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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

“Intriguing, controlled, and remarkably assured...at once satisfyingly self-contained yet leaving plenty of scope for future extensions and embellishments.” ( Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,244
  • 4 Stars
    2,546
  • 3 Stars
    867
  • 2 Stars
    218
  • 1 Stars
    115

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,926
  • 4 Stars
    2,045
  • 3 Stars
    666
  • 2 Stars
    131
  • 1 Stars
    81

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,785
  • 4 Stars
    2,036
  • 3 Stars
    754
  • 2 Stars
    191
  • 1 Stars
    110
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

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.

68 of 75 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not a waste of 83 hours...just the 60 I spent.

I am 3/4 of the way through the 3rd book of this series, and can say one thing with certainty.

Fitz Chivalry is an idiot.

Seriously. I just finished a part in the book where, again, I was yelling at the moron protagonist to get his head out of his backside and see what the heck was going on. There have been at least half a dozen points in this story where I was doing the same thing. But this particular time really has me irritated. It's to the point I can't root for this imbecile any longer. I am a full work week and a half into this story, and I don't know if I can finish it.

The story is told from his perspective. So other than the historical information presented at the beginning of each chapter, Fitz knows everything you know. Yet the most simple deductions regarding several situations he encounters are completely lost to him. Some he figures out in a few 'pages.' Others take him a full book before he puts it together. Long or short, you'll be screaming at him like I do to get a freaking clue.

And this character was trained by the master assassin to observe and deduce? The seven duchies are in a heap of hurt, then.

Or is the idiot in this story Robin Hobb, who can't move the story along without turning his protagonist stupid for a short time in order to create a plot device?

I enjoyed the first book enough to spend a credit on the second. And was interested in the story enough to spend a credit on the third book. But if I had never bothered with this trilogy, that would have been fine.

And I am seriously considering giving up on it now. This latest idiotic move by Fitz hasn't even been 'revealed' for certain yet, but it is painfully obvious to the reader. The fact that it isn't obvious to Fitz just makes me want to give up on him.

Save yourself 83 hours and choose a different book.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • ORANGE PARK, FLORIDA, United States
  • 03-12-13

Kept waiting for something to happen

Any additional comments?

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.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Don't tell my wife

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.

53 of 61 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • JoR
  • S.F. Utah
  • 03-05-11

Painfully slow

I gave this book three stars because it was written well, and the main character was interesting. However, it moved so slow that I literally had to pause it for a few days to forget my boredom. Absolutely nothing happened of importance until the last hour or two, and what did happen was so laughably small that I wouldn't have believed it if someone told me about it. I love fantasy but regret spending a credit on this one. If you want good fantasy, try George R.R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie, Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, or David Farland.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • Louisville, KY, United States
  • 12-18-11

Well written, but too slow for me

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.

27 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great 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.

35 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • chris
  • Kelowna, BC, Canada
  • 12-01-12

Diary of a Wimpy Assassin

I ended up buying all three books, and I enjoyed them, but it was really hard to like this hero. He is not much of an assassin. The only assassinations he does are by poisoning and those are mostly zombies, and he feels guilty about it. He kills in self defense and feels guilty about it. He doesn't take out the really bad people, even though everyone knows they are the really bad people and he would have saved thousands of lives and endless suffering if he had poisoned them too, because of some promise he made... but mostly because it would end the story too soon.

He has magic ability he doesn't want to use and doubts himself constantly and really hates himself... but ends up saving the kingdom anyway... and gets little credit for it. He spends a large chunk of the third book on a useless quest, and all the while he is thinking (and I was thinking) this is a bad idea. And it was.

Conan he is not. He is more like Conan's half-witted baby sister.

Despite all that, the plot was good, the world was rich, and the narration was very good. There is magic and herbology and animal kinship woven in here. I enjoyed it overall. I just wish the main character had more backbone.

49 of 63 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Really wanted to like it

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I listened to the entire trilogy, and was met with dissapointment at the end of each book. The story was interesting enough to pull me in, but overall, the main character just made it a doozy. This series had all the makings of a really fantastic story, but I felt like the main character was just victimizing himself the entire time. With each new book, the plot would thicken and I would think "well maybe in this book he'll mature, or his character will grow," but it never happend. The end of the third book ended so abruptly, I felt like the author just got bored with the story and gave up. With how detailed the entire series was, I was expecting a more fantastic ending, but the character, his general attitude throughout the entire series, and how his life turned out was just super depressing. It had all the makings of an exciting main character (so much promise!), but I was just so disatissfied with the main character, that it ruined the whole series for me. :(

Has The Farseer: Assassin's Apprentice turned you off from other books in this genre?

It did not. I read the entire series hoping that it would get better with each book. This never happened, and now I am unfortunately turned off from reading other Robin Hobb books.

What about Paul Boehmer’s performance did you like?

Ok....I have to admit, I laughed often through the first few chapters and it took me a while to get used to his voice. He has such a dramatic british accent, and the writing was so detailed, that I couldn't help but narrate everything in my own life in a dramatic british accent for weeks. "As she slowly turned on the stove to fry her eggs, she could not help but notice the varnish on the cast iron was turning a most distuuuurbing rusty brown!!" After I got over the childish hilarity of how he pronouced his vowels, I thought he did a very good job of making the characters distiguishable.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

NO

Any additional comments?

If the main character wasn't such a flop, and the women characters were more badass, this book would have been really good.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great...And Can Share it With My Kids

This is an intelligent and engaging book that appeals to the adult fantasy readers/listeners. But as opposed to those like George RR Martin, who have a lot of graphic content not appropriate for kids, this has none of that. I am so glad that Robin Hobb doesn't see that as necessary for a good tale. It is just as good as these others, but without the unnecessary baggage. Highly recommended!

37 of 49 people found this review helpful