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.
©1999 Robin Hobb (P)2010 Tantor
“Intriguing, controlled, and remarkably assured...at once satisfyingly self-contained yet leaving plenty of scope for future extensions and embellishments.” (Kirkus)
I'm going to be suffering from withdraw for the next 2 months while I wait for the next book in this series to come out in audio... I've been looking for a good series to start with this author, but the only one audible has had in the past is the Soldier Son series and by all reports it isn't her best work. After reading this I think it likely I will pick that series up anyway, since even this author's sub-par work is still likely to be quite good.
This book is not heavy on fight scenes, and the main character isn't even that good in a face-to-face fight when it happens. Indeed, for an assassin he manages to kill and wound very few people, and is generally quite nice and likable. The thing that makes this story so excellent is it's world-building and attention to detail, and its ability to build and sustain tension. The plot moves from point to point and as one tension eases, another takes up the slack, drawing you constantly onward and never producing a dull moment. The characters are so well done that I can think of real people who have less personality. I can see how the lack of action might deter some people, but if you enjoy detailed world-building and excellent writing, this is a book you are sure to enjoy.
Another person mentioned the "Night Angel" series, which I have personally read and enjoyed - this however, is the EXACT opposite take on a fantasy assassin series in every way I can think of (and is written far better). Also, I don't know what it is about this reader and assassin books, but he is well suited to it.
You might love this book if you like lots of character development and dialogue. I thought I liked character development, but after this book, I guess I realize that I don't.
This book was well written in my opinion. The story was good and the characters were believable. The world was developed. But for me, there was not enough tension in the plot. The character development was not enough to hold my interest. I was interested enough to keep listening, but I will not get the second book.
I don't know what to say about this book. It was not fast paced nor very exciting most of the time. The setting was pretty typical of the fantasy genre and the world building wasn't the greatest that I've read. This book feels like a set up to a trilogy where we are learning the background story of a few chars. It's essentially a story about a bastard boy, his mentors, and his dogs.
So why the 5 stars? I just loved this book. I was invested in the chars and cared about what happened to them. The friendships and bonds felt so real. The one downside is the one dimensional aspect of the "evil" characters. I was able to get past this easily, though because the story itself is strong. This is one of the books where you just enjoy the journey the author puts in front of you. I downloaded the second book within seconds of finishing this. Not because of some contrived cliffhanger but because I just couldn't wait to see where the story would take me.
Audiobook Junkie... Love all types of Science Fiction
I have listened to the whole series. Overall, I liked the world Robin Hobb created but the characters were a little frustrating at times. Also, the conclusion of this series wasn't that great. However, it did wrap things up for the most part and I felt compelled to keep buying into each book with my credits to get a conclusion. But it is really hard to sympathize with the main characters motivations and understand his loyalty rulers of this society. I have mixed feelings about some of the characters too. I just felt the story could have been written better and I think generally that is my opinion about some other Robin Hobb works I have listened to as well.
Despite those complaints I would still say this is worth a listen, but be prepared for a long story. This is a series about a boy coming of age and being outcast because of his blood. There is a mentor component and a struggle to find ones identity. There is also magic and adventure in the later books.
This is a solid high (but not epic) fantasy that has garnered quite a following, and not without good reason. It is very well developed and written. I wouldn't say there are a lot of new ideas here; the magic system is pretty subdued and the plot is all political intrigue. The biggest thing for me to get used to was the naming system; characters are named after traits they are desired to have, such as Chivalry and Regal and Verity.
Many reviewers have commented, and it is indeed quite true. This book is boring at times, even in audio. It's not that it is poorly written or a well developed plot. It just simply isn't that exciting. You have to be willing to follow the story of yet another hero who starts out as a punt, ignorant boy who has much to learn about the world. For some people this probably never gets old, but I prefer authors such as Brandon Sanderson whose heroes already start out fully developed.
Most of the main character's problems would have been solved or never would have occurred if people would simple hag told him what he needed to koror that they assumed he already knew. Indeed, the main character's ignorance seems to be the main antagonist for much of this story.
The narrator did a great job and fit the part perfectly; no complaints there at all.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
Don't tell my wife, but I have a crush on Robin Hobb. She is by far my favorite fantasy writer. I read this book several years ago and loved it. When Audible put it on sale, I could not resist
This is a coming of age story and a world building book. The book starts when Fitz is only six years old. At the time he has no name. His mother never named the bastard of a royal prince. We are witness to and feel for the main character Fitz, like in most RH books, he is missed understood by almost everyone, but not as misunderstood as he thinks. RH builds characters better then anyone, so if you like character driven stories read any Robin Hobb book. This book also has some good dog characters.
I would suggest though, that you start with the "Liveship Traders" trilogy. It is by far the best, has lots more magic and Dragons. I usually don't care for a whole lot of magic, but no one is as imaginative as RH and the world she builds in Liveship Traders is unmatched.
It would be great if Audible could come out with Robin Hobb's earlier books that she wrote as Megan Lindholm. I would buy all of them Audible.
For a trilogy with the word 'Assassin' in the title, it's quite deceptive. The hero is whiny and lacks courage, and the fact that he's an assassin has very little to do with the story, nor is he good at being an assassin. The story is decent but tends to drag on at times, with the hero constantly weary and in a state of woe. There are many good characters in this book, but the hero is the least inspiring. I would have given 2.5 stars if possible.
Average and predictable.
Decent character voices.
I would rent it, but not pay theatre price.
Be prepared to constantly expect something around the corner that never comes.
Overall, I was very much unimpressed by this book, and its sequels.
A friend (ahem, former friend) recommended this trilogy of books as a "great modern, fantasy series." So I'm ashamed to say that I've read the entire trilogy. I was promised each book gets better and better. They did not.
I'll say this for Robin Hobb, she writes beautifully and sets a grand stage.
...in regard to execution, however....
I'm sorry to say that the story is simply bland. We have an assassin, exquisitely trained, with little to lose, who does so very, very little! Virtually nothing!
In addition, you'll be presented with an ever-present storyline where the protagonist and his allies encounter obvious opposition and betrayal from among their own - and do nothing! The story paints the protagonists as perfectly equipped to deal harsh justice to the antagonists, but they do nothing over the course of three books!
'Suspension of disbelief' can only be applied to plot mechanisms, not the human nature of the characters.
I recommend you give this one a pass unless you're stranded on a desert island.
I listen to a bit of everything. Mostly Fantasy and paranormal romance with my wife. Along with mysteries/thrillers, even some sci-fi.
I really like how Fitz and Chade are portrayed. Even the father figure Burrish also is a very interesting character and one who gives a different perspective, since we're in Fitz's head the whole story, we get to see how Fitz's actions are received by a parental authority.
I like the book overall, but I do have some problems with it. It has one point of view character in Fitz, and while this is OK, it does cause for parts of the story to drag on a little, mostly during the beginning. It can be a little disorienting. The villain is pretty one dimensional, but the story is weaved quite well, that it isn't the big negative that it tends to be in weaker stories. There's a good variety of characters, but the villains are villains, and that is one of the biggest issues in this book. They're too one dimensional.
I think Ms. Hobb tells a unique story with cliche's that we've seen before, but she puts a good spin on them. I am looking forward to the next chapter in Fitz's story. I like the fact that this book could be read as both a stand alone and as part of a trilogy. It's a trait that we're not given a lot with too many stories ending on cliff-hangers.
I know I was pretty negative on the villains and it does bother me, but I am generally interested in the world that's been created and the characters that live there.
The story ideas and concepts in the book where interesting and fun, and my imagination started going crazy with possibilities when they were introduced. The author never seemed to bring all the pieces together to make the story engaging enough. Many of the main characters were easy to forget and I felt a sense of relief the book was over instead of a longing to know more about what will happen next in their life.
The reading of the book is very well done. I found the voice, accent, energy, and pacing to be very pleasant.
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