Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
The Farseer Trilogy is a recommended fantasy series.
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb is the first book in her acclaimed work, The Farseer Trilogy. First published in 1995, and followed by Royal Assassin and Assassin's Quest, the trilogy has been described as combining the magic of Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea with J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
The story follows a young six year old boy and his life and times once he is handed over into the care of his biological father, a royal prince. The young boy, who becomes known as Fitz, has a difficult life due to the fact that he is a royal bastard.
"'Chivalry's' the old man said, and he was already turning his back on me, taking his measured steps down the flag-stoned pathway. 'Prince Chivalry' he said, not turning back as he added the qualifier. 'Him what's King-in-Waiting. That's who got him. So let him do for him, and be glad he managed to father one child, somewhere.'"
Assassin's Apprentice: The Earliest History
He is taken under the wing of Buckkeep's master of animals, Burrich, and it is while working for Burrich that his discovers he also has many other skills that ordinary boys do not possess.
The Kingdom is under threat from raiders who leave their victims devoid of any human emotions. The King is hard pressed and uses everything at his disposable to protect his country. Fitz, after a chance meeting with the King begins his assassin training and as he grows he must face peril, hardship and ever more difficult missions.
This tale is told using a first-person narrative, beginning as Fitz sits down and recounts his memoirs (he is now a much older man). This narrative is intense and highly enjoyable, worth reading for the author's skill with words alone. There are genuinely moving moments and you are always hoping that Fitz's life will become happier.
I would highly recommend Assassin's Apprentice and the Farseer Trilogy. As you read you become ever more immersed in the story and it just seems to get better and better.
Here's what others say:
"Refreshingly original" Jenny Wurts
"I couldn't put this novel down" Starburst
This Assassin's Apprentice book review was written by Floresiensis
All reviews for: The Farseer Trilogy
The Farseer Trilogy: Book 1
In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma. Born on the wrong side of the sheets,...
The Farseer Trilogy: Book 2
Honesty is the bedrock for any relationship. But how can Fitz – royal bastard, trainee assassin, holder of secrets crucial to the security of the kingdom – bare...
The Farseer Trilogy: Book 3
With the king no longer living and the heir, Verity, missing and declared dead, Prince Regal has treacherously seized the throne. Regal’s torture has left Fitz more d...
Have you read Assassin's Apprentice?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Assassin's Apprentice reader reviews
Bob from US
First page was a bit meh but as I read on the book drew me in and made me feel like I was that boy. This book was outstanding.
Jon from Australia
This book could be the best book I have ever read. The good guy beats the bad guys and wins BUT he lost EVERYTHING but his life. SO CRUEL, BUT GOOD TO READ.
Theresa from South Africa
I adore this book. It gripped me by the throat from the beginning and didn't let go. I went on to read all the books in all the series more than once - highly, highly recommended - and I think this book is my favourite. Perhaps it holds a special place in my heart because it was my introduction to this magnificent writer's work? Write on Robin Hobb!
Tuesday from Australia
The first page of this book is what made me keep reading the whole series. Somehow the idea of a small child being swung along in a warm, steady hand in a wind swept, icy street, and the way it was written completely captured a child of that age and their curiosities and their odd way of perceiving the world. The author has a way of writing that I hardly ever see where everything she wrote seemed to have been planned ahead in complete detail. But the main character gets completely bashed up, everything goes wrong and although there are happy moments the author made his life very depressing. This is definitely a fantasy-lovers book and as others have said, not for the faint-hearted. This is one of those book series that is a beautiful piece of art but not a overly happy one.
Tyler from USA
I have read this series several times now and it has been the effort I went through to find copies in my town. I absolutely love this series. Fitz, the main character, is suppressed in every way possible. He is hurt, then kicked while he is down, again and again. But the point of the story is that he continues on each time. He raises himself up again and again. It is true that this book can get depressing at times, but it is worth it to watch as Fitz grows and becomes a exemplary man. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys fantasy.
Chris from Australia
This book got me into reading again. I love the way I was able to feel for the characters. The ending was amazing. There were a few chapters which were slow paced and I wanted more to happen but the ending made it so worthwhile. I can't wait to finish reading the trilogy.
Graham Brown from Australia
There are some good ideas and characters, though some were introduced only to go nowhere, but I am guessing that they will be taken up again in the sequels. I found the protagonist sympathetic, but frustrating in the way he just lets everyone mistreat him without doing anything. And some of the adult characters close to him seem to neglect and reject him for no good reason other than to try to gain reader sympathy. I agree with another comment above that Hobb builds up slowly to conflicts which then seem to fizzle out in a few paragraphs with an unsatisfactory conclusion. But generally a very readable book which sustained my interest.
Tessa from UK
Came across this almost by accident, and was drawn into it at once. I found the setting appealing and the plot quite intriguing, although predictable at times, with an interesting set of characters.
Jo from Germany
This is my absolute favorite book. There is no other book I loved (and still do) more than this. The characters are full of life and skillfully drawn, the story slow-paced - but so real in detail. Nothing seems shallow, not one feeling described seems out of line. So much art in every line. I am grateful for Hobb having created this work of art and I hope, she will continue publishing (though I didn't enjoy the Liveship Traders as much as the Fitz-books).
Tom from Lincoln
Quite honestly the worst set of books I have ever read. The plots and sub-plots dragged beyond imagination, the characters quite frankly felt like they were dreamed up in 30 seconds and for a book set in that kind of time there should have been a lot more actual action. The author builds you up each time for a nice battle then lets you down completely by being half a page long with no real description. To be honest a 6 year old could have done better. My recommendation is to avoid this book like the plague and I hope the author sees a doctor about depression as seriously a kid shouldn't have to do all that crap without getting a huge payoff like... err maybe actually getting to go home? Anyway, rant over, book is awful, give it a miss.
Roelf from The Netherlands
I tried. I really did. I have numerous friends who have told me that they really enjoyed this book, but I have failed to do so. To me this book was a writer torturing the main character for no apparant reason.
Jonathan from Maryland
This is perhaps the best series of books I have read. The characters are very real and not at all static. It is very easy to fall into this book and cheer at Fitz's triumphs and gnash your teeth at his failures and setbacks. The books can be very sad or depressing, but the fact that there are huge setbacks and horrible truths make it more real and gritty. Someone once said to me you cannot know how good things can be till you've seen how bad it was. Persevere, the second trilogy especially sets things to rights and it feels good. I have read and reread this series many times, which I very rarely do and is the best recommendation I can offer.
Tim from New Zealand
Robin Hobb is my favourite fantasy author and I think this is her best series. The writing creates a vivid world and her characters are believable.
Emily from Mississippi, US
Robin Hobb, for me, sets the standard for what I expect out of fantasy. She makes an art out of digging a deeper and deeper hole for her poor main character. As someone else mentioned, the story can be depressing, but the series doesn't really bill itself as a peppy, happy thing to begin with. But for the complainers, approach this book as a trilogy of trilogies; it doesn't really end until Fool's Fate, when everything is finally made right. And even then, there's another growing trilogy coming along now! This is the kind of writing that you'll come back to over and over again, and will spoil you, like it has me, with its amazing craft and quality.
Patrick from Glasgow,KY
There is "NO WAY" this series is out of the top five. This series is a must read for fantasy readers!
Shell from Winchester
The strength of this series lies in the combination of strong human characters and Nighteyes - the kind of companion we all dreamt of as children and were only able to find in the pages of a book.
Jeremy from Akron
I really can't recommend this book. The writing labors at points and the chapter intros are cumbersome and unnecessary. As the start of a series, it does leave you itching for more, but THERE IS NO PAYOFF. The ending of the series feels like the author shifted midway through and decided to do something different with the end because she wanted to write more books with the main character. The biggest flaw in the series, is the the main character. He is very powerful, and yet he lets others dump all over him, until they finally break him. Quite lame. There are worse books out there. But only read this if someone is paying you.
A Reviewer from UK
'The main character is sympathetic, but the book consists of nothing but horrible things happening to him over and over again.' That pretty much sums up the entire book! It's exceedingly well-written and worth reading, but the story sometimes feels unnecessarily gray and unappealing. Don't read this if you don't like seeing a boy fail in every endeavor and ultimately end up as a man only by happenstance. Seriously, Ms. Hobb was as cruel to him as only someone who does not understand can be. As a young man, I read this series dreading the next time my heart would sink to the bottom of my gut because of things I wanted and things the character wanted were ripped away mercilessly. Family, love, his father, friendship et cetera. This series is not for the faint of heart. You'll be depressed for a week!
Melanie from Glasgow
I've loved all Robin Hobb's books, apart from "The Soldier Son" series. I loved Fitz, and really got into him as a character. While reading these books I totally escaped into the story, forgetting the real world for a while, which is the best compliment I can give. "The Mad Ship" books affected me this way as well. After borrowing the 1st book from the library, I went out to buy all her books so I could read them whenever I wanted. I haven't read the "Dragon" books yet as I didn't know they existed, but I will be making a visit to Waterstone's as soon as possible.
AL from New York, NY
Robin Hobb gives us a great escape: a detailed worldscape with terrific characters. This is probably my favorite "trilogy" of all Robin Hobb's books.
Daniel from Essex
Well written and easy to lose yourself in, these series of books are an emotional rolercoaster. I couldn't put these books down, I also would recommend the Live Ship series and the Tawny Man but unfortunatly I felt Robin lost her way after that.
Rob from London
Amazing first book for an amazing series. I've recommended this book to several people and all have gone on to read and enjoy the trilogy. Definitely in my top 5 fantasy novels, do yourself a favour and read it.
Rosalind from Colorado
I must admit, I only got 3/4 of the way through this book before I had to stop. I have never read any novel that was so relentlessly depressing. The main character is sympathetic, but the book consists of nothing but horrible things happening to him over and over again. Other characters in the book exist only betray Fitz or die one he grows fond of them. I have not (and will not) read other books in the series, but I can guess that they involve the destruction of every father-figure and cute puppy that gets within a mile of the protagonist.
Estel from Lucknow
The Farseer Trilogy is a must read for any fantasy fan. The first person narrative is effective and engaging, I feel a lot of empathy for Fitz. Ms. Hobb is an excellent wordsmith; the setting and the characters have been beautifully portrayed. She has definitely taken fantasy to a new horizon, devoid of any clichés, with an engaging plot and a realistic cast of characters.
Natalie from Cheshire
Robin Hobb is probably my favourite fantasy author and the Farseer trilogy is probably my favourite series. It's the characters that I like the best, Fitz, Burrich, Regal, Molly and Verity are still as clear in my mind to me as they were when I was reading it a few years ago. The bonus is that the books get better as they go along and give you the kind of ending you are hoping for, something that other series have failed to do and left me a bit disappointed.
8/10 from 26 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear while the Lord Ruler reigned with absolute power ...
Half a King
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself. And he must do it al...
The Faithful and The Fallen
Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will...
The World Tree rises up out of the seething clouds like a green mountain, lifting its children up to the light. All creation nestles in its gigantic branches: all take shel...
Hope and Red
In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two people find a common cause. Hope, the lone survivor of a village massacred by the emperor's forces, is secretly tr...
The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures...
In the cramped west end of Sharakhai, the Amber Jewel of the Desert, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall...
The Black God's War
Moses Siregar III
Against the backdrop of epic warfare and the powers of ten mysterious gods, Lucia struggles to understand The Black One. Her father-king wants war. Her messianic brother wa...
Wall of Night
The violence of an age-old war casts a long shadow. It falls on a world where mercy is weakness and conflict is a way of life. Young Malian is being trained to rule. Her pe...
Long ago, the evil God Torak fought a war to obtain an object of immense power - the Orb of Aldur. But Torak was defeated and the Orb reclaimed by Belgarath, the sorcerer. ...
The Emperor's Soul
Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skilful magic. Condemned to death after trying to steal the emper...
Hunt for Valamon
When Crown Prince Valamon is impossibly taken from the heart of Algaris Castle, the only clue as to motive or culprit is the use of unknown sorcery. Reclusive cleric Seris ...
Four millennia have passed since the gods came to Myrillia, creating the nine lands of peace as a haven from the nightmarish, accursed Hinterlands. In all this time nothing...
A Trial of Blood and Steel
Spurning her royal heritage to be raised by the great warrior, Kessligh, her exquisite swordplay astonishes all who witness it. But Sasha is still young, untested in battle...
In a land where magic has been forgotten and peace has reigned for centuries, unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms battle for power… A princess must journey into enem...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended high fantasy books/series
- Recommended books/series featuring royalty, monarchy and empire
- Recommended epic fantasy books/series
Best of 2016
Hope and Red
In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two people find a common cause. Hope, the lone survivor of a village massacred by the emperor's forces, is secretly train...
The Star Touched Queen
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more ...
The Pagan Night
Ruling with an iron hand, the Church has eliminated the ancient pagan ways. Yet demonic gheists terrorize the land, hunted by the Inquisition, while age-old hatreds rage betwe...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the common foe. And even if the clans can join forces, how will they defeat an enemy whose magical prowess renders them indistinguishable from gods?The answer lies across the...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...
The Shadow Crucible
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All ...
The Dog Stars
Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's...
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn h...