As a fantasy reader, I’m always on the lookout for my next great adventure.
But Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice is the book that made me want to write fiction.
I’d worked as a professional writer throughout my twenties and early-thirties in both academia and journalism, and I knew I wanted to write a novel.
In 2013, I’d just turned thirty, I was a new dad, and I read Assassin’s Apprentice for the first time.
I fell in love with Fitz’s story from the very first page. He is a complex and relatable character who is easy to care about and I quickly found myself invested in his journey.
And of course, there is the Fool—the non-binary court jester, and mentor to Fitz who repels and intrigues those around him in equal measure. Over the nine-book series, we get to watch one of the best platonic love stories in fiction play out.
The writing is excellent. Hobb’s prose is evocative and poetic, making for a truly immersive reading experience. Her attention to detail, whether in describing the world or the characters, is remarkable and adds to the realism of the story.
The world-building in Assassin’s Apprentice is incredible. Hobb has created a rich and detailed world that is both believable and fantastical. The world of the Six Duchies is one that I found myself fully immersing in and exploring, and I couldn’t help but feel like I was right there alongside Fitz.
The book deals with the themes of identity, belonging, and the nature of power, the inevitable clash between duty and desire (which is something I find myself revisiting again and again in my own fiction). Hobb explores these themes with subtlty and nuance that makes the story feel grounded in reality.
The plot itself is expertly crafted, unfurling slowly, but in a way that never drags. It is full of twists and turns that keep readers guessing.
Assassin’s Apprentice and the rest of the Farseer series is essential reading for anyone who loves character-driven epic fantasy.
And I’m sure that if you have read my Ravenglass Chronicles series, you will see her influence on my writing.
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