Assassin’s Apprentice


Product Description
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.

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  1. A. McPhate @ 7:08 am

    I am writing this review because I found this trilogy impossible to put down but emotionally draining. This was the kind of story that grabs your guts as well as your mind. If you have read Haldeman’s “All My Sins Remembered”, you know what I mean. After I finished the last Assassin book I spent hours trying to sort out my feelings. It hit me that hard.

    After I read the first book I told my wife she might like to read it. Now, I don’t think so. This story isn’t light entertainment, its something you experience. If you want a black and white hero story, go elsewhere. If you want a story that can pull you in, wring you out, and leave you feeling like you have really been through something, then read this. This is good, strong stuff. If it makes you a little sick, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    I will mention that the book, being a narrative from the point of view of main character, flows much better than the typical multi-party fantasy novel that has to hop from person to person to keep things synchronized. The flow is so strong I literally had difficulty putting the books down, stealing any spare minute I could to read just one more page. Thank goodness it was only a trilogy – I wasn’t getting near enough sleep.

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  2. Yosef Abta @ 9:44 am

    This review refers to the whole series: Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy is very different from any other fantasy book you’ve ever read. The main difference is that it’s not action-packed or even action-based. Oh, there’s a lot of royal-court plotting and murder, there are battles and journies to distant lands, there is magic and magical creatures and all the other stuff you’ve learned to expect in a fantasy work – but somehow it’s not the main thing, as is evident from the relatively slow-pacing of the plot. So if you’re looking for a Robert Jordan kind of action-thriller – you better move on. But if you’re an adult (emotionally, that is) and looking for something more substantial and profound – you’ve found the right book. The Farseer trilogy, as I have already said, is not action-based. Instead, it is charcter-based and relationship-based. it is concerned with the process of a young boy’s maturing and becoming a man and an adult (in an environment which is mostly hostile) more than it is concerned with the machinations of a royal court, or the hero’s training as a royal assasin. It depicts in great accuracy and detail the relationships between the hero and those around him – various father-figures, the women in his life, his enemies, and the animals he becomes magically attached to. In a sense, it is the most “realistic” fantasy novel i’ve ever read – not because the world described in the books is realistic, but because the relationships described seem “real”: Hobb employs real feelings and gives them psychological depth, her heroes experience real love and real hate, which are often hard’ complicated, ambiguous, and have moral aspects that make them even harder. Not the adolescent clear-cut love/hate we’ve learned to expect from fantasy heroes. Hobbs heroes experience a wide range of emotions, complete with disappointment, disillusionment and acceptance – a vital part of growing up. In that sense, Hobb’s books belong to the literary tradition and genre of the Bildungsroman (a novel of formation, initiation, self-development, of training and education), of which Dickens’ “Great Expectations” is a prominent example (and indeed, while reading the farseer trilogy, you can sense the influence of Dickens on Hobb’s themes, mood, and character development – the disillusionment and acceptance element in particular).This genre is described in some cases as “an apprenticeship to life” (Assasin’s Apprentice…) and “a search for meaningful existence within society”. Hobb’s hero, Fitz, finally finds his “meaningful existence” within his society and social order by making a great sacrifice (for his loved-ones and for his king), at a great cost to himself – thats what we all do when we grow up, don’t we? that’s another aspect of Hobb’s realism – despite the final victory of the “good” in the novel, it is a bitter victory, not the superficial happy-end we know from other books. the fact that the novel is relationship-based is also reflected in the original magic-systems brilliantly devised by Hobbs for the Farseer world. It’s not the kind of magic that gives you the ability to bring down lightning or throw a fire ball. it is a communication-based magic system, based on feeling, empathy and a mutual bond (or hate and emotional abuse, when the bad guys use it), between humans, or between a human and an animal. It gives Hobbs an opportunity to use the magic as an amplifier of feelings – brilliant. I’ve read a few of the reviews by other readers and I agree that the trilogy’s end is a bit disappointing – elements of the plot are wrapped up hastily and without a satisfactory explanation. A lot of story elements are left in the dark. but the weak points of the ending concern the fantasy and plot elements of the story – which, as i already said, are not the main thing in this novel.from the emotional aspect, i think the ending is still very powerful and moving. In short, the farseer trilogy is a fantasy novel for adults. If you’re ready to commit, to experience real emotions (good and bad), you’re in for a treat. Robin Hobb’s books stand out among modern fantasy works – they are among the few which can be considered real literary efforts, not just adventure books for kids.

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  3. EMAN NEP @ 10:12 am

    Robin Hobb is a “she” not a “he”. Just wanted to clarify that right away, since I saw quite a few reviewers thinking she is male. To be honest, I made the same mistake too when I saw this book.

    Before I wrote this review I looked at other people’s reviews and I have to say that I agree with the 5 star people on some topics and I sympathize with the 1 star people on others.

    The way I see it, this book has two major strong points and one major weak point.

    WEAK POINT#1: This book is not very exciting. Honestly. Take a good, hard look at the cover art of this book. What do you see? A keep/castle, an old man, a young boy, and a dog. Exactly. If you decide to read this book I am warning you now that this is the bulk of what you will be reading about for the next 300 pages. There is one little adventure for about a chapter around page 140, but that’s all. The rest of those 300 pages is character development and training (learn how to be an assassin, learn how to use the Skill, learn how to have table-manners, learn how to tend to dogs and horses). If you’re looking for huge battle scenes or massive amounts of magic power being thrown around, look elsewhere.

    STRONG POINT#1: The character development is really good. I already told you that the story is not exciting. So why, I ask myself, were the pages flying so fast?! The characters in this book are–for the most part–believable, but most of all, likable. When I finished reading the book I really wanted to know more about certain characters (in my case, the Fitz-Molly storyline was rather interesting to me).

    STRONG POINT#2: This story, for the most part, is original and different. Really.

    In this book, you get not one, but two mentor-figures and two magical forces. No dragons, no big battles and when was the last time you read a fantasy story about a youth studying to be an assassin? Kudos to Robin Hobb for thinking outside the box.

    OVERALL: In addition to the beginning being unexciteful, I was really disappointed with Fitz’s first real assassination. But the end of this book made up for the 300 pages that just went on and on.

    I really doubt if I will read this book a second time. The very thought of having to reread 300 pages of character development (although admittedly well done) just does not appeal to me.

    But I am pretty sure I will read the next book in the series, because now that I’ve grown fond of these characters I can’t just ignore them.

    RATING: 3.75

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  4. Piotr Wilkin @ 11:22 am

    Ever since I read George Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” series (at least, what was available at the time), I was looking for some kind of “middle ground” between fun and enjoyable, light fantasy the likes of Salvatore or early Goodkind and the heavy, ambitious, but nevertheless sometimes overwhelming saga created by Martin. In Hobb’s literature, I believe I’ve found that middle ground.

    First of all, a warning. This isn’t a book that starts very fast-paced. At the start, it looks like it will develop along the ever-popular “young hero grows up, received training, becomes the most powerful wizard/fighter/whatever in the world”, but this is certainly not it. Hobb does break a lot of genre cliches in her writing – this is one of the things that really makes her works valuable.

    What Hobb has, which is also the domain of Martin’s writing and is missing from a majority of fantasy books, is an uncanny ability to create characters with a convincing psychological profile. Her characters actually feel real and unique at the same time, the title character is not the “typical fantasy assassin”, but that doesn’t make him less “flesh and blood”. On the contrary – I’d say that out of all fantasy novels I’ve read, Hoob’s characters are the most “flesh and blood” to me, surpassing even Martin.

    Then again, I promised middle ground. Hobb excels where Martin stays a bit behind – at constructing action and propelling the events ahead. Reading the book, I actually felt that there was something happening all the time, that all the events were somehow linked and actually had importance. If you manage to engage yourself in the novels, I guarantee you that you will spend many long evenings following the adventures of Fitz and company.

    There is one category of readers that won’t enjoy this book, however. Remember, this is a female writer’s work and this does show. Like in the case of Patricia McKillip’s books, you won’t get non-stop hack’n’slash here, nor tons of fireball-throwing wizard battles. If you want that kind of fantasy, switch over to Forgotten Realms, you’ll find plenty of that there (just stay clear of Baldur’s Gate!). If, however, you want a complex, action-filled, true fantasy story with convincing characters, this is a must-read.

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  5. Anonymous @ 1:34 pm

    Having read all three books in this series, I can honestly say that this is the best new fantasy series I’ve read since Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince series. Robin Hobb (pseudonym?) has created a truely unique set of characters that have very rich qualities. Her unlikely hero is utterly fascinating and her use of magic (the wit) is a great new spin for this genre. I would heartily recommend this book for the following reasons:

    1. Its stunning descriptions. 2. New & interesting magic. 3. Very vivid characters that act in very human (i.e. non-steriotypical) ways. 4. The whole spin on assasination being a profession is totally cool. 5. This is the first magic based book that I’ve read in some time that does not use the same old magic and monsters.

    In summary, if you liked “The Hobbit”, “The Dragon Prince”, “Wizard’s First Rule”, L. E. Modesitt’s “Recluse” series, etc., you will probably love Robin Hobb’s “Assasins” book. I know I did!

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