Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (The Farseer Trilogy: Book 1)

9/10 An enjoyable and rewarding beginning to a promising trilogy.

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

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28 positive reader review(s) for Assassin's Apprentice

68 positive reader review(s) in total for the The Farseer Trilogy series

Our interview with Robin Hobb

City of Dragons, the third instalment in The Rain Wild Chronicles, will be published in the UK on the 23rd of April 2012. In advance of the book's release, Robin Hobb has kindly taken time to expound on the inspirations b [...]

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Robin Hobb's The Farseer Trilogy series

Assassin's Apprentice

The Farseer Trilogy: Book 1

Royal Assassin

The Farseer Trilogy: Book 2

Assassin's Quest

The Farseer Trilogy: Book 3

Assassin's Apprentice reader reviews

from United Kingdom

The best fantasy series ever written, bar none. If you like this, chances are you will absolutely love it. The depth and believability of the world is staggering.

from Canada

I found Assassin's Apprentice and the next 2 or 3 books in the series at a book sale. I was surprised to find a number of the same author at this small sale. As I enjoy Fantasy and had never heard of Robin Hobb, and as the price was well book sale price, I bought them all. What a surprise when I started reading Book 1, entertaining, enjoyable and well worth the read. I finished the other books in the series that I had bought and quickly began purchasing and reading the rest of the books in the series. I must say Robin Hobb has become one of my favourite authors and Assassin's Apprentice and the rest of the series my favourite as well. The characters, especially Fitz, are believable and you feel what they are going through, their pain and suffering and moments of happiness. This is a series that you can easily loose yourself in and continue reading, until the series is done.

from USA

When I first read Assassin's Apprentice, I immediately fell in love with It's prose, more beautiful than anything I've read before or since. I was entranced, fully invested from page 1. I knew within a few chapters that Robin Hobb was my new favorite author. Her prose and amazing characters kept me smiling and turning the pages, even during parts where nothing important was happening plot-wise. It's one of the best fantasy books I've ever read. Robin Hobb is a genius. When you finish one of her books, you hunger for the next. I couldn't recommend this enough. A must read!

from France

Her characters are complexe and believable, the motivations are clearly explained so each character is utterly believable. They love they lose and they grieve so it is a rare book where the characters mature over time rather than stay in a rigid format. This is a rare author who gives life to her characters all of them (and there are many different characters) all different and all believable. Her plots are complicated and full of adventure but I love the feeling you have of knowing the characters and years later I will randomly think of a scene of her books, they become part of the reader. Her world is totally believable and one of the best series around. The Farseer chronicles are my favorite.

from USA

Immersive, enthralling, a pure joy to read. The best character author I know of after reading 200+ books a year of 51 years. A scene (much later in the series) is the best, most moving, emotional scene I have ever read. If most excellent books are a 7 or 8, then this book and series deserves the very rare 10. A book to start on a rainy weekend.

from Australia

Hobb delivers a masterpiece in storytelling with this first novel of the Farseer trilogy. A tale of bastards, beasts, and betrayal featuring some of the most compelling character development in fantasy writing. Not to be missed by any reader who has more than a passing fancy in the fantasy genre.

from United States

Robin Hobb is an incredible author! I just flew through her farseer trilogy and then onto fitz and the fool trilogy. Her books are the type of you can’t put down because you need to know what happens and you don’t want the books to end because you feel the intense need to be with the characters you meet in her books. Her wolf building and detail of what the characters experience is a really treat. I can’t believe it took me so long to hear about these books! I’m in my mid forties and just discovered them! Robbin Hobb is truly one of the great authors in fantasy writing. These trilogies go down in my top fantasy books of all times!

from London

Robin Hobb is a wonderful author, and this is her best series. I adore it. The characters are so human, and over the course of the series you grow to love them like they're your friends. Yes, it can get depressing, but everything has a narrative purpose; it isn't just gratuitous cruelty. I've read this many times, and hope to read it many more. Beautifully written, wonderful characters, engaging story. Everything good fantasy should be.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

from Glasgow,KY

There is "NO WAY" this series is out of the top five. This series is a must read for fantasy readers!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

9.4/10 from 29 reviews

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