Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb: The Farseer Trilogy Book One Book Review

Title: Assassin's Apprentice (Book one of the Farseer Trilogy)
Author: Robin Hobb
Genre: Fantasy
Number of pages: 460
Length of audiobook: 17hrs 18 minutes
Trigger warnings: child abuse, animal murder

Synopsis:

Assassin's Apprentice follows a boy called Fitz throughout his early childhood and teenage years. Fitz is the illegitimate child of the prince of the kingdom. No one knew that he existed until he is brought to the castle. The King will not allow Fitz to claim his birthright and his father is banished. Fitz is allowed to stay in the castle and is essentially raised by the stable master who names him Fitz (he didn't have a name before and was simply referred to as 'boy'). We find out early on that Fitz has a power, one that allows him to go into the minds of animals, to communicate with them and see what they see. This power is seen as forbidden and evil so it is discouraged. As Fitz becomes older he makes an agreement to be the king's ally and his assassin.

My thoughts:

Assassin's Apprentice was very slow-paced, particularly during the first half of the book. We saw Fitz growing up, running around the town by the castle and becoming friends with animals. We see his relationships with the members of the royal family, the stable master and the assassin who trains him.

This is quite a political book as we see the role of the princes, as well as the queen and their connections with other lands.

Fitz is treated horribly by the soldiers in the castle and by his own family. The stable master is essentially a father figure to him. He also becomes friends with a girl in the town. I enjoyed seeing his more positive relationships growing, including the friendship that he shared with the dogs in this book.

About halfway through the book we started to see some revelations and more action happening. This is where the plot of the book really picks up. I felt more intrigued as I read on and I was determined to finish.

Aside from the pace of the book, I encountered one other issue. Fitz is trained to be an assassin, although we do not really see much of his training but he never feels inclined to kill. For most of the books he is more of a spy and infiltrator and then suddenly he becomes an assassin and kills many people out of the blue. There is no discussion or mental conflict discussed, it is just suddenly inserted in between everything else in the story. It isn't expanded upon and we do not hear about what happened in detail or much of why they were chosen. This felt disjointed from the pace and detail used in the rest of the book.

The last part of the book was great, filled with events occurring and emotional scenes.

The farseer trilogy is recommended as a highly popular fantasy series. Robin Hobb has written many fantasy books. Although this was a slow fantasy packed with detail, I am so happy that I read it. I wouldn't say it is one of my favourite books but I felt like I really followed an epic story in reading this book. I saw Fitz' childhood and teenage years, the growth of the royals and Fitz' increase in finding out about himself and developing his talents. It was an interesting fantasy and I am glad that I have finally read it.

After the ending of this book I think I will probably read the next book at some point.

4/5 stars


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