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Assassin's Apprentice

(The Farseer Trilogy #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  285,187 ratings  ·  13,730 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, 435 pages
Published March 1st 1996 by Spectra Books (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
2) …more
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
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  285,187 ratings  ·  13,730 reviews

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Mark Lawrence
Nov 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rick Riordan
It took me three tries to read this excellent fantasy. I had to be in the right frame of mind, because I found it by no means a page-turner until I was about halfway through. Hobb has crafted a believable, intricate fantasy world in all its gritty, mundane, medieval detail, so you can smell the stables and taste the gruel along with experiencing the wonders of magic and courtly skulduggery. It is an enormously comprehensive autobiography of one Fitz, the bastard son of Prince Chivalry of the Six ...more
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
(3.5) I finally got around to reading this popular Fantasy series that has been on my TBR for literally forever... and I'm pretty underwhelmed.

I liked Hobb's writing, I enjoyed the world and magic system but this has to be the most chill, less action-driven book about an assassin's education ever.

Things did end up picking up a bit in the last 100 pages and I am planning on reading the whole trilogy to give it a proper shot. It was... kinda relaxing I guess? lol
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My journey into The Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb has finally begun and it’s off to a great start.

You can skip the next paragraph if you want to go straight to the review, this is just a long introduction that I need to make before writing my review.

It’s not an overstatement to say that The Realm of the Elderlings is hands down my biggest gamble of all time in the history of book buying; I bought it without using my brain, after all. You may call me shallow, my interest in this series s
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Reread this AGAIN because I am going to read all of the books up to date that are out!!! Hmmm.. guess I should show y'all my cool bookshelf of the books and some of my dragon figurines. Ah, maybe later 😘 Okay, well here it is...

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
Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy,#1 Realm of the Elderlings #1)

Enjoyed the book, and admired the unique world Hobb has created. Hobb crafts a beautiful world with depth. You come to understand this world and feel its woes as much as any character. However, people who like action-packed fantasy, they may not like this book.
Don’t do what you can’t undo, until you’ve considered what you can’t do once you’ve done it.

Not Bad...
Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
”Most prisons are of our own making. A man makes his own freedom, too.”

So this was my first Robin Hobb and I’m positively surprised! =) I mean after reading all those raving reviews I already expected that “Assassin’s Apprentice” would be a good book, I definitely wasn’t prepared for the train of feels that occasionally hit me though. Well, truth be told, that’s actually a bold understatement.

For a book that started out so slowly there certainly were a lot of intense and awesome scenes that had
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
ELLIAS (elliasreads)
Feb 01, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2022-books, i-own
I'll give you my two cents:

gorgeous. gorgeous. girls. read robin hobb.

this was fucking wicked!!!

Twitter | Bookstagram | Youtube |
Dec 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
first and foremost, i need to praise robin hobb. with the literary world constantly fawning over the likes of george r.r. martin, brandon sanderson, patrick rothfuss, etc., it is so refreshing to read an epic/high fantasy written by a woman. you go, girl!

there is so much to love about this book. i will admit, this is a very foundational book. its quite slow, as there is a lot of page time dedicated to the development of characters and the building of the world in which they live. but this is don
Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews
Sep 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful start to a series with incredible character writing

What a wonderful start to a series. If I were to rate this book on plot alone I would probably give it 3/5 stars. If I were to rate this book on character building, I would probably give it 10/5 stars.

Robin Hobb makes you truly understand who all these characters are, and gets you to deeply care about them more than perhaps any other book I have ever written. While the plot is somewhat dull compared to other big-time fantasy books, it
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
Sean Barrs
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
Lisa of Troy
Jun 26, 2022 rated it liked it
Maybe just the wrong time to read this?

A six-year old boy is dropped off on the doorstep to the royal family. He is the illegitimate son of a prince. He has no name. What is to become of this boy? Who will he turn into? What is in a name?

The beginning of The Assassin’s Apprentice immediately had me hooked. It is incredibly moving and heartrending. Also, I really enjoyed the fantasy. It is what I would describe as realistic fantasy. The author doesn’t go too far into worldbuilding and doesn’t bor
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-sf

Finally I am up to date with my reviews.

Assassin's Apprentice is the first volume in the Farseer Trilogy. The trilogy is part of a larger series called the Realm of the Elderlings. Based on my book feed, the author is much loved among the fantasy lovers and her books are considered classics of the genre.

The trilogy should come with the following warning: This is a character driven series and if you want an action packed adventure story look elsewhere. Also, it is a bit depressing since the
Sean Gibson
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
James Tivendale
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This will just be a casual review as I know that the majority of fantasy fans on my friends list will have read/ at least know of this book.

This was an interesting reading experience for me. It only took me about 5 years to finish! I tried it 3 times and couldn’t get further than the 30% point. I attempted it in it’s paperback and audiobook form but to no avail. That being stated, I still knew it wasn’t a bad tale, so I put it back on the shelf for another time in 1, 5, 10, or 20 years when I wo
William Gwynne
I now have a YouTube channel that I run with my brother, called 'The Brothers Gwynne'. Check it out - The Brothers Gwynne

My review of this AMAZING book is now on BookNest.

Assassin's Apprentice BookNest

“Very little worth knowing is taught by fear.”

I read Assassin's Apprentice late last year, and how amazing it is that I did. This is the book that introduced me to my now second favourite author of all time. I blitzed through three trilogies in this world in less than a month! That is testamen
Dana Ilie
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Why has it taken me this long to read Robin Hobb? Truthfully, I am not quite sure. Fears aside, I took the plunge, and can assuredly say it was well worth the wait!
For the sake of clarity, I started with the first of the various series which make up the books set within the Realm of the Elderlings. This meant starting with Assassins Apprentice, the first installment in the Farseer Trilogy.
I have really fallen in love with Robin Hobb’s style of writing. It has so much substance and sophisticatio
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

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
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
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*2nd read - Beautiful book. The illustrated edition is stunning.*

Assassin’s Apprentice was my first read of Robin Hobb and I just don’t know why it has taken me so long to get to The Farseer Trilogy, I really have been missing out! Hobb’s writing and prose quickly captivated me, as did the story of Fitz, a royal bastard without friends or family to care for him.

“When you cut pieces out of the truth to avoid looking like a fool you end up looking like a moron instead.”

Fitz is our protagonist an
Helen 2.0
Men cannot grieve as dogs do. But we grieve for many years.

Wow. This book really got under my skin.

At its core, Assassin's Apprentice is a story about loneliness - about a lonely boy, the bastard son of the former crown prince, growing up in a kingdom that does not want him. Fitz grows up among servants and soldiers in the king's palace, working in the shadow of his grandfather and uncles as a stableboy. Working with dogs, he discovers a talent for the Wit, a mental ability that allows him
Dec 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Assassin's Apprentice has a shine to it. It is a dull kind of shine, like light passing through amber. It is a confident piece of fiction. Fantasy, no less. And it was released when the stampede to write the next Lord of the Rings had abated.

I thought that this was a mighty tale. When I had read all but the last two chapters, excluding the footnote of an epilogue, I realised that the book would appear in my top 20 books read, of all time, and of all genres.

I usually recoil on myself and refuse t
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Assassin's Apprentice is the story of Fitz, who arrives at Buckkeep barely more than a child. He is branded early on as the bastard of Prince Chivalry Farseer, eldest & deceased son of King Shrewd Farseer. And so begins the slow & steady descent of our main character into a life fraught with hardship after hardship.

Which brings us around to one of my main struggles with this story. The first 80-85% of this book is a slow trudge through Fitz's childhood, exploring the many brutal ways in which he
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 ;)

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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

Other books in the series

The Farseer Trilogy (3 books)
  • Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy, #2)
  • Assassin's Quest (Farseer Trilogy, #3)

Articles featuring this book

For those of us on the nerdier end of the book-person spectrum, nothing satisfies quite like epic fantasy. There’s something about the grand...
145 likes · 72 comments
“When you cut pieces out of the truth to avoid looking like a fool you end up looking like a moron instead.” 774 likes
“Don’t do what you can’t undo, until you’ve considered what you can’t do once you’ve done it.” 574 likes
More quotes…