Sean Barrs the Bookdragon's Reviews > Assassin's Apprentice

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
27788046
's review

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy
Read 2 times. Last read September 11, 2014 to September 24, 2015.

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 was used rather than destroyed

I think King Shrewd truly lives up to his name sake because he has such an interesting way of dealing with unwanted potential claimants to his throne. Instead of simply murdering Fitz, and ridding himself of a potential threat, he binds the boy to himself with unwavering loyalty. He turns Fitz into an assassin; he gives him a home and protection in return for one day being the assassin of the Farseer court. Nobody else could give the unwanted boy such a deal. Shrewd is truly shrewd. I think this is a truly brilliant idea naming characters this way because the individuals eventually begin to embody their name’s sake; it helps to demonstrate what a particular character is about and make them sound rather royal in the process. I love it. Not all characters are named this way, but for those that are it works really well.

The character development in this novel alone is phenomenal. Fitz is forged into an assassin in just three hundred pages, though this is no easy task. His mentor, Chade, is kind and guiding, but he also expects a great deal out of his pupil. Fitz is forced into an unsuspecting test of loyalty, and in his childlike innocence he could quite easily have made the wrong decision. Most children would have, but he has a slight edge: he has Farseer blood. And he has also experienced the worse the court has to offer. Fitz has learnt to survive, and he has learnt to accept his mentor’s advice almost without question.

“Learning is never wrong. Even learning how to kill isn't wrong. Or right. It's just a thing to learn, a thing I can teach you. That's all.”

description

But, that doesn’t mean Fitz has to like his work; it is something he must do. In this, Fitz never loses himself. He becomes an assassin, but he doesn’t become a murderer. It’s a thin line, I know. However, if the people being assassinated pose a threat to the peace of the Six Duchies, then surely the deed can be considered noble and just. To my mind, Fitz is truly heroic because of this. He is the perfect protagonist, and he is written wonderfully. None of this is easy for him though. The killing is hard, but learning his innate magic is even harder. His upbringing is a truly arduous time because of this; he is not only being trained as an assassin, but also to wield the ancient magic known as the skill.

Two fantastic magic systems

Robin Hobb’s magic systems are as dangerous as they are spectacular. Fitz’ trainer in the skill (a powerful form of telepathic magic) is a tyrannical and sadistic man; he is one of those strong haters of the boy, and uses every opportunity to abuse and torture him. He is the exact opposite of the kindly Chade: he is simply brutal. The Skill master’s hatred for Fitz is completely unreasonable and undoubtable. As the novel progresses the reasoning behind the cruelty becomes less and less obvious, until its odd origins are revealed. Fitz truly didn’t have much chance picking up the basics of the skill form this so called master of the magic; he struggles for many years with it afterwards because of his treatment by the brute.

“Very little worth knowing is taught by fear.”

And if that wasn’t enough, for poor little Fitz to shoulder, he also has the Wit magic. This is even harder for him to understand because he is not fully aware that he has it. It is a rare form of power that allows him to communicate with animals. This communication can then form unto a lasting bond, if both user and beast mutually agree. They link minds in lasting friendship. His surrogate farther, Burrich, views the magic as a perversity and punishes the boy whenever he suspects he uses it; thus, Robin Hobb has given Fitz a lot to deal with. The result is a very confused boy who has too much of a burden. It’s a miracle he actually manages to get out of bed in the morning with the amount of things craving his time and attention.

description

At this point, I don’t think I really need to say I love this book, but I’ll do it anyway: I love this book! This is such a great opening to the series and whilst it is already complicated for Fitz, it’s only going to get worse; this is merely the beginning of his life and his story. He has barely seen the Fool for what he is yet, which is much more than a jester. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series again, and post my reviews. This is my favourite modern fantasy series. Nobody does this quite like Robin Hobb; she weaves such strong emotions into her characters.

The Farseer Trilogy
1. Assassin’s Apprentice- An overwhelming five stars
2. Royal Assassin - A character defining five stars
145 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Assassin's Apprentice.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

Finished Reading
March 8, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
March 8, 2014 – Shelved
September 11, 2014 – Started Reading
May 27, 2015 – Shelved as: fantasy
September 24, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Craig "NEEDS MORE DAMN TIME TO READ !!!!" Gah, had these three books in my hand yesterday but was unsure about buying, missed opportunity :(


Sean I might have to do the same and start at the very beginning.Wonderful.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Craig "NEEDS MORE DAMN TIME TO READ !!!!" wrote: "Gah, had these three books in my hand yesterday but was unsure about buying, missed opportunity :("

They're great! They're quite possibly my favourite modern fantasy series.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Sean wrote: "I might have to do the same and start at the very beginning.Wonderful."

After I read the recent Fool's Quest, I knew I had to go back.


message 5: by Efrona (new)

Efrona Mor I felt so sorry for Fitz that I near cried.. I loved the series too, but I wish it had more humor and more happy endings.. but then I couldn't say, "Poor Fitz." with such sorrow.. (:


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Efrona wrote: "I felt so sorry for Fitz that I near cried.. I loved the series too, but I wish it had more humor and more happy endings.. but then I couldn't say, "Poor Fitz." with such sorrow.. (:"

I think he will get a good ending though eventually. I'm not sure how far you've read in the series, but he does have a few yeasrs of happiness.


message 7: by Efrona (new)

Efrona Mor I'm in the second book if the 3rd is his happy time I'll anticipate that read.. Yay.. (: Hobbs is for sure a fantastic writer..


message 8: by Jessi (new) - added it

Jessi Excellent review as always! I read a kindle sample of this book and right away the descriptive and vivid writing style pulled me right in! I was on the fence about this for a while but your review and the sample I read sold me on this. I look forward to entering yet another fantastic medieval fantasy world... I'm fairly new to the epic fantasy genre but I noticed that many of them have this old world medieval setting.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Jessi wrote: "Excellent review as always! I read a kindle sample of this book and right away the descriptive and vivid writing style pulled me right in! I was on the fence about this for a while but your review ..."

Thanks ;)

They do. Personally, I hate it when fantasy is in a modern setting. I like it to feel like a myth. Hobb is my favourite author of epic fantasy, so I can only say that there are so many fun adventures ahead in her world. She's a wonderful writer ;)


back to top