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Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer…

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

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

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6,247None639 (4.13)235
Title:Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1)
Authors:Robin Hobb
Other authors:Michael Whelan (Illustrator), John Howe (Illustrator)
Info:Spectra (1996), Mass Market Paperback, 435 pages
Collections:Fiction, Your library, Favorites

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Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (1995)

adventure (33) assassins (138) Book 1 (22) coming of age (26) ebook (62) epic (21) epic fantasy (52) fantasy (1,512) fantasy fiction (22) farseer (163) Farseer Trilogy (128) fiction (431) Fitz (28) high fantasy (40) HOBB (32) Kindle (76) magic (82) novel (40) own (31) paperback (30) read (101) Realm of the Elderlings (28) Robin Hobb (43) science fiction (25) series (105) sff (67) six duchies (23) to-read (124) trilogy (30) unread (44)
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» See also 235 mentions

English (98)  Dutch (4)  Italian (2)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (106)
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
This review refers to the whole Farseer Trilogy:

I read The Farseer Saga years ago and it is still one of my favorite epic fantasies. Its main strengths are its simple writing style and excellent characterization.

Robin Hobb's prose is lovely — straightforward and simple. It never calls attention to itself (and therefore away from the story). The characters are complex and believable. Fitz is my favorite fantasy "hero" and someone I came to really care about. He's not perfect, he's not beautiful, he's not a master swordsman. He's an abandoned bastard coming of age. He's insecure, he's lonely, and sometimes he broods. Not in an annoying whiny way, but in a normal, realistic way.

Things don't always go so well for Fitz. His story is heart-wrenching, and I felt emotionally drained after I finished it. But somehow, that was so satisfying.

Read more Robin Hobb book reviews at Fantasy literature. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
The first book of Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy, Assassin's Apprentice, is an easy-to-read fantasy adventure with political intrigue and social insecurity with a nice dose of magic. Written in the first person as a memoir of an older Fitz looking back at his oldest memories and the beginnings of his career as an assassin. Although Hobb could have used the older Fitz to create a larger picture of what was going on, she instead kept the perspective exclusively on what was happening in his life as part of the larger picture.

The book covers a decade in young Fitz life and shows the social isolation of a bastard who caused his father's exile and abdication. Young Fitz has an abundance of men to look up to throughout the 10 year period, who over the same period he either disappoints or learns to distrust. Fitz finds himself dealing with two types of magical abilities, one treasured and one frowned up, which both shape his young life and potentially the future. However at the end of the book, only one stage of Fitz's journey is at an end and nothing really has been resolved save for the defeat of a court conspiracy.

Assassin's Apprentice is not a standalone book, it is the first of a trilogy and ends with none of the threads introduced in anyway wrapped up. But that doesn't takeaway from the enjoyable experience it is exploring the Six Duchies with young Fitz as he begins to create a place in the world for himself. ( )
  mattries37315 | Jan 31, 2014 |
It's been a while since I've seen so many fantasy tropes crammed into one book. But what can I say, this particular "kid grows up learning dangerous skills" story really hit the spot. Fitz is competent without being the best at everything all the time, and I was interested to see how his personality would develop as so many people tried to mold him to fit their own needs.

There's something about the writing style that had me stumbling over sentences, and I'm not sure if it's because they were grammatically unsound or too archaic to process. It's worst during the framing scenes of (I presume) old Fitz looking back on his life, but once the main story starts, the weird style either improves or I got used to it. There were a few emotionally gripping moments early in the story that made me forget all about the unappealing opening.

This isn't a book I'd praise for doing anything particularly interesting, but I enjoyed it in the simple nostalgic way that reminds me of the kind of books I read back when I was new to the fantasy genre and much less picky. I'm not sure if the simple charm will be enough to carry the trilogy, but for now there's definitely enough potential to make me interested in continuing. ( )
  thatpirategirl | Jan 16, 2014 |
Brilliant book! couldn't put it down! ( )
  phenske | Oct 29, 2013 |
2 1/2
I put this at 3 stars for the story but because of all the last minute close calls with luck saving the hero, I could not call it great. The story is very compelling and kept my interest, about a boy, a bastard son of the prince, being given to the care of his father's family. One uncle sees him as his brother's son but doesn't give him much mind, a 1/2 uncle sees him as competition, and his grandfather the king sees him as a tool. At first he is raised in the stables by his father's ex-valet and stable master. Then he is moved by the king into a room in the palace. He is given training and education but one evening he is told that he should be trained as an assassin for the king. He swears fealty to his king and begins training.

During all this, you come to find that Fitz, the boy, has psychic powers of connecting with animals and can see humans in their links and being. In the middle of the book they decide to train him in the psychic skill called "the Skill". Now that ability, talking mind to mind, and seeing into others minds is considered a valuable skill whereas connecting with animals is considered unnatural and a hanging offense. I never got why.

All through these trainings and acquiring of abilities, you start seeing Fitz grow and learn about the politics around him. Certain people obviously hate him, his Skill teacher, his 1/2 uncle, ect..., some your not sure of the King, his assassin trainer Chade, and some you can get are good and like him, the stable master, his uncle, his step-mother, his friends in town, etc... It is black and white, yet the king doesn't seem to protect him at all.

So my issues with the story all spoilers. The skill master nearly kills Fitz twice but has no repercussions except that the stable master beats him. If the king wants him trained, he should at least have someone who likes Fitz monitor the training. Or when it is obvious things are not going well, have someone look into it. They know he has this natural ability, at least his uncle can tell later.

and at the end--
It is obvious that the 1/2 uncle Regal is doing something bad but the king is blind to it. Chade, his assassin instructor, tells Fitz that being an assassin will be only between the king, Chade, and him, yet his 1/2 uncle uses it against him, and the king doesn't listen when Fitz tells him things aren't as they seem.

My take on the last minute saves.
Galen attacks Fitz in the Skilling class and puts the thought of worthlessness and needing to end himself in Fitz's mind, he is badly beaten. Fitz actually looks over the edge of a roof but his dogs connection brings him to not do it. Yet, his desire to end himself still drones on. None of the classmates think to make sure he is OK. And no one calls Galen on it except Burrich, the stablemaster. If he tried to kill him once, don't you think he'll try it again. Still the thought that the connection to the dog saves him makes it make sense unlike some of the other close calls.

During Skill training, Galen drops Fitz off on the other side of a town that has been infected by "The Forge" which makes people blank in ties to others. They become feral, fighting for all things and uncaring of hurting others. Galen does not leave Fitz a horse like he does for the other boys. This leaves Fitz walking through a very dangerous place. He is attacked, not once but twice, by forged people. It is a three to one fight and Fitz gets away the first time and then actually kills the people the second time. He is a 15 year-old and these are adults. He has no weapons, hmm... OK, he survives by shear luck.

Fitz is out in the open when the Red Ship comes, yet he is not seen. This wasn't done so badly but it was just another close call.

The ending,
--Fitz is told, "don't eat anything not from your own hands", yet he takes the herb in the garden. It is poison and if the princess didn't tell him how his uncle betrayed him as an assassin, Fitz would not have run to get an antidote in time.
--His 1/2 uncle, who he does not follow, talks to him in an obviously incorrect manner, and outs him as and assassin. To me there is no reason to contact the king to ask what to do. It is obvious. Still he takes the poison to Prince Rurisk. He knows he is being set up and that he is to be killed one way or another, why does he again drink wine that was not got by his own hand? So Rurisk and he drink the win. By miracles of miracles, Fitz doesn't seem to have drank enough of the very deadly wine, which kills Rurisk immediately, yet Fitz just suffers numbness and spasms. Again dumb luck that he didn't get enough poison.
--Then... his 1/2 uncle Regal calls him to the hot baths. Even though Fitz cannot even walk on his own, he goes to the Regal who is trying to kill him. His 1/2 uncle knocks Burrich out and believes him dead. So now Fitz has no support and Regal throws him into one of the deeper pools. Why doesn't Regal hold him under. It wouldn't take but a minute and it would insure that no one came around in time to fish Fitz out. No that would be too simple. So Fitz has enough energy to get to the top to take breaths several times yet he cannot get purchase to climb out. We find out later that his old dog drags him out, leaving bite marks on his hand. Really, his hands slip and slide and he cannot get out, yet the dog can pull him out by his hand? And even if he was knocked out and couldn't get out of a small tub, it would've been a close call with the luck of the Irish that he had a dog so bonded to him there.
--So he tries to Skill to his uncle Verity or the King to let them know what is going on. He gets the Skill to see the back deal of his 1/2 uncle planning to kill his uncle, Verity, the future King. But he has no ability to get to it before his 1/2 uncle tries to kill him. So when he is dropped into the pool and struggling to keep his head over water, suddenly the skill comes and he can warn Verity of the attempted assassination, and even at his weaken state, he can give power to Verity to fight the assassin, Galen. And this all happens right at the moment that the assassination is taking place, during the ceremony, which his 1/2 uncle is attending. How did Regal, his 1/2 uncle, get to the ceremony so quickly. In less time than it would take for Fitz to drown. The timing is all wrong, last minute, and doesn't work. But hey suspend disbelief and Fitz saves his uncle Verity from being killed, last minute save to the rescue.

I could have probably suspended believe if there was only one incongruency or last minute saves at the end but 4 saves and 2 timing issues is just too much.

I like the story until the end. And really I liked the end too, just not the way it was told. It could have turned out without all the last minute issues, plot missteps and been done in a very different, smarter way. But alas no.

I was pretty sure I was going to continue the series when I was 3/4 through but after the ending, I've changed my mind. I don't know if I'll ever come back to it, but I don't think so. As good as the story was, not the ending, it was not at all fun... at least in some places. No humor or lightness as one reviewer pointed out. I've read the reviews of the next two in the trilogy and found that the author is not nice to Fitz and that they both end badly for him. The last seeing him into exile. I believe she leaves much in the air as she wrote a continuation as a 2nd trilogy. I didn't like it enough, or care enough about Fitz to read 5 more books of averagely 750 pages each.

( )
  tivonut | Jul 25, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
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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 5 descriptions

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