- Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Book Review of Assassin’s Apprentice: 3 Treasure Boxes
The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1
Publisher: Tantor Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 17 hours and 18 minutes, ASIN: B003ATP9VI
A young boy, FitzChivalry, is an outcast, because he is the bastard son of the King-in-Waiting. From the day he was dumped at court by his grandfather, he never felt connected to anyone or anything, except his little puppy. Fitz has magically bonded with the little dog, but soon learns this is an evil thing to do, and has his dog cruelly ripped away from his life. King Shrew has decided to earn Fitz’s loyalty by turning him into an assassin. During his training Fitz is faced with many different tasks and challenges, including uncovering a sinister plot that if successful will place a cruel and uncaring man into power. Meanwhile, the red ship raiders have a secret weapon that turns the captured citizens of the Six Dutchies into living, soulless beasts.
Robin Hobb is a pseudonym for Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden and she has written numerous books, primarily in the fantasy genre. Assassin’s Apprentice was written in 1995 and it was the first book in the world of the Six Dutchies and is the first book in The Farseer Trilogy. The Tawny Man Trilogy was released in 2001 and continues the story, but from a different point of view. Assassin’s Apprentice is in the epic fantasy style because in this world there is a form of magic, no modern conveniences and there is a ruling class of aristocrats, including kings and princes. The story is told in a first person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, FitzChivalry.
The magic in this fantasy novel is subtle. There is a mental type of control, called The Skill, and it is where, if one has the ability and is properly trained, a person can enter into the mind of another person. There is also another gift, a deeper, darker gift, that is considered evil or dirty, and it is the ability to join minds with an animal. The story is original and enjoyable. Fitz, even as a young boy, is a danger to the crown as the bastard son of the King-in-Waiting. For this reason, King Shrew decides to keep him close and to earn the boy’s loyalty by secretly training him to become an assassin.
Fitz is a great character, and there are other interesting characters in the book, but most of the other players are not well developed. They tend to be one-dimensional without any real depth. Unlike most epic fantasy novels, this story does not have any real action, but it is well told and well paced with a steady stream of tension throughout.
I recommend this book as a very good read. The story was intriguing and from start to finish, I was never quite sure where it was going and I found it hard to put the book down. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Royal Assassin.