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Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden writes fantasy fiction under the pen name Robin Hobb. She also writes contemporary fiction as Megan Lindholm. Hobb is most famous for her novels set in The Realm of the Elderlings, including The Farseer Trilogy, The Liveship Traders Trilogy, The Tawny Man Trilogy, and, most recently, The Rain Wilds Chronicles. Assassin’s Apprentice is the first book in The Farseer Trilogy.

    In a faraway land in which members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma. 

    Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility. 

    So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and learn a new life: weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly as he trains to become a royal assassin. 

As usual with Robin Hobb, this story is rich in detail and has empathetic, believable characters. The politics of the world were clear and the sense of place was strong. Reading about Fitz as he grew up and slowly found acceptance within the royal household was fascinating for me since life in the keep is described in great depth during this time.

Fitz is a great character – he is sharp, witty and stubborn, and has a knack for getting himself into trouble. It was very nice to read an intelligent character, who worked things out before I did. Fitz recognised that he had a better chance of survival as the royal assassin than if he had refused to be part of the royal household. I found his initial distrust of King Shrewd and crown-prince Verity and the slow growth of trust between them to be realistic and well executed.

Robin Hobb’s books are some of the best fantasy novels I have ever read, and I enjoyed Assassin’s Apprentice immensely. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy and finding out how Fitz copes as the royal assassin. 

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