel like an absolute slog because of it. Thankfully, the author knocked this one out of the park.