Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Renaissance (Assasin's Creed Book One)

Assassin's Creed: Renaissance (Assassin's Creed (Unnumbered))Title: Renaissance
Author: Oliver Bowden
Superseries: Assassin's Creed
Series: Ezio Trilogy (Book One)
Preceded By: The Secret Crusade
Succeeded By: Brotherhood


Score: 1/10
Chart Entry Point: 40/40
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Not at all


In these days of computer gaming, more and more books are being based on the computer games we can buy. I even saw an animated cartoon of Pacman the other day, in full HD on a 3DTV. Some of these books are quite good (See Force Unleashed II), and some of them are poor. Unfortunately, This is one of the latter.

I don't normally explain the plot in my reviews, but in this case it's a major point I need to make. For those of you who aren't really into computer games - or just haven't heard of this particular one - Assassin's Creed II is part of a franchise where you play a character called Desmond. As Desmond, you enter a machine that allows you to relive your ancestors memories - in the hope that you will learn something that will help you in the battle between Assassins and Templars in the modern day. So far in the franchise there have been two Ancestors introduced, and the one this game, and Book,  focuses on is an Assassin called Ezio. It's a really good game - and a very popular one.

Then there's the book. It decides to completely ignore the story about Desmond, the modern day character. Instead it focuses solely on Ezio's Story. Which is fair enough, Ezio's story still existed long before Desmond was born. However, at the very climax of the game, there is an event which only makes sense if you know about the modern day. In fact, it makes little sense then, but in the book - it makes no sense whatsoever. So the reward for reading through the book? Confusion. No good climax. Just a letdown. Unless you know what it means from the game, but then you know the story anyway.

And then there's the work in actually reading the book itself. It's not an easy task. It starts off well, the first page was good enough to make me buy the book. Then the writing gets quite simple, except when switches, apparently randomly, into Italian for just a few words. and not words that I'm likely to know. Some people may recognise "Case, Dulce Case" as "Home, Sweet Home", but what's a grullo? and why does it occur in a book written in English? There is a glossary, at the back, but I did see a couple of terms that weren't in there, and even still, looking them up breaks the flow of the story. It's as if the book has been translated from Italian, but by a translator who couldn't be bothered to do the whole thing. And it's really annoying.

And finally there is the characters. Now I had knowledge of the game's characters before I read this, so this might be in comparison rather than in general, but I didn't find anyone to be really developed well. Ezio a little, but other characters not at all. This is especially true of Rodrigo Borgia, the Spaniard who became Pope Alexander VI.  He just seems one-dimensional. Even as Ezio is walking away from his corpse. Which is a shame, as he is characterised so well in both the game, and the TV show "The  Borgias", although as very different people.

In conclusion, I can only say negative things about this book. Being a lover of the games, I had thought it would be good. But it's not. I'll never re-read this book, and I can't recommend it to anyone. Maybe the other two books already published are better (this was the first to be published), but I would suggest you give this one a miss. Unless you understand Italian, and like a challenge.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): 1 male
Main Antagonist(s): 1 male
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Sci-fi / Historical
Brief Synopsis:

'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. Truth will be written in blood


ISBN: 978-0-141-04630-3
Amazon Link: UK | US
Pages: 501
Published: 2009
Publisher: Penguin


  1. I love reading these books! The storyline is so intersting. It also takes you back and teaches you some history as it was based at the time of Leonardo Da Vinci and Julius Ceaser.

  2. Nice story dude