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Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  167,304 Ratings  ·  6,283 Reviews
In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals - the old art known as the Wit - gives him solace and companionship.
Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Published March 1996 by Voyager (first published May 1995)
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Vyne The Realm of the Elderlings is written in chronological order, so Thehonestowl is not entirely correct.

The Farseer Trilogy:
1) Assassin's Apprentice
The Realm of the Elderlings is written in chronological order, so Thehonestowl is not entirely correct.

The Farseer Trilogy:
1) Assassin's Apprentice
2) Royal Assassin
3) Assassin's Quest

Followed by the Liveship Traders Trilogy
1) Ship of Magic
2) Mad Ship
3) Ship of Destiny

Followed by The Tawny Man Trilogy
1) Fool's Errand
2) Golden Fool
3) Fool's Fate

Followed by The Rain Wilds Chronicles
1) Dragon Keeper
2) Dragon Haven
3) City of Dragons
4) Blood of Dragons

And finally, The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy
1) Fool's Assassin
2) Fool's Quest
Amy I think it highly depends on their reading level. It starts out a little slow (like the first 150 pages) so I think the average 12 year old may…moreI think it highly depends on their reading level. It starts out a little slow (like the first 150 pages) so I think the average 12 year old may actually lose interest before the story picks up. The first book in this series has some violence, but is otherwise appropriate for a pre-teen. (Unless you don't like the word "bastard" and that particular concept...the main character happens to be the bastard child of the late prince). The second book, however, may be less appropriate. It is more violent and has rape, sex, and the zombie-like men ("Forged") eating a little girl while still alive. As a mom I would be okay with my son reading the first book, but not the second. The series as a whole may be something you would want to take into consideration.(less)

Community Reviews

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Mark Lawrence
Nov 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read a lot of fantasy in the last decade, so the fact I've read 12 of Robin Hobb's books in the last 5 years says a lot about how much I enjoy reading her work. The adventures of Fitz through three trilogies account for a big chunk of that reading.

Robin Hobb can write a first person story with rare skill. She shows you a world though Fitz's eyes and makes it matter, makes it vital. Some elements of Hobb's fantasy are fairly old school, but written with a modern style and a literary ski
Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
I read this again through audio so I can continue on with the series. The narrator was Paul Boehmer and I thought he did a great job 😄

These were the lessons in my assassin's primer. And more. Sleight of hand and the art of moving stealthily. Where to strike a man to render him unconscious. Where to strike a man so that he dies without crying out. Where to stab a man so that he dies without too much blood welling out. I learned it all rapidly and well, thriving under Chade's approval of my quick
Dec 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nerdy badasses
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: epic-fantasy
One of my all-time favorite series. I love it so much I have first edition hardbacks. Lovely, touching, dramatic. It has everything.
Bookdragon Sean
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I feel so sorry for Fitzchivalry because he had such a rough start to life. The boy is despised for the simple fact that he exists. He is a royal bastard, and his dishonourable conception means that his father’s name is forever sullied; that much so that he was forced to abdicate the throne; thus, half the royal Farseer court already hates Fitz because he is, supposedly, the reason why the popular Prince had to retire from court life. Poor, poor, Fitz, he was hated from the very beginning.

He w
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)

07/19 : 1.99$ today on kindle! ← I never do that, but that's FITZ. Be serious.

Funny that I thought I would be able to objectively review this favorite of mine. SERIOUSLY? I was way too conceited. Because the truth is...


◘ Because I'm (way) too much involved in Fitz's story to analyze it. I mean, I could pretend, of course, but really? I found myself crying or being out of breath in anticipation so many times that I'm pretty sure my opinion is grandly biased.

Take this, for example : "And the
What unexpected, and much needed, joy this book brought me! I know this is a fantasy favorite among so many people I trust, but I never expected it to be as perfect as it was! Fitz and his journey was an absolute joy to read about, and I cannot wait to continue on with this world. Like, I need the next book now.

This story is a slow burn, that's for sure, but learning about the main protagonist, Fitz, and his back story made the slow pace still really enjoyable. Fitz is a bastard of the king in
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Robin Hobb is an author which was on my radar for a long time and I was planning to read her books earlier but reading is a fickle and seductive mistress often taking us on an unplanned journeys and sometimes during those journeys we cross paths with people who manage to persuade us to follow their direction and just like that, I ended up in the Realms of the Elderlings, on a new adventure starting with the Assassin’s Apprentice.

This tale starts with our main character, Fitz (age 6), being brou
Bullet points for this review because although Robin Hobb likes to ramble on.. I do not.

A Summary of this book:
-- Fitz's life sucks
-- lots of winding and turning and taking an especially long time to get to the point
-- lots of predictable plots but not knowing exactly how we'd get there

While the writing is good, the story in this one is just ok. Nevertheless, I'm going to read on as planned because I'm reading this trilogy simply to get to her other trilogies. I do feel I'll get more and mo
With the exciting news of a brand new series about Fitz & the Fool, The Fool's Assassin, in mind, we are buddy reading this series in December and continue with the Tawny Man trilogy.

Yup, I'm all set! (for some funky reason, I'd feel weird about reading Robin Hobb on my Kindle, so I got the entire series in English paperbacks too.:p

Buddy read with:
*Kat (joins for book 2)
*Lee(first timer, wooot!)
*Erika, and I'm confident we'll catch up with...
*DayDreamer ;)

Mar 24, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, unfinished
I find a lot of fantasy authors are in love with the internalized conceptions of their worlds. This can lead to great nuanced detail supporting imaginative storytelling... but the flipside can be a creation that fails to translate that vision to the actual page, to the audience.

Assassin's Apprentice illustrates this point fairly well. Robin Hobb has clearly lovingly created the world of the Six Duchies, and this love is echoed through the tale's device: born a bastard son to the king's heir, Fit
Sean Gibson
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
It hasn’t been that long since I cracked the virtual spine on a new fantasy series, but it has been a while since I began one that felt like this.

(Um, Sean? Can you maybe, I don’t know, define what “this” is, on account of the fact that empathetic internet is, as of yet, at least still a few years away?)

“This” is fully realized, well written and conceived, and faithful to some of the most tried and true fantasy tropes while simultaneously standing one very big one on its heads (namely, and I don
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even better the second time around!
Aug 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Probably the most depressing fantasy trilogy I read (and this includes Thomas Covenant). Recommended for when you are too cheerful and want to lower your mood in the hurry. The bad guys are bad with no redeeming qualities (and doing bad things just because they are bad). The good guys have all the bad luck imaginable - and then some; they also love acting out of character.

This is still entertaining read which kept me until the end.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Be your blood, boy, and ignore what anyone else thinks of you.”

I'm officially part of the Hobb fandom, hallelujah! This book was one of the most joyful slow-burners that I've read. Think 'The Name of the Wind.' It's about our precious Fitz, a bastard, who has been brought up by someone who used to work closely with his father. It is narrated by Fitz himself and we follow his life closely from childhood till his young teenage years.

The writing is quite simply, stunning. From page one I was hook
Bentley ★
See this review and more like it on

I've had Robin Hobb on my list of authors I simply must read for a few years now, but haven't had the opportunity to get my hands on one of her books until this month. I'm actually kind of glad that I waited as long as I did, if I'm honest, because in a way I think finishing this book required a patience and maturity on my part that I probably would have lacked had I tried to accomplish reading it years ago when it first started
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
After reading maybe a few too many YA fantasies, it was a breath of fresh air to delve into the world of Fitz, the assassin's apprentice. It was complex and layered, the way I like my fantasies, and I suppose my reading generally.

Fitz, the bastard son of the crown prince with a peasant woman, is taken from his mother as a six year old boy and dropped into the royal household. This novel follows Fitz from his childhood, rejected by many and ignored by almost all others, to about age fifteen, as
Apr 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2014
Buddy read with Alexa August 19th!

Wearily I regard the faltering trail of ink it has tracked down my page. I have seen that shape before, I think, but it was not ink then. A trickle of drying blood on the deck of a Red-Ship, and mine the hand that spilled it? Or was it a tendril of smoke rising black against a blue sky as I rode too late to warn a village of a Red-Ship raid? Or poison swirling and unfurling yellowly in a simple glass of water, poison I had handed someone, smiling all the while?
Kat  Hooper
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I read THE FARSEER SAGA years ago and have since considered it one of my favorite fantasy epics. It’s one (along with THE LORD OF THE RINGS and MEMORY, SORROW AND THORN) that I often suggest to new fantasy readers. But after more than a decade of reading deeper and further into fantasy literature, I’ve often wondered how well this saga would now appeal to my more mature (I hope) palate. When Tantor Audio recently released THE FARSEER SAGA on audio, I was overjoyed and considered this to be my si ...more
James Lafayette  Tivendale
DNF @ 30% - twice. May return to.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The easiest rating of all times.

Here is the review of the book on my blog! Let me know your thoughts about it!
Deborah Obida
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, adult
This is my first by Robin Hobb and definitely not my last, this book surpassed all my expectations, I’ve heard so much about this and I caved in and I don’t regret it instead I’m chiding myself for not picking this earlier. The world building is so well depicted the cloth descriptions, houses, landscapes everything is original I felt like I was watching it unfold instead of reading it. The writing is what wowed me most about this book, Its written in old English one that suit fantasy perfectly b ...more
Alex Farrand
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Assassin's Apprentice lives up to its title. It is about a boy name Fitz who learns to become an assassin. It is also much more than just killing people. It is about this young boy coming of age and finding out who he is.

First off, I thought this book would be a little bit different. I think I took the "Assassin" part to heart, and forgot the "Apprentice". You don't just jump into your trade until you really master something. Also, it was very dense in the beginning. Robin was really building ev
Cait • A Page with a View
I finally read it! So many of you have been telling me to try these books aaaaand you were right - Robin Hobb is a great author.

So really did enjoy this book in the end, but it was definitely a slow start. That was fine, though, because the world was so detailed and I loved the main character! Fitz is a truly wonderful narrator.

This seems like one of the better high fantasy worlds I've found. And even though the story was slow-moving, it was never truly boring. More like... peaceful and pretty?
I will be rereading this book soon so I can continue the trilogy since it's been four years!!

This is a wonderfully constructed fantasy. Well written with fantastic character development and world-building. It is quite a skill to create a world so huge and complex and it has been done wonderfully.

The protagonist is great and his development throughout the story believable and fascinating. The use of first person is unusual for high fantasy but is very effective in this book. I will definitely
After re-read:

I'm not great at remembering all the details of something if I've only seen it once which really works in my favour when it comes to re-reads. I loved this series the first time and will agree with my husband that Fitz is one of the best characters ever written. I'm thrilled to say that it also holds up very well on a second pass.

It was awesome revisiting these characters in their youth and seeing their interactions with the knowledge of where they end up in later books. I think R
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Holy shit.

Hopefully this review is coherent. I did just finish this amazing book and its hard to put thoughts in order when your mind has just been blown.

I great up fatherless and motherless in a court where all recognized me as a catalyst. And a catalyst I became.

Assassin's Apprentice is the story of a bastard son of the Prince, who is given up by his mother to be raised in Buckkeep. There he becomes known as Fitz, and discovers that he is able to link to animals, a talent called the Wit. It al
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Starting a new series by an author I have never read before always makes me a little anxious. Am I going to like it? Will I give it a fair chance? Will others opinions cloud my judgement? I will admit, Robin Hobb wasn’t on my list of top authors to read, but I found the complete Farseer trilogy at a resale book store and decided to pick them up. I hadn’t read a lot of reviews before starting this book, and the ones I did were either great or DNF. This only fueled my apprehension, but I was in be ...more
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, 2012
This is another one of those, how-can-you-call-yourself-a-fantasy-fan-and-not-read series. I really am sorry I waited this long because I loved it and can't wait for more...good thing there are 10 more and counting set in the Realm of the Elderlings.

That's not to say I loved it from the beginning, however. I had a bit of a hard time getting into Assassin's Apprentice, but that could also be the fact that I had a hard time with the narrator at first. By the end, I actually found it quite fitting
else fine
May 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people tired of bad fantasy
This series demonstrates what a truly gifted writer can do with the constraints and conventions of the fantasy genre. It has all the required elements - dragons, quests, magic, etc - but combined in a dark and unsettling way. Hobb's heroes, fated to attempt epic feats, falter and are left prematurely aged, scarred, and bitter; true love goes unrequited; her characters are morally and sexually ambiguous; and both dragons and magic are dirty, unglamorous, and hazardous to your health.

Though all o
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** I am shocked to find that some people think a 2 star 'I liked it' rating is a bad rating. What? I liked it. I LIKED it! That means I read the whole thing, to the last page, in spite of my life raining comets on me. It's a good book that survives the reading process with me. If a book is so-so, it ends up under the bed somewhere, or maybe under a stinky judo bag in the back of the van. So a 2 st ...more
More about Robin Hobb...

Other Books in the Series

Farseer Trilogy (3 books)
  • Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy, #2)
  • Assassin's Quest (Farseer Trilogy, #3)
“When you cut pieces out of the truth to avoid looking like a fool you end up looking like a moron instead.” 576 likes
“Don’t do what you can’t undo, until you’ve considered what you can’t do once you’ve done it.” 305 likes
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