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Review of Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Review of Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin HobbAssassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Series: Farseer Trilogy #1
on 2002-11-05
Genres: Epic, Fantasy
Pages: 435

Author WebsiteAmazonKoboiBooksBarnes&Noble

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 as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly 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.   Praise for Robin Hobb and Assassin’s Apprentice   “Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb’s books are diamonds in a sea of zircons.”—George R. R. Martin   “A gleaming debut in the crowded field of epic fantasies . . . a delightful take on the powers and politics behind the throne.”—Publishers Weekly   “This is the kind of book you fall into, and start reading slower as you get to the end, because you don’t want it to be over.”—Steven BrustFrom the Paperback edition.

First and foremost, Hobb has a way with words. There were certain scenes that made me ache with sympathy. That was my favorite part about this book.

This is definitely a character driven book. If you boil down what happened action wise, you’d have pretty much nothing until about the last quarter of the book. I love characters. It’s why I read, honestly. Sure, fascinating places are awesome, great action scenes glue me to a page, and a mysterious storyline keeps me interested. But characters? Well, those are the real beauty to me. If the character is amazing, I’m not reading, I’m there with them. So, as far as characters go, I absolutely loved Fitz… but… I’m not character crazy for him. I didn’t figure out why `until I was almost done.

I’m going to go off a bit here on comparing this to some other books, so please forgive me. Assassin’s Apprentice is basically Fitz writing about his early life. So, I’m going to compare it to Blood Song and The Name of the Wind (two of my favorite books). I was character crazy in both of those books, and the writing (especially The Name of the Wind) was stunning. So why wasn’t I like that with this book? After all, the writing was beautiful, and we stayed with the same character. Well, for me, it boils down to one simple truth: Fitz wasn’t immersed into his story 100% of the time. Meaning, there were sections where we got a recap of the last few months and/or years and Fitz was doing simply that: summarizing for a few paragraphs or sometimes even pages. Whereas, with the other books, the story stayed close to our protagonist throughout. If there was a summary, it involved them on some personal level or it was merely a tiny paragraph. But what I remember most, was the fact that the stories kept close—very close—to the protagonist. It kept me firmly grounded in the story. In this book, the recaps yanked me out while I was told about raids, or politics, or a summary of what the townsfolk were saying. Rarely did Fitz place any emotional response on these facts. Each time I read it, I was pulled away from the story for a newsflash, then plunged back into it. Once I got past these summarized parts, I was engrossed and the scenes written of specific events in Fitz’s life were amazing. If the entire book had been as such, I probably would not have been able to put it down. However, each time I saw a summary coming, I had no problem setting it aside.

What I loved immensely was the Old Wit. Of course I did because it involved animals, and I love it when a book involves animals. It was handled brilliantly and added another layer of hardship and joy for Fitz. The scenes written about it were some of my favorites and the ones that really pulled at my heart. Loved it!

The world was nice and solid, nothing crazy, but done to a very satisfactory level. I didn’t feel inundated with political structure so it allowed us to stay focused on Fitz and his story. Very nicely done.

The supporting set of characters were interesting and, for me, developed well. Burrich was one of my favorites, as much as I wanted to hit him sometimes. He was a rough man thrown into a rough situation, and I thought he was easily misunderstood.

Overall, I’ll definitely be picking up the next book, but I might take a bit of time. I’ve already recommended it to my sister. I hope with the next book, I can became a little character crazy. We’ve got our base built, so perhaps the summaries will be fewer and I can become fully entranced in the story. If nothing else, I just want to read more of her wonderful manipulation of words. Seriously loved her writing.

P.S. On a complete side note, I absolutely love her outlook on star rating.

About Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb is the author of three well-received fantasy trilogies: The Farseer Trilogy (Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin’s Quest), The Liveship Traders Trilogy (Ship of Magic, Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny) and the Tawny Man Trilogy (Fool’s Errand, Golden Fool, and Fool’s Fate) Her current work in progress is entitled Shaman’s Crossing. Robin Hobb lives and works in Tacoma, Washington, and has been a professional writer for over 30 years.

In addition to writing, her interests include gardening, mushrooming, and beachcombing. She and her husband Fred have three grown children and one teenager, and three grand-children.

She also writes as Megan Lindholm, and works under that name have been finalists for the Hugo award, the Nebula Award, and the Endeavor award. She has twice won an Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Readers’ Award.

2 thoughts on “Review of Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

  1. Morris Dancer (@MorrisF1) says:

    I shan’t spoil it, but this series is one of my favourites. Very emotive writing indeed that left a lasting impression upon me.

    • booksbylkevans says:

      I will definitely, eventually, devour everything she writes, regardless of the story premise. Much like you, her way with words has captivated me. She’s damn talented.


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