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Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer…

Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) (original 1995; edition 1996)

by Robin Hobb, John Howe (Illustrator), Michael Whelan (Illustrator)

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6,413116600 (4.13)247
Title:Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1)
Authors:Robin Hobb
Other authors:John Howe (Illustrator), Michael Whelan (Illustrator)
Info:Spectra (1996), Mass Market Paperback, 435 pages
Collections:Fiction, Your library, Favorites

Work details

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (1995)

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English (108)  Dutch (4)  Italian (2)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (116)
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
Review was originally posted on Goodreads.

I received this book from the Goodreads First Read giveaway.

Robin Hobb had me hooked from start to finish. I enjoyed this story immensely after reading about characters that excel at everything that they do; not that I don't enjoy those also. I liked that Fitz wasn't a perfect, excel at all, hero of the story. I grieved with his losses, shamed with his failures, and felt proud with his accomplishments.

I definitely cannot wait to get my hands on the next book! ( )
  apollymipanthos | Sep 8, 2014 |
Good start to what looks to be an interesting series. Very interesting title character in a small but sufficiently complex society. ( )
  jamespurcell | Sep 2, 2014 |
Fitz is the bastard son of the beloved king in waiting. Fitz is quickly cast aside and given to the stable master to raise. Preparing for the future, the king decides to have Fitz trained as an assassin and tested for a magical ability passed through the bloodline. With a new threat to the kingdom and power plays constantly in motion, Fitz has numerous opportunities to implement his new skills but he soon ends up becoming a target himself. This is the first book in the Farseer trilogy.

Assassin's Apprentice is a memorable fantasy novel with rich descriptions. It has an interesting narration where at the beginning of each chapter there is the sense of a much older Fitz relaying the story before quickly settling into the younger perspective. The story unfolds gradually through interlaced storlines that follow Fitz from childhood through adolescence and into young adulthood. It has an episodic quality that lends itself to epic high fantasy.

The story has a cast of noteworthy characters with great characterization and interesting backstories. I liked how the various mentor relationships were formed and tested throughout the story. Fitz's assassin and magic training were intriguing and had engaging storylines where each mission tests his loyalty and resolve. I liked that Fitz struggled with his endeavors and that there was a sense of growth as well as setbacks throughout the story.

The descriptions are rich and vivid creating an immersive reading experience. It has great world building with a diverse range of cultures, societal structures, politics, and locations. The different magic systems were portrayed wonderfully and allowed for further characterization. The first magic system was telepathy with animals and explored the mental bond formed. I adored the animal personifications especially because it remained subtle characterization rather than full blown anthropomorphism. The second magic system was a mysterious ability accessible by a limited group of people of royal descent that had interesting consequences.

The end of the book felt a bit slow because a new location and culture were introduced. However it makes up for it with a clever deadly ploy that ties up loose ends while setting the foundation for the next book. Overall, I enjoyed reading Assassin's Apprentice and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

[Disclaimer: I won a copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads] ( )
  eloquent_codex | Aug 10, 2014 |
Not really my thing ... medieval type fantasy, but very well written. A bit long, but I probably still would have continued to read the series but for one thing. I don't want to read about dogs dying!!! Not necessary to the plot as far as I'm concerned. Oh well. ( )
  AliceAnna | Aug 9, 2014 |
I bought this book (this trilogy actually) over ten years ago when I was really into fantasy series. I always bought trilogies as a whole, because I hated waiting to read the next part, and back then it was a bit harder for me to find books. So, anyway, I bought the entire Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb because it was (still is) considered a very good fantasy series. I started reading it... and after about 150 pages put the first book down and never looked at it again. The depressing life of Fitz the bastard just was too much for me. I've seen this trilogy on many best of lists and recommendation lists but never had the courage to pick it back up again. Depressing books just aren't for me. I even had one LibraryThinger say to me that she could see why I personally did not like it.
But this year I'm going to the World Science Fiction Convention (LonCon3), and Robin Hobb is one of the guests of honor. I felt bad thinking that I might attend a session, and still not have read any of the Farseer books. So, I picked "Assassin's Apprentice" back up, and started again.

FitzChivalry is the bastard son of King-in-Waiting, Prince Chivalry Farseer of the Six Duchies. When he's six he's brought to the palace by his mother's family, and from then on he's a disruptive force in the court, whether he wants to or not. He is raised by his father's man and stable master Burrich. His father gives up his throne and leaves the court (and Fitz) because of Fitz. Meanwhile Fitz learns that his connection to animals, the way he can be in their minds, is called the Wit and is forbidden and punishable by death. He is called to the king, and from then on he's the king's man. He is secretly apprenticed to the king's assassin Chade, while also being trained in other skills like fighting, writing, reading, and the Skill. The Skill is magic mostly used by those of the Farseer line where they can see the minds of others with the Skill, to exchange information with them, give or receive strength or to influence others without them knowing. Fitz's life is busy, complicated and difficult. He is sent on missions for the king, and has to survive court life, which is made difficult by him being a bastard.

There is a lot going on in this story, and Fitz seems to draw the short straw so many times. That is the aspect of the book that made me put it down a decade ago, and it took some effort to keep going this time. At the end I was just waiting for the next bad thing to happen. That is not a nice feeling, and it made reading this book not all that enjoyable. But the rest of the story is pretty good. I like the magic of the Skill and the Wit. I liked the mystery of the Red Ship Raiders and Forging which makes people seem zombie-like (alive but without morals or any real soul). And the hint of the Elderlings, which seem to get larger in following books (because this trilogy is one of several in an arc called "Realm of the Elderlings") is what draws me to the next book. Not quite my cup of tea but still good. Four out of five stars. ( )
1 vote divinenanny | Aug 3, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin Hobbprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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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.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:27 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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