Customer Reviews


891 Reviews
5 star:
 (535)
4 star:
 (198)
3 star:
 (81)
2 star:
 (42)
1 star:
 (35)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


422 of 432 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tale of duty, sacrifice and injustice
I am writing this review because I found this trilogy impossible to put down but emotionally draining. This was the kind of story that grabs your guts as well as your mind. If you have read Haldeman's "All My Sins Remembered", you know what I mean. After I finished the last Assassin book I spent hours trying to sort out my feelings. It hit me that hard...
Published on October 26, 2001 by A. McPhate

versus
144 of 167 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL CHARACTERS IN AN UNEXCITING WORLD
Robin Hobb is a "she" not a "he". Just wanted to clarify that right away, since I saw quite a few reviewers thinking she is male. To be honest, I made the same mistake too when I saw this book.

Before I wrote this review I looked at other people's reviews and I have to say that I agree with the 5 star people on some topics and I sympathize with the 1 star...
Published on December 25, 2005 by EMAN NEP


‹ Previous | 1 290 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

422 of 432 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tale of duty, sacrifice and injustice, October 26, 2001
By 
A. McPhate (Houston, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
I am writing this review because I found this trilogy impossible to put down but emotionally draining. This was the kind of story that grabs your guts as well as your mind. If you have read Haldeman's "All My Sins Remembered", you know what I mean. After I finished the last Assassin book I spent hours trying to sort out my feelings. It hit me that hard.
After I read the first book I told my wife she might like to read it. Now, I don't think so. This story isn't light entertainment, its something you experience. If you want a black and white hero story, go elsewhere. If you want a story that can pull you in, wring you out, and leave you feeling like you have really been through something, then read this. This is good, strong stuff. If it makes you a little sick, don't say I didn't warn you.
I will mention that the book, being a narrative from the point of view of main character, flows much better than the typical multi-party fantasy novel that has to hop from person to person to keep things synchronized. The flow is so strong I literally had difficulty putting the books down, stealing any spare minute I could to read just one more page. Thank goodness it was only a trilogy - I wasn't getting near enough sleep.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


121 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality reading, quality entertainment, March 3, 2006
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
Ever since I read George Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series (at least, what was available at the time), I was looking for some kind of "middle ground" between fun and enjoyable, light fantasy the likes of Salvatore or early Goodkind and the heavy, ambitious, but nevertheless sometimes overwhelming saga created by Martin. In Hobb's literature, I believe I've found that middle ground.

First of all, a warning. This isn't a book that starts very fast-paced. At the start, it looks like it will develop along the ever-popular "young hero grows up, received training, becomes the most powerful wizard/fighter/whatever in the world", but this is certainly not it. Hobb does break a lot of genre cliches in her writing - this is one of the things that really makes her works valuable.

What Hobb has, which is also the domain of Martin's writing and is missing from a majority of fantasy books, is an uncanny ability to create characters with a convincing psychological profile. Her characters actually feel real and unique at the same time, the title character is not the "typical fantasy assassin", but that doesn't make him less "flesh and blood". On the contrary - I'd say that out of all fantasy novels I've read, Hoob's characters are the most "flesh and blood" to me, surpassing even Martin.

Then again, I promised middle ground. Hobb excels where Martin stays a bit behind - at constructing action and propelling the events ahead. Reading the book, I actually felt that there was something happening all the time, that all the events were somehow linked and actually had importance. If you manage to engage yourself in the novels, I guarantee you that you will spend many long evenings following the adventures of Fitz and company.

There is one category of readers that won't enjoy this book, however. Remember, this is a female writer's work and this does show. Like in the case of Patricia McKillip's books, you won't get non-stop hack'n'slash here, nor tons of fireball-throwing wizard battles. If you want that kind of fantasy, switch over to Forgotten Realms, you'll find plenty of that there (just stay clear of Baldur's Gate!). If, however, you want a complex, action-filled, true fantasy story with convincing characters, this is a must-read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


143 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars finally, a fantasy novel for adults., December 25, 2000
By 
Yosef Abta (Tel Aviv Israel) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
This review refers to the whole series: Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy is very different from any other fantasy book you've ever read. The main difference is that it's not action-packed or even action-based. Oh, there's a lot of royal-court plotting and murder, there are battles and journies to distant lands, there is magic and magical creatures and all the other stuff you've learned to expect in a fantasy work - but somehow it's not the main thing, as is evident from the relatively slow-pacing of the plot. So if you're looking for a Robert Jordan kind of action-thriller - you better move on. But if you're an adult (emotionally, that is) and looking for something more substantial and profound - you've found the right book. The Farseer trilogy, as I have already said, is not action-based. Instead, it is charcter-based and relationship-based. it is concerned with the process of a young boy's maturing and becoming a man and an adult (in an environment which is mostly hostile) more than it is concerned with the machinations of a royal court, or the hero's training as a royal assasin. It depicts in great accuracy and detail the relationships between the hero and those around him - various father-figures, the women in his life, his enemies, and the animals he becomes magically attached to. In a sense, it is the most "realistic" fantasy novel i've ever read - not because the world described in the books is realistic, but because the relationships described seem "real": Hobb employs real feelings and gives them psychological depth, her heroes experience real love and real hate, which are often hard' complicated, ambiguous, and have moral aspects that make them even harder. Not the adolescent clear-cut love/hate we've learned to expect from fantasy heroes. Hobbs heroes experience a wide range of emotions, complete with disappointment, disillusionment and acceptance - a vital part of growing up. In that sense, Hobb's books belong to the literary tradition and genre of the Bildungsroman (a novel of formation, initiation, self-development, of training and education), of which Dickens' "Great Expectations" is a prominent example (and indeed, while reading the farseer trilogy, you can sense the influence of Dickens on Hobb's themes, mood, and character development - the disillusionment and acceptance element in particular).This genre is described in some cases as "an apprenticeship to life" (Assasin's Apprentice...) and "a search for meaningful existence within society". Hobb's hero, Fitz, finally finds his "meaningful existence" within his society and social order by making a great sacrifice (for his loved-ones and for his king), at a great cost to himself - thats what we all do when we grow up, don't we? that's another aspect of Hobb's realism - despite the final victory of the "good" in the novel, it is a bitter victory, not the superficial happy-end we know from other books. the fact that the novel is relationship-based is also reflected in the original magic-systems brilliantly devised by Hobbs for the Farseer world. It's not the kind of magic that gives you the ability to bring down lightning or throw a fire ball. it is a communication-based magic system, based on feeling, empathy and a mutual bond (or hate and emotional abuse, when the bad guys use it), between humans, or between a human and an animal. It gives Hobbs an opportunity to use the magic as an amplifier of feelings - brilliant. I've read a few of the reviews by other readers and I agree that the trilogy's end is a bit disappointing - elements of the plot are wrapped up hastily and without a satisfactory explanation. A lot of story elements are left in the dark. but the weak points of the ending concern the fantasy and plot elements of the story - which, as i already said, are not the main thing in this novel.from the emotional aspect, i think the ending is still very powerful and moving. In short, the farseer trilogy is a fantasy novel for adults. If you're ready to commit, to experience real emotions (good and bad), you're in for a treat. Robin Hobb's books stand out among modern fantasy works - they are among the few which can be considered real literary efforts, not just adventure books for kids.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


144 of 167 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL CHARACTERS IN AN UNEXCITING WORLD, December 25, 2005
This review is from: Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
Robin Hobb is a "she" not a "he". Just wanted to clarify that right away, since I saw quite a few reviewers thinking she is male. To be honest, I made the same mistake too when I saw this book.

Before I wrote this review I looked at other people's reviews and I have to say that I agree with the 5 star people on some topics and I sympathize with the 1 star people on others.

The way I see it, this book has two major strong points and one major weak point.

WEAK POINT#1: This book is not very exciting. Honestly. Take a good, hard look at the cover art of this book. What do you see? A keep/castle, an old man, a young boy, and a dog. Exactly. If you decide to read this book I am warning you now that this is the bulk of what you will be reading about for the next 300 pages. There is one little adventure for about a chapter around page 140, but that's all. The rest of those 300 pages is character development and training (learn how to be an assassin, learn how to use the Skill, learn how to have table-manners, learn how to tend to dogs and horses). If you're looking for huge battle scenes or massive amounts of magic power being thrown around, look elsewhere.

STRONG POINT#1: The character development is really good. I already told you that the story is not exciting. So why, I ask myself, were the pages flying so fast?! The characters in this book are--for the most part--believable, but most of all, likable. When I finished reading the book I really wanted to know more about certain characters (in my case, the Fitz-Molly storyline was rather interesting to me).

STRONG POINT#2: This story, for the most part, is original and different. Really.

In this book, you get not one, but two mentor-figures and two magical forces. No dragons, no big battles and when was the last time you read a fantasy story about a youth studying to be an assassin? Kudos to Robin Hobb for thinking outside the box.

OVERALL: In addition to the beginning being unexciteful, I was really disappointed with Fitz's first real assassination. But the end of this book made up for the 300 pages that just went on and on.

I really doubt if I will read this book a second time. The very thought of having to reread 300 pages of character development (although admittedly well done) just does not appeal to me.

But I am pretty sure I will read the next book in the series, because now that I've grown fond of these characters I can't just ignore them.

RATING: 3.75
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and sensitive, but not for everyone, January 5, 2007
By 
Jade (Hong Kong) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
An avid reader of fantasy, I was delighted to discover Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy. Hobbs is no Tolkein or Martin but she has created a world that is compelling as well as convincing. Her remarkable sensitivity towards her characters and the issues they face caused some people to abandon the novels, complaining that they were too slow or whiny, but other readers found her voice unique and soothing.

You might want to look into the Farseer Trilogy if you enjoy...

1) Interesting magic. The telepathic magic in Fitz Chivalry's world - Skill and Wit - are interesting breaks from the spell-casting, and Hobbs give a detailed and compelling description of their history, power and (most importantly) pitfalls.

2) Political intrigue. Nothing as intense as Dune or the Song of Ice and Fire series, but enough political schemes, treachery, betrayal and complex diplomatic relationships to make you recognize that this is not a "kiddy" book.

3) Convincing, vivid characters. Many of the characters are well written and developed, especially Kettricken, Verity and the Fool.

4) Psychological struggles and themes. Hobb's strength is how she dares to present complex issues and themes in her novels. The stories explore the meaning of love, honor, privacy, and the dilemma of loyalty: whether it is "loyal" to obey a sick/corrupted king or act in your own judgment for the kingdom's own good.

You might want to avoid Farseer if...

1) You like action and violence. As another reader had written, this book is relationship-based and not action-based. There is action, of course - battles against the red ships - but they are not written to be graphic in nature. Even in battles, Hobbs focus more on the emotion aspect of the war and the intellectual aspect - if you can call it intellectual - i.e. the planning, the schemes etc.

2) You need humor in your stories. This series is mostly serious, sometimes reflective, and occasionally sprinkled with wisdom and original insight. If you want more humor in your stories, I'd suggest you to read Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, which has elements of magic, intrigue, violence, plus one of the funniest characters I have ever met (Tyrion).

3) You want to feel happy after reading. The Farseer Trilogy is an emotionally draining series; in a way it is reminiscent of Lord of the Ring - when you are reading it, you have the feeling that every victory is temporary and every loss had a huge toll, and eventually everybody would be broken. Readers who want to feel satisfied or looking for a light reading may not want to read the Farseer trilogy.

However, no matter how short the victories are, they are always exhilarating and relinquished. In the end, it really boils down to your preference. But I think Hobbs is a good writer and she shows great promise and talent. You should definitely try reading the "Assassin's Apprentice" to see if you enjoy her style of writing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bonding the Fantasy Reader, October 20, 2000
By 
"bawrence" (Victor, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
I am writing only one review article for the each of Robin Hobb's two trilogies since I am convinced that hardly anyone would begin to read the first book and then decide not to continue on.
Why do I make this claim about the Farseer trilogy? The reader's commitment is not conventional suspense, as it is in most fantasy and adventure fiction. We know from the beginning that the man who writes his story, Fitzchivalry, will survive. He is, after all, the one who writes. (The whole trilogy is told from his point of view, but he is gifted with magical powers, the Wit and the Skill which sometimes make him privy to the doings and thoughts of others.) We also know from the first few paragraphs of Assassin's Apprentice that he will not survive unscathed. He tells us plainly as he begins his history that each letter he writes "scabs over some ancient scarlet wound." The fact that we know about how the story is going to "come out" does not relax the hold this writing has on us in the least - Fitz has us rooting for him all the way. We are in his corner and feel his sorrow when his mother is forced to leave him at the doorstep of his paternal grandfather, the king. We know this pain is still there, even though, through nearly the whole of all three books, Fitz never can never speak about it directly, and refuses to remember it. We are with him when he seeks out (or is seduced and used by?) other parental substitutes, when he reaches out to animals and peers for friendship, and when he experiences his first romance. The central theme of the trilogy, is, in fact, emotional bonding - bonds of love that are formed, tested, sometimes betrayed, sometimes sacrificed, transformed or sublimated for a cause. I will not say "higher" or "greater" cause because we must make up our own minds whether the sacrifices are futile or worthwhile. Robin Hobb steadfastly refuses to preach to us or give us easy answers. Most of us have not been used as a child soldier or "special operations" agent as Fitz was. But for most of us there will be something about Fitz - some emotion that he describes tersely and vividly - that will ring very true. For some it may be loneliness, others regret at taking a wrong turn somewhere and not being able to get back. For some it will be guilt for pain inflicted upon others.
The ultimate reason most readers will keep reading all three books, then, is emotional bonding. They will feel that they have adopted Fitz, and have accepted him as their brother - Brother Human. For most readers, this will be a most worthwhile and memorable experience.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing -- medieval story with a dark-side, June 25, 1999
By 
jolie moon (Houston, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
I picked this book on a lark -- I just wanted to try a new writer. What a reward from Robin Hobb! This medieval fantasy has a real dark gothic element to it -- a bastard child is trained to be an assassin. He senses dark magical powers within himself yet cannot master the skills to use them. In a twisted way, he is loyal, and even to love (perhaps), the people who use him in the worst way. I think the characters are well-filled and realistic; characters have varying shades of evil and good, sometimes all at once. The author really captures the quirks of human nature -- and the coincidence of one action having far-reaching effects. And the Fool adds an element that someone or something is controlling events beyond everyone's perception. Governments are portrayed in a cynical light -- heroes presented to the masses are actually traitors in secret. Rulers turn blind eyes to treachery -- out of true political blindness or simply waiting to fight some battle on another day.
Very interesting. I am definitely going to read the next book in the series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a must read for fantasy/magic buffs!, July 6, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
Having read all three books in this series, I can honestly say that this is the best new fantasy series I've read since Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince series. Robin Hobb (pseudonym?) has created a truely unique set of characters that have very rich qualities. Her unlikely hero is utterly fascinating and her use of magic (the wit) is a great new spin for this genre. I would heartily recommend this book for the following reasons:
1. Its stunning descriptions. 2. New & interesting magic. 3. Very vivid characters that act in very human (i.e. non-steriotypical) ways. 4. The whole spin on assasination being a profession is totally cool. 5. This is the first magic based book that I've read in some time that does not use the same old magic and monsters.
In summary, if you liked "The Hobbit", "The Dragon Prince", "Wizard's First Rule", L. E. Modesitt's "Recluse" series, etc., you will probably love Robin Hobb's "Assasins" book. I know I did!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FANTASTIC & unconventional new fantasy, November 13, 2001
This review is from: Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the gripping premier of a thoughtful and original new trilogy! I picked this book up based on the fantastic cover art by Michael Whelan. After reading the back cover, I wasn't certain, but I decided to put down the five bucks or so to buy the mass market paperback. Boy, am I glad I did! I bought the second volume in trade, and was waiting at the bookstore for the third volume in hardcover.
Robin Hobb is wonderfully original, and her characterization is fantastic! You never catch her characters doing anything that makes you say, "Wait a minute, he wouldn't do that! He's just not like that!" They are flawed characters, some of them tragic, some of them flawed by the very virtues they embody. Fitz is a stubborn, willful boy, but he is also a very likeable boy. The Fool is a mystery, always speaking in riddles that sometimes seem wise and sometimes seem like nonsense. Chade is dark, but also a sort of father-figure to Fitz, as is Burrich.
The narrative is well-paced, the prose comfortable. The characters are drawn with wonderful attention to detail and stay true to themselves. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Hobb isn't actually as new to writing as you may think...Robin Hobb is a pen name for Megan Lindholm, so you might want to check out her other books, too!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but disappointing, December 27, 2004
By 
This review is from: Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
I was a big fan of George RR Martin's Song of Fire and Ice series and the Farseer series comes up as the top rec--and the premise would lead you to believe that the Farseer series would have similar gradations of good and evil and unique and surprising conflicts and resolutions. But after an enjoyable setup, the action and characters in the first book (Assassin's Apprentice), resolve themselves in predictable ways.

The premise--that a young [...]would be trained to be a Royal Assassin, is a fascinating and rich premise. Hobb does do well in making the hero, FitzChivalry, likeable and honorable. She also spend a lot of time going over his development.

But ultimately, the amiability of the main character is one reason why the book is disappointing. For an interesting topic as assassinations and royal intrigue, Hobb doesn't paint many grey characters--they are all good or bad and who are whom are not surprising at all.

Most disappointing is that Fitz's training, as both assassin, scribe, herbologist, musician, artist, or even groomsman, is hardly put to use. That's almost unforgiveable as Hobb did such a good job describing all of the experiences which add up to his training.

In conclusion, it's definitely an above average read, but don't hold your breath for character or plot twists.

I will continue to read the series because the other reviews here are so positive and I have hope that the series gets more intriguing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 290 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1)
Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) by Robin Hobb (Mass Market Paperback - March 1, 1996)
$7.99 $6.00
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.