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Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Apprentice (1995)

by Robin Hobb

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Farseer Trilogy (1), Realm of the Elderlings (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,568192546 (4.11)355
  1. 103
    A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (Tjarda, Patangel)
  2. 50
    Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn (Kassilem)
  3. 50
    Flesh and Fire by Laura Anne Gilman (Kaelkivial)
    Kaelkivial: If you enjoy the Master/apprentice relationship and the coming of age, rags to relative riches story lines. Both involve young boys who are capable of things that they do not yet understand and must harness their powers towards a greater end.
  4. 50
    The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (LiddyGally)
    LiddyGally: Both "autobiograhical" accounts of the life of a man with powers of a magical kind, told from boyhood to manhood. Compelling writing makes for a great read and memorable story!
  5. 40
    Transformation by Carol Berg (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: For epic fantasy that is rarely makes things easy for its protagonists
  6. 30
    A Companion to Wolves by Sarah Monette (Kassilem)
  7. 20
    Across the Nightingale Floor by Gillian Rubinstein (soffitta1)
    soffitta1: A coming of age story, a noble boy with an uncertain future.
  8. 20
    Devices and Desires by K. J. Parker (NovaStalker)
    NovaStalker: Both books that have no feel good quality about them at all. If you finish them and their respective series and don't hate life, love, everyone and want to kill yourself you're either incredibly well adjusted or a sociopath. That's a recommendation.
  9. 10
    Imager by L. E. Modesitt (Dragget)
    Dragget: Similar coming-of-age themes where the plot follows the main character as he discovers and develops his skills against a background of political intrigue.
  10. 10
    The Chef's Apprentice by Elle Newmark (mene)
    mene: Both books have a similar setting: Told by a narrator when he is already old and has lived his life, he talks about his childhood. Both main characters lived in the "important building" of the city (though in Assassin's Apprentice it's a fantasy world and in The Book of Unholy Mischief it's Venice in Italy), both boys go to town every now and then to meet his friends (and a girl), and both are apprentices of someone/something they cannot tell anyone else (except for a few people). Both books contain a bit of magic, though of a different kind.… (more)
  11. 10
    Le Vaisseau magique, tome 1 : Les aventuriers de la mer by Robin Hobb (Patangel)
  12. 21
    Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (joyfulgirl)
  13. 00
    Inda by Sherwood Smith (humouress)
    humouress: Both series share the similarity of a country defending itself from invaders from the sea with whom they in fact share their ancestry.
  14. 00
    L'Assassin royal, tome 07 : Le prophète blanc by Robin Hobb (Patangel)

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» See also 355 mentions

English (179)  Dutch (5)  French (4)  Italian (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (191)
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
Fitz is the illegitimate son of the late Prince Chivalry, raised on the fringes of the court, and apprentice to the royal assassin by the secret arrangement of King Shrewd. Royal bastards are always in a difficult position, and Fitz has a dangerous secret: in addition to the royal magic of the mind-bending Skill, he also possesses another magic, the despised and banned Wit, which honestly appears to be the same as the Skill, except it works on animals rather than people. Growing to manhood around the Court, he has to find for himself a safe path through the conflicts between the royal heir Prince Verity, his unSkilled younger half-brother Regal, and the Skill Master Galen, not to mention the attacks of the Red Ship barbarians and the dangers of the Forged ones, robbed of their human qualities by the barbarians and turned loose again to prey on their own countrymen.

And of course, as a royal bastard, Fitz can't altogether escape suspicion that he might himself be a threat to the throne.

Sent on his first major mission, as part of the expedition to bring back the mountain princess whom Prince Regal has negotiated for to be his brother Prince Verity's bride, Fitz is riding into a trap intended to bring down him, his friends, and one of the royal brothers.

Despite occasionally tripping over the names, a mix of virtues and traits never used as names in English, mixed with utterly mundane, ordinary names like Mary and Tom, this has the feel of a lived-in culture, and the characters, especially Fitz but not only him, have real problems to struggle with. It's an extra bonus that the dogs, most notably Smithy and Nosy, also feel real, and their personalities and loyalty add an extra dimension to the book. This is a very nicely done fantasy, with a suspenseful plot that draws you in.

Note to Becki: If you decide to read a fantasy novel--not this one. It breaks your rule.

Recommended, for everyone except Becki, who knows who she is.

I borrowed this book from a friend. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Assassin’s Apprentice is the first book in the Farseer Trilogy, and also the first book in the larger Realm of the Enderlings series. I read and loved the first 9 books back around 2011, and some of the characters have stuck with me in a way that few others ever have. Now I’ve decided to re-read it from the beginning and then continue on with the newer books I haven’t read yet.

It starts in traditional epic fantasy fashion. We’re introduced to our main character, Fitz, at the ripe old age of 6. He isn’t a traditional fantasy orphan, but he’s a traditional fantasy bastard of a king-in-waiting which I guess is nearly as good. I love epic fantasy and most of its tropes, and I adore this series, so I’m really not complaining, just releasing a tiny bit of good-natured sarcasm. The story is written from the first-person perspective of Fitz. Fitz in this context means bastard, and he's probably called Fitz more than anything else, but sometimes he’s called more creative names like “bastard” or “boy”.

When the story starts, Fitz’s grandfather on his mother’s side has decided the boy costs too much to feed so he dumps him off for his father to deal with. This is the first time the world becomes aware that Prince Chivalry has an illegitimate son. It causes a big stir, Chivalry abdicates his right to the throne and goes off to live in seclusion with his not-so-happy wife, and he leaves Fitz to grow up among strangers at the castle. King Shrewd eventually decides to have him trained in the art of assassination, among other things. (Yes, royal characters in this book have names like Chivalry and Shrewd. Also Verity, Royal, Patience, and so forth. It’s explained in the book.) The story has both external threats to the kingdom as well as internal political intrigue.

Fitz is a likeable character and I always cared what happened to him, although I admit he does have a frustrating tendency toward self-pity and bad decisions at times. I also really like the secondary characters, in some cases maybe more than Fitz himself. I was very attached to Prince Verity in these early books. I also enjoyed Burrich and Chade and their multi-faceted relationships with Fitz. And the Fool… I love him almost as if he were a real person, which is not something I would ever normally say about a fictional character. However, he doesn’t show up too much in this first book so, the first time I read it, he was mostly just a source of curiosity and interest. This time around, I appreciated his scenes far more with the knowledge of what’s to come.

In general, that’s how I felt about this entire book. I enjoyed re-reading it with the knowledge of what’s to come, and I paid particular attention to the world-building and to everything that hints at future events. Hobb does take her time with setting up Fitz’s environment and his relationships with the different characters, so the beginning is maybe a bit slow. I don’t remember noticing any slowness the first time I read it, but I did this time since I already remembered those parts so well. As Fitz got older and started getting embroiled in more interesting events, the pace started to pick up and I got wrapped up in the action all over again, even though I knew what would happen.

I’m giving this 4.5 stars. Based on this book by itself, I probably ought to round it down to 4 stars on Goodreads. However, I can’t help factoring in the nostalgia factor and my knowledge of how it sets the foundation for the books to follow, so I’m going to round up to 5. ( )
2 vote YouKneeK | Sep 17, 2018 |
this was such an emotional roller coaster but in the best way

also it was full of so many good dogs !! ( )
  ireneattolia | Sep 3, 2018 |
Now this was a fantasy novel I really enjoyed. I went in with no expectations at all, randomly chose it from my Kindle, and oh boy, was I in for a ride.

Fitz is likeable without being perfect, and both of his mentors, especially Chade, are wonderful in their characterizations. I also liked that the Six Duchies have a well-considered political and geographical structure. Seeing FitzChivalry go from stable boy to young assassin without the usual tropes of the assassin fantasy novels was a treat. I'm fairly sure I'm going to read the other novels, too. ( )
  _rixx_ | Aug 30, 2018 |
Robin could be a boy's name and the book was called the Assassin's Apprentice.
Boy what a let down. I think I read 3 or 4 of this series before I wised up.
The book should have been called the Carebear's Apprentice. The bodycount was zero.

This is exactly why I generally don't read female authors. It's fantasy. I want loyalty and bravery and endurance not the wishy-washy relationship wringer.
On paper it had all the elements I wanted: Young orphan boy with good character gets grilled by grizzled assassin and a swordmaster and, big bonus, has a wolf familiar but it was butchered and dragged into the mire of female 'feelings' and their continual second guessing and inconstance. I'd read a chapter and feel wiped out by the bickering and communication breakdowns.

Robin Hobb can write a lot better than a lot of authors I enjoyed more but as Elvis said: "A little less conversation, a little more action please. All this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me."

If you're of the bloody bloke ilk like me and want the same boy becomes great legend series, I recommend:

Brock E Deskins, Trevor Cooley, John Gwynne, Taran Matharu, Duncan Hamilton, Andrew Hunter, Brian Staveley, Kris Hiatt, Michael Sullivan, M.A. Ray, J.L. Doty, Chris Bradford, Christoffer Cruz, Edward Knight, Michael Manning, Vernon James, Duncan Pile ( )
  MattMaihi | Aug 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin Hobbprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boehmer, PaulNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santikko, SauliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spångberg, YlvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Giles
And for Raphael and Freddy,
the Princes of Assassins.
Bantam 1996 edition:
To Giles
to the memories of
Ralph the Orange
Freddie Cougar
Princes among Assassins
Felines above Reproach
First words
A history of the Six Duchies is of necessity a history of its ruling family, the Farseers.
[The Fool] was proffering a leather drawstring bag. "What is it?" I asked, and tried not to let him hear either the flowers or the doll in my voice.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Despite some titles similar to those of the original 6, the French version of the Farseer books splits the 2 trilogies into 13 books. This is 1 of 13 and it is the only book that is exactly the same as the original one. Make sure you combine only with identically split parts of the series.
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 055357339X, Mass Market Paperback)

Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father's gruff stableman. He is treated like an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him sectetly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz's blood runs the magic Skill--and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family. As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:53 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Fitz, Prince Chivalry's illegitimate son raised by Burrich the stableman, is ignored by all the royalty except for King Shrewd, who has him tutored as an assassin because he has the magic Skill.

» see all 7 descriptions

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