Saturday, January 24, 2009

Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy: Book 1)

Mulluane | 5:10 PM | 9 Comments so far

By Robin Hobb

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 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.*Blurb source Spectra*
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Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobbs

| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| ISBN-10: 055357339X
| ISBN-13: 9780553573398
| Publisher: Spectra (March 1, 1996)
| Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
| Read an Excerpt (Not a direct link, link is on the page.)
| Cover art by Michael Whelan
| Source: Personal copy
| Rating: 5 Stars
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Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)

♥ Mini Review ♥
At the age of six, a young boy is dropped off at Buckkeep. With no knowledge of his own name the child is given the title of Fitz, meaning simply "bastard." The King sees him as a tool, his father sees him as a mistake, his half brother Regal sees him as a threat, his other half brother treats him with absentminded kindness while his father's stableman, who is given the job of raising Fitz, sees him as an obligation to the master he worships.

This is the world where young Fitz has to learn to survive, a world where he is by turns, ignored, barely tolerated, or openly hated. This existence will continue until one day King Shrewd will see something that nobody else has considered. Give a lonely boy a touch of affection, a recognition of his existence, a place as the "king's man" and you will not only have a loyal servant for life but get rid of a potential threat in the process.

So begins Fitz's training as a royal assassin and leads to his training in "Skill" the ability to touch, and sometimes influence, other minds. In addition, this young boy must endeavor to hide his other magical talent, one that allows him to communicate and in some instances, bond with animals. While "Skill" is an accepted form of magic, "Wit" or the ability to commune with animals is not. It is claimed that one who does this too often will become a beast himself. Therefore, life for poor Fitz is nothing but one trial after another. Assassin's Apprentice is his story.

Fantasy Series Book Review by Mulluane

♦ My Thoughts. No traditional fantasy collection would be complete without the works of Robin Hobb. Considered by most to be one of the best fantasy writers out here, I quite agree. Now the book is not perfect, nor is it terribly original by today's standards. It takes place in your typical medieval type world, there is a serious magical threat to the kingdom, and there are hints that the protagonist is the key to all of their troubles. It is however, a shadow of better things to come. Back when this was originally published, it went against several traditions. First, it was character driven in a world filled with traditional quest driven fantasy. For another it was written entirely in first person, something that is not widely accepted, even today. This gave Robin Hobb an opportunity to really play on the reader's emotions. By seeing Fitz's world through Fitz's eyes, you get a real feel for just how lonely this boy was, and how hard he had to fight for a few morsels of acceptance. It sucks you in and rarely lets you back up for air.

Aside from being character driven, which is my favorite type of fantasy, this series has a soft spot in my heart for another reason. I am a true animal lover and if I have a fantasy related dream, aside from waving a wand and my house is clean, it is being able to communicate with animals. It does not matter if it is a dragon, unicorn, or griffin, it could be as commonplace as a dog, cat, or horse, either way, I would love to be able to have a mental bond with one of my favorite critters. Assassin's Apprentice fulfills that dream for me adding a fun factor to my enjoyment of the story. Granted, the results of Fitz's Wit abilities are sometimes tragic but if anything that just adds an aura of realism to the tale, this is not a happy story by any means, but it is a poignant one.

♦ Conclusion. Fast-paced for the most part, coming of age told first hand, political intrigue, adventure, well thought out magic systems and an interesting, if not terribly original, world, this book is a classic. While not a YA book, it is very YA readable. No love scenes, atleast not yet, violence but nothing overly graphic, more tragic then anything else, and no objectionable language. I would have no problem handing this book to a YA reader with every expectation that they will enjoy it. It has a solid ending too but you know there is alot of this tale yet to come. Classic, easy read, great for both the reread shelf and to curl up with on a rainy day. Highly recommended for fantasy lovers from YA to adult.

♥ Additional Reviews ♥

Series Summary ~ Book Two ~ Book Three

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Librarything Rating 4.21/5

Amazon Rating 4+ out of 5 stars
(638 Customer Reviews)

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Epic Fantasy Book Review of Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy: Book 1) by Robin Hobb - Reviewed by Mulluane - on January 24, 2009 - Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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  1. Oh Mulluane,

    I read The Farseer Trilogy several years ago. And I read the German translation.

    To be honest I love this trilogy.
    I shared the joys and sorrows of Fitz and his xxxx. I don't want to spoil.

    He is one of my favorite heroes.


    Therefore I rated your review with 5 stars.

  2. Oh my god, Mulluane. Did you just finally read this or is it a reread? Robin Hobb is definitely in my top 5 best fantasy writers - honestly. Not necessarily for this trilogy but for the other two that are connected to this one - Liveship Traders and Tawny Man. You start with Farseer and move on to the others and though each is capable of standing alone, all together they create an absolute epic. I felt utterly betrayed by Robin Hobb when I read the Soldier Son series though - complete crap. Anyway, if this is your first time reading MAKE SURE YOU READ ALL THREE TRILOGIES! Very important.

  3. Heavens no, but it has been a few years and with as much as I read, the details fade so it is like catching up with an old friend you haven't talked to in years!

  4. It's been a bit since I read this one, but it does stick to me as one of those cookie-cutter fantasy novels that's still fun to read. I'll be picking up the next in the series soon.

  5. I've just written a quick post on Dragon's Federation concerning Robin Hobbs. Then I come to my blog reader and find this fantastic review. (If only I could be so succinct at describing what I mean!)

    I'd forgotten about Fitz's Wit ability ... and with the dogs that share my life, I could do with some of that LOL.

    Great review. Pretty much sums it up for me.

    Off to read the next one :o)

  6. After having posted it a few days ago, I'm just now getting around to working my way through the Book Review Meme. I just put up a post about super powers and the ability to communicate with animals was my super power! Not sure if this book would be quite my pick or not, but the review was interesting anyway!

  7. I have this one coming in the mail. I had looked into her books some years ago but turned to romance and sometimes I have a hard time getting into some of the fantasies I've bought since. I hear great things about this trilogy. I'll have it soon so when I get the urge to read it, it'll be there waiting for me.

    Thanks for the review!

  8. Great review! I've got to get round to this one!


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