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Assassin's Apprentice

Assassin's Apprentice

Written by Robin Hobb

Narrated by Paul Boehmer


Assassin's Apprentice

Written by Robin Hobb

Narrated by Paul Boehmer

ratings:
4.5/5 (360 ratings)
Length:
17 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 3, 2010
ISBN:
9781400184347
Format:
Audiobook

Description

With unforgettable characters, a sweeping backdrop, and passionate storytelling, this is a fantasy debut to rival that of Robert Jordan. Filled with adventure and bloodshed, pageantry and piracy, mystery and menace, Assassin's Apprentice is the story of a royal house and the young man who is destined to chart its course through tempests of change.

Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal household by his father's gruff stableman. An outcast whose existence has forced his father to abdicate his claim on the throne, Fitz is ignored by all royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in the young man's blood is a heritage of magic, the talent called the Skill, as well as another, even more mysterious ability.

As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts and leave behind the zombie-like husks of the townspeople to prowl the countryside, Fitz is growing toward manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission, a mission that poses as much a threat to himself as it does for his target-for Fitz is a threat to the throne...but he may also be the key to the survival of the kingdom.
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 3, 2010
ISBN:
9781400184347
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Robin Hobb is one of the world’s finest writers of epic fiction. She was born in California in 1952 but raised in Alaska. She raised her family, ran a smallholding, delivered post to her remote community, all at the same time as writing stories and novels. She succeeded on all fronts, raising four children and becoming an internationally best-selling writer. She lives in Tacoma, Washington State.


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4.4
360 ratings / 131 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    This was a really good introduction to Robin Hobbs and the world she has created. The characters are well-formed and the world is richly detailed. There were moments that took my breath away and others that left me completely gutted. I’m looking forward to continuing the series. Hobbs has a beautiful, descriptive writing style and I look forward to more adventures with Fitz.
  • (5/5)
    Great book. I really was mesmerized. The narration and writing is superb. Only problem is the ending - too abrupt with no good resolution. Otherwise would be 5 stars.
  • (4/5)
    Read the full review here.As usual with Robin Hobb, this story is rich in detail and has empathetic, believable characters. The politics of the world were clear and the sense of place was strong. Reading about Fitz as he grew up and slowly found acceptance within the royal household was fascinating for me since life in the keep is described in great depth during this time.Fitz is a great character - he is sharp, witty and stubborn, and has a knack for getting himself into trouble. It was very nice to read an intelligent character, who worked things out before I did. Fitz recognised that he had a better chance of survival as the royal assassin than if he had refused to be part of the royal household. I found his initial distrust of King Shrewd and crown-prince Verity and the slow growth of trust between them to be realistic and well executed.Robin Hobb’s books are some of the best fantasy novels I have ever read, and I enjoyed Assassin’s Apprentice immensely. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy and finding out how Fitz copes as the royal assassin.
  • (4/5)
    Assassin's Apprentice is the first book in the Farseer Trilogy, a introduction to the world of the Six Duchies, and to the story of Fitz Farseer.Now, this book begins with young Fitz being left at the gates of a fort by his grandfather, claiming that his father should be the one providing for him. As it turned out, Fitz was the bastard son of Prince Chivalry, King-in-waiting. He is left in the care of Burrich, Chivalry's hound and stable master, until it is someone decides what is to be done with him.But due to political intricacies of court life and throne heirs, Fitz remains in the care of Burrich, who, to be honest, only knows how to raise animals. So Fitz grows up among hounds and horses, as well as the rascals on the town below the Castle. And it is with the animals that he discovers his talent that is The Wit, which allows him to feel and communicate with animals.This is just the beginning of the story, there are a lot of sub-plots, and master plots, and minor plots in this book. As Fitz grew older, the King Shrewd takes an interest on him while, shrewdly, teaching his younger son, Prince Regal, how best to deal with bastards in the family. And this is the way Fitz becomes an apprentice to the king's assassin, Chade. All this happens while the Six Duchies are under constant threat of barbarians, especially the Red-Ship Raiders.There is a lot in this book that was good, or nice. For instance, the fact that the King and Princes have names that are qualities is not simply coincidence. In this world, it is believed that the name has a power, and so nobles are named with qualities one might desire on them. And, for most part it works. King Shrewd is shrewd, Prince Verity looks like he is true, and Prince Regal is very regal, no doubt. Prince Chivalry however I didn't get to see, and I would have loved to, because from the general feeling of the Six Duchies, he was a fine man, and his part of the story always screamed at me as important. Lady Patience is the one whose name missed the mark, in my opinion.But back to the book. I liked it, but I felt it was too much of an introduction, and there were too many plots and sub-plots [etc.]. Not that this is bad, but there were some of them that were boring, others that I felt that should have lead somewhere by the end of the book, and one that I believe happened way to fast to my liking, because I enjoyed it a lot.And part with my problem with this sub-plots had to do with how much I liked each character. Unfortunately, Fitz, the main character, never really clicked with me. He is not a bad character, but just not exactly what I like. So, I never really cared about his expeditions to town and his romantic woes. When he interacted with the other characters, then I liked. Chade and The Fool were my favourites, both shady characters, just the way I like.And, as I said, this is just an introduction to the trilogy, but as such, it is a good one. I expect that the next book to shows a lot more about The Red-Ship raiders and their attacks, as well as how Fitz grows up in (the backstages) of the court.Also at Spoilers and Nuts
  • (5/5)
    Lucky me to have downloaded Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb on my Kindle for free. Yes, I'm addicted to the free books offered on the Kindle, but the 'lucky' part is that this book is actually good and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it; in fact I plan to read the whole series and possibly everything Robin Hobb ever wrote. (This, I am sure, was the diabolical reasoning behind the free offering, like giving a person one M&M knowing that they will certainly eat more...tricksy, tricksy.)

    The story begins with a grandfather dumping his six year old grandson at the king's castle because he can no longer afford to feed and clothe the child, who is apparently the bastard son of the prince first in line to the throne. The book is the story of the boy, who they call Fitz (which means illegitimate son) and how he grows up in the castle keep, not quite royalty but not quite commoner. He is taught many skills by many experts, one of which (you guessed it) is how to be a subtle assassin. The assassin's trade deals with poison's and herbology as opposed to the skills he learns with weapons.

    But Fitz has a two unique abilities of his own that set him apart from everybody else. First, he is very powerful but very unstable with the 'Skill,' a form of telepathy that runs in the genes of some royalty. Once honed, the Skill can be used to influence what people think (for example, I could touch your mind without you even knowing it and have you bring me a bag of M&Ms). Fitz's other ability is the 'Wit' which is extremely shunned so he has to keep it a secret from everyone. Wit is not only the ability to connect minds with animals, but to possibly bond with one of them, thus eventually turning your mind into something much more savage and animalistic.

    The story unfolds as Fits learns all these things while he grows up in the midst of royal intrigue and scheming. He learns what it truly means to be a 'king's man' and all the sacrifices that entails. One of my favorite characters in the book is the Fool, who is the least foolish person in the book. I will leave it up to you to discover the meaning behind "Fitz fixes feists fits. Fat suffices." I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.
  • (4/5)
    I don't really know what to say about this book. I enjoyed reading it, but I cannot really find words to express what I liked about it, or what I disliked. When I think about this book, I cannot really find any specific reasons for why it is four stars, instead of three or five.

    This is very frustrating to me, as I like to know why I liked or did not like a book, but for this one, it just seems simply impossible. I just spent 15 minutes trying to express my opinion about the book, and came up with nothing. So I'll just leave it at this, and see if it gets better with the next book.
  • (5/5)
    This was a great introduction to a new world and a new character in Fitzchivalry Farseer. It was good to learn about his early life, be introduced to a new set of characters and the problems affecting the Six Duchies. This book built in tension as it progressed and some heart racing moments towards the end of the book. A good fantasy novel, with an element of the supernatural, and I look forward to returning to the Six Duchies soon. Loved Molly, and hope we have more of her in book 2.
  • (4/5)
    I loved it! This is my first Robin Hobb experience. I have ordered another one. Good stuff!
  • (4/5)
    Fitz is the illegitimate son of the late Prince Chivalry, raised on the fringes of the court, and apprentice to the royal assassin by the secret arrangement of King Shrewd. Royal bastards are always in a difficult position, and Fitz has a dangerous secret: in addition to the royal magic of the mind-bending Skill, he also possesses another magic, the despised and banned Wit, which honestly appears to be the same as the Skill, except it works on animals rather than people. Growing to manhood around the Court, he has to find for himself a safe path through the conflicts between the royal heir Prince Verity, his unSkilled younger half-brother Regal, and the Skill Master Galen, not to mention the attacks of the Red Ship barbarians and the dangers of the Forged ones, robbed of their human qualities by the barbarians and turned loose again to prey on their own countrymen.

    And of course, as a royal bastard, Fitz can't altogether escape suspicion that he might himself be a threat to the throne.

    Sent on his first major mission, as part of the expedition to bring back the mountain princess whom Prince Regal has negotiated for to be his brother Prince Verity's bride, Fitz is riding into a trap intended to bring down him, his friends, and one of the royal brothers.

    Despite occasionally tripping over the names, a mix of virtues and traits never used as names in English, mixed with utterly mundane, ordinary names like Mary and Tom, this has the feel of a lived-in culture, and the characters, especially Fitz but not only him, have real problems to struggle with. It's an extra bonus that the dogs, most notably Smithy and Nosy, also feel real, and their personalities and loyalty add an extra dimension to the book. This is a very nicely done fantasy, with a suspenseful plot that draws you in.

    Note to Becki: If you decide to read a fantasy novel--not this one. It breaks your rule.

    Recommended, for everyone except Becki, who knows who she is.

    I borrowed this book from a friend.
  • (4/5)
    Though I am not a huge fan of fantasy, I enjoyed reading this book. Hobb's writing style and her character development are both quite good and that is what kept me turning pages. Even the silly character names, (King Shrewd, Prince Chivalry, Prince Regal, etc), didn't bother me as much as I had expected they might, (I think I actually rolled my eyes when I first saw the name 'Prince Chivalry' O_o).Probably my biggest complaint about your typical fantasy novel is the lack of development of the 'bad guy' characters. They are often simple caricatures of bad people with a distinct lack of grey areas. To an extent, this holds true for this novel as well. However, the group of characters that are more central to the story, (Fitz, Chade, Burrich, etc), do exhibit actual human traits and inner conflicts and that saved the book and will get me to pick up the next volume soon.
  • (5/5)
    This is the first of nine volumes (three trilogies) set in Robin Hobb's fantasy world. I preferred the first six volumes but all are worth your time. This author is now writing the Dragonwild series which I would guess is also in this time/place but can't verify yet. The other volumes are:
    (2) Assassin's Quest
    (3) Royal Assassin
    Liveship traders trilogy
    (4) Ship of Magic
    (5) Mad Ship
    (6) Ship of Destiny
    Tawny man trilogy
    (7) Fool's Errand
    (8) Golden Fool
    (9) Fool's Fate
  • (4/5)
    Another book that made me cry and got me totally lost within it. Classic fantasy with a grim very edge to it. Defiantly not a kids book, though our main character starts out as a young child.
  • (4/5)
    well I certainly cannot wait to read the next one. I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to see what happens to Fitz next.
  • (4/5)
    That was a fun story that had me turning pages - especially in the second half of the book. This is a classic fantasy story, with a bit of magic mixed into a medieval world setting. I thought it took just a bit too long to really get going, but I couldn't stop turning pages toward the end. The story itself wrapped up nicely, but obviously left enough to continue what has become quite a long series. Looking forward to the next one.
  • (5/5)
    Do we call books published in 1995 "classic" now? It's only 23 years ago...but it feels like a century. One worthwhile aspect of fantasy novels is that there is less risk of them becoming "dated" as science fiction can, and in Assassin's Apprentice, Hobb remains relevant in spades. This is classic old-skool fantasy in that it's not experimental, it's a traditional story, but one written with all the hallmarks of a great story. Complexity, drama and suspense, emotion and believable characters.Assassin's Apprentice is told in first person, yet it's a story told with urgency by the central character seemingly in his old age. This does assure us that his character won't die during the story, but there are still plenty of opportunities for him to come to disaster as his country is at war with coastal pirates, and he's embroiled in court intrigue that could lead to his kingdom collapsing. Fitz as he's called, is the bastard son of one of the three princes of the king, and he receives the brunt of prejudice from many nobles for being illegitimate. Even so, he becomes an asset to the king who assigns him to be trained as an assassin. He also learns rudimentary magic skills, which apparently runs in the blood of the royalty. Within the context of the first book of a trilogy, we have magic of a fairly focused kind, a sort of amped up telepathy. Those trained in "the Skill" have the ability to communicate over distances, to control or affect thoughts and emotions, and even drain an enemy entirely of energy to death.The story follows Fitz as he grows up from childhood to adolescence--a very clever and sensitive boy yet often naive and abused. He's caught up by forces he can't control, and must grow up fast, making life-and-death decisions based on attempting to understand the motives and behavior of others. We grow to care for him over the course of the story. Hobb explores themes of power, prejudice and social class structures as we barrel forward toward a dramatic climax.The story is set roughly in a medieval time-period, and not only does Hobb achieve a highly convincing and detailed rendering of the world itself, the character voices feel authentic and convincing. If you enjoy fantasy, then Assassin's Apprentice is absolutely a recommended work. I'll be getting books two and three in the future.
  • (4/5)
    I decided to reread this because I ended up abruptly abandoning the audiobook of Royal Assassin when I quit my job to work at home and no longer had a commute.

    I think I enjoyed it even more as a book than I did as an audiobook. Hobb does a fantastic job of world-building here, and Fitz is a great character. I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series.

    Highly recommended, especially if you like fantasy but find Game of Thrones too dark.

    ---------

    Original review (August 2010):

    I really enjoyed this, almost as much as I enjoyed George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones series. Bonus: this series is all done, so I don't have to worry that there will be no resolution. Fitz is a great character.

    Note that I didn't actually read this, I listened to it during my ridiculously long commute for several weeks. The reader is really very good. I'm looking forward to starting Royal Assassin when I go back to work on Tuesday.
  • (5/5)
    I've heard great things about Robin Hobb and the Farseer trilogy, and I was finally able to snag a cheap copy of the first book. Assassin's Apprentice tells the story of FitzChivalry, the bastard son of Prince Chivalry, who is brought up by the royal family. He has no real status, but King Shrewd takes an interest in him and trains him to be an assassin and a King's Man.Assassin's Apprentice is a pretty straightforward first book in a fantasy series. It's a coming of age story, about Fitz discovering his place, learning about life and having a few adventures. However, the writing and the descriptions of the world and characters make it very compelling. The magic systems are also really interesting - there are two major systems: the Wit and the Skill. The Wit is much despised and considered perverse, whereas the Skill is the magic of the Farseer line. As a bastard, Fitz has both. It's a tumultuous time in the empire, with barbaric Red Ship Raiders harrying the coast of the Six Duchies, and royals and nobles plotting within the keep walls.I don't mean to imply that the book is entirely predictable - there are definitely a few tropes that are broken. Fitz is an assassin, not a hero. He is quiet and in the shadows, and he gets the job done. He's far more likely to use poison than a sword (or magic.)The supporting characters are really well-drawn. Burrich, the loyal servant to Prince Chivalry and father-figure to Fitz, the lady Patience, Chade the assassin and even Hands the stable boy. We get to know everyone really well as the book goes on, and like them all.I always like a healthy dose of political intrigue, and Assassin's Apprentice does not disappoint. Even though Fitz has been trained since he was young, it's still very interesting to read about his various missions, and see how chance encounters can have far reaching effects in the empire.I won't say any more for fear of spoilers, but this is definitely a must read!
  • (2/5)
    Aggressively middling.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this story; it kept taking unexpected twists and wouldn't do what I wanted it to do or go... First in the trilogy - I will be actively seeking the remaining books. I really enjoyed Fitz and the Skill and Wit and ability to Repel. Very interesting. Still uncertain about Forging...
  • (4/5)
    Good start to what looks to be an interesting series. Very interesting title character in a small but sufficiently complex society.
  • (4/5)
    This book has been on my to-read list since it came out in 2002, but I was in college and working retail at the time, so I just had no money and even less time to read it. I finally got around to it almost 10 years later.

    Totally worth the wait. I am looking forward to reading the next one.

    A few thoughts: I almost put this book down. I cannot stand bad things happening to animals, and there were two instances that made me question if I could read any further. Kill the humans off all you want - I've read GRRM; I'm used to it. But touch an animal, especially a pet, and I will hurt you. I managed to get past the issue, but it was close. I'll not give anything else away since we get into spoilers, but I forgive the author. The two incidences were HUGE keys to the story, and that fact did a lot to redeem the actions.

    I love Fitz. I love Burrich. I love Chade. And I totally love Verity now. The rest of the characters I could take or leave, and really, mostly leave. Some of them were designed to be hateful bastards (irony: the main character IS a bastard, but he's nice). Others were just scenery. I wish we had had more time to explore the mountain people because they seemed really interesting, and their culture was far more interesting than the standard Medieval fare from the Six Duchies.

    The concepts of Wit and Skill were different. I'm curious about why the latter is accepted but the former reviled. I would like to see those delved into a lot more in the next book, especially the Wit portion. And I'd like a way better picture of what is up with Burrich. He's a mystery, that man. A very complex, fascinating mystery.

    I think the other thing that annoyed me in this book was the trope of "old man writing his memoir". But to be honest, it mostly annoyed me because it's completely unobtrusive except in the prologue and epilogue, and then it just feels unnecessary. I get that histories at the beginning of each chapter are a part of that other story line, but I didn't really feel like they were as I was reading them. They just felt like a useful way to give some background. It was only the scene with Old Fitz at the end that I even remembered that trope was involved.

    All in all, I really liked the book. On to the next!
  • (5/5)
    very interesting style for a fantasy book - written in the first person. You feel all of main character's doubts and hopes, but also feel his pain much stronger. This trilogy was recommended to me while I was waiting for the next installments of Wheel of Time and Song of Fire and Ice. I will definitely be checking out other Robin Hobb series.
  • (3/5)
    Assassin's Apprentice reminded me of Mary Stewart's The Crystal Cave. Both novels begin when their protagonist (and first person narrator) is five years old, both of those protagonists are bastards of royal descent who go through their childhood not knowing their father and both of them have some unusual talents.Fitz's story captured my interest immediately. However, this is not a happy book, because Fitz doesn't have anyone who is on his side unconditionally. Except for his dog. And his dog isn't able to be there for him 24/7. Unhappy things happen.I was not happy about this.Why on earth did I think I would like reading a book with that title? I asked myself, even though those Fitz being an assassin's apprentice was the cause for very little of the misery.I want to read the next book, because I'm invested in what happens to poor Fitz, and there are other characters I like, but I suspect there's just more unhappiness in store.
  • (4/5)
    Hobb's stories remind me quite a lot of Melanie Rawn and Janny Wurts - long, dramatic fantasy with a strong focus on characterization and interpersonal relationships. These books don't aim to be Great Literature - they aim to be immersive, enjoyable adventures, where you leave feeling that you really know the people you've been spending time with...

    This book tells of the coming of age of FitzChivalry - dropped off at the castle as a nameless bastard, the royal family quickly believes the tale that he is the son of Prince Chivalry due to the family resemblance. But it is left for the stablemaster, Burrich, to raise the boy. What place does an unacknowledged bastard have? Part of the royal family, yet not... Secretly, he is apprenticed to the king's poisoner, and learns the ways to kill for his king...
    It's difficult to summarize the plot of a story that depends mostly on the growth of relationships over years... but there's magic, plots, treachery... and, of course, assassinations...
    Hobb also does an excellent job of ending this book on a satisfyingly conclusive note while simultaneously leaving enough unfinished threads to make a reader eager for the next book...
  • (4/5)
    Assassin's Apprentice follows the story of Fitz, the bastard son of Prince Chivalry, as he grows up on the edges of the royal court. Mostly seen as an outcast, King Shrewd has him apprenticed to the court assassin and he has ability with the Skill, a type of magic, that needs to be trained. Raiders begin to savage the kingdom's coast causing turmoil with its citizens and there are plots within the court itself. Fitz is sent on a dangerous mission that may be the key to keeping everything from falling apart.I have no idea why it took me so long to get to this book. It has been on the shelf for going on three years now. It was quite an enjoyable read and I like Hobb's writing style. It flowed better for me than the Liveship Trader novels (also excellent, just different). Now I need to figure out where I put the other two books!
  • (4/5)
    3.75 stars. A good, interesting start to this series, but it took me a while to get into it. Though I enjoyed it, the pacing was often a bit off, and I'm still trying to decide what the actual plot of the book was. More than anything it seemed to just be... the beginning.
  • (5/5)
    Well, this is one fantasy that is now a personal yardstick for measuring others! Describing the plot/characters/world doesn't convey what a good read this really was -- definitely a combination of excellent writing and characters that stay with you hauntingly while waiting next books in series.
  • (2/5)
    Based on many of the reviews that I read about this book, I had lofty expectations, but I finished the story feeling completely dissatisfied. The plot took too long to develop and placed far too much emphasis on mind-control and telepathic powers for my liking. Certain elements of the story I liked but not enough to outweigh the negatives.
  • (4/5)
    Fitz is 6 when his grandfather dumps him with his uncle Prince Verity Farseer, second in line for the throne. His very existence shakes the foundations of the Six Duchies kingdom and his life is as far from easy as you can get. As a main character Fitz is a depressive, annoying person who I just wanted to slap on a regular basis, but I still needed to know how things turned out for him. A captivating start to the Farseer books and my favourite series - I keep coming back to them over and over again.
  • (5/5)
    Robin Hobb is one of my favorite authors, her characters are intriguing, the world she creates are more then plausible, and she creates an enjoyable, fun read.