Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb – Book Details
TITLE – Assassin’s Apprentice
SERIES – The Farseer Trilogy, book #1
AUTHOR – Robin Hobb
YEAR PUBLISHED – 1995
PAGE COUNT – 392
MY RATING – 3 of 5
RATED ON GOODREADS – 4.16 of 5
I picked up this book because I’ve seen several good reviews of it lately from the people whose reading taste I trust. It’s not quite new, but it is still pretty popular and it seemed promising.
I love fantasy, but I can’t remember the last time I read some. Much less some that I really liked. So I was actually quite looking forward to reading it. I am usually more into low fantasy, but I’m always looking forward to explore any well-developed magical world.
Assassin’s Apprentice is book #1 in The Farseer Trilogy. And The Farseer Trilogy is a part of a much larger Realm of the Elderlings series. The series is told over 16 books (so far), plus there are some bonuses.
But, The Farseer Trilogy is the first in the series and it introduces us to the world, the magic system and some of the characters. So if you plan to read the whole series, this is where you should start.
What It Is About
Fitz is a royal bastard, illegitimate son of the heir to the throne Chivalry Farseer. His very existence could mean a threat to several members of the royal family, which is why he faces many struggles all throughout his childhood.
But, being a bastard seems to be Fitz’s lesser problem. Soon he will discover that his magical link with the animals (also known as the Wit) is not as common and innocent as he thought.
There are also indications that Fitz’s blood might be full of the Skill (magical link with humans), which is much better accepted amongst the nobility and a clear sign of his connection to the royal family. But, for some reason, while the Wit comes easily and naturally to Fitz, he struggles with the Skill more than he expected.
Oh, and a condition for him to be “accepted” into the royal family is to be trained to become a royal assassin.
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb – My Review
The beginning was very easy to get into but not engaging as much as I’d like. I got into the story easily, it was not boring or hard to follow. But it didn’t make me care for the main character either. There were some major revelations, and I was neither curious nor excited.
I think the biggest problem was that no stakes were made at that point. I did not care for the characters nor for the world, so it didn’t really matter how great or important things were happening to them.
Plus, I don’t like when things (especially relationships) start happening out of nowhere. No insta-love in this case, but there were a bunch of other insta things – insta learning, insta friendships, insta magic – that just didn’t sit well with me. It didn’t feel right. On multiple occasions, Fitz would (over)react to things, and I would think – but why do you even care? Much less that much? When did that happen?
The thing is – there were a lot of telling-not-showing instances, even when it comes to some very important events and character development. The writhing also felt a bit inconsistent.
But, things really started to pick up in the second half. I’ve grown a bit more attached to Fitz, and the story also became more interesting. A lot of the things I didn’t like kept reoccurring, but there were also many more good parts, so it felt better balanced 😄. I practically ﬂew through the last 200 pages.
For me, the strongest side of Assassin’s Apprentice were the side characters. I felt like I knew them well after very little interaction and they all had layers to them that made them complex and interesting.
All in all, the book was really not bad – I totally see why so many people love it. It is very easy to go through. And the story, though not enough engaging for me, was quite interesting.
Assassin’s Apprentice is one if those books where I can read a hundred pages in one sitting. But once I put it down, I don’t care to get back to it. All in all, this was a bit frustrating experience. But it did intrigue me enough to want to read the book 2…