The Assassin’s Apprentice is book one of the Farseer Trilogy, which revolves around a young boy dubbed as Fitz. Fitz Farseer Chivalry is a boy of both bastard and royal blood — a boy whom’ is, from the beginning of the novel, thrown into a strange world and left to fend, in many ways (especially emotionally), on his own. A strange world that, for the most part, resides in and around Buckkeep — the place he is sent to when his father decides (partially because of his wife Lady Patience) to essentially disown him for being a bastard — a shame on the family. And this is when the story begins, and where the real plot soon forms and thickens. After years of growing up with stablemaster Burrich — and becoming comfortable with the job of raising and taking care of animals — Fitz is once again thrown into a strange new world — this time, a world of murder — for he is to be of use, taught the ways of the assassin.
When I first purchased this book several months back, I wasn’t sure what to the think or to expect. For one, it was written in first person, which seemed a bit odd to me for a fantasy piece. Secondly, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the story — I wasn’t completely sold by the description on the back of the book. Fortunately, all of those uncertainties were soon put to rest just after the first few chapters. For this read, to me, was truly engaging, straight away, and with each page the story continued to grow and prosper, until I was completely engulfed in the lives of the characters and the development of the story. This was a real page turner for many reasons..and stands right up there with the works of George R.R. Martin. Great, gripping, emotionally captivating — unique.
And while the story itself was a great and unique aspect of this novel, the characters were what truly shined for me — all of whom’ were original, complex, deep..different. Some I liked, some I was unsure..and some I simply hated. I also found that the first person perspective really added to the story — making it a bit more easier to connect with the main character Fitz. For Robin Hobb truly did a great job portraying his inner struggle and turmoil. There were so many times I felt for him, or related to him. I wished I could reach out to him, talk to him, befriend him. I also must add, I quite enjoyed the connection he had with animals — the unique bond he shared with the dogs and horses of the stables — the way he felt their emotion and thought — the way he could communicate with them as others could not. Several related scenes were both stunning and touching, and I can’t help but have the feeling that Hobb must have a unique connection with animals herself — for she wrote these scenes so wisely.
So in concluding this review, I’ll say this — “The Assassin’s Apprentice” is a captivating novel following the life of a young bastard who is to be trained as an assassin. It’s a unique, refreshing read..with brilliantly introduced and developed characters, a rich story, and a very intense climatic ending. After finishing the last page of this book, I immediately jumped into the next. Robin Hobb is a one of a kind writer with a special ability — one that I don’t see all too often. While she offers a lot in this great piece — drama, emotion, unique characters, and even a bit of humor, she also offers something completely different — something her own. Something that grabs the reader and doesn’t let go — something that makes the reader feel the writing, rather than simply read it. When writing this review, I tried to think of some sort of critique — some sort of negative, but I simply couldn’t. The closest thing I have is that some of it was a bit depressing — but that’s it. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes a more realistic fantasy — a great fantasy that relies heavily on the lives of its characters.