6 Fantasy Books With Apprentices You’ve Never Heard Of

Fantasy books with apprentices often feature an inspiring coming of age tale, a heartwarming relationship between mentor and apprentice, and more.

Some of them – like Eragon, The Way of Shadows or Assassin’s Apprentice – are well-know. But are you curious what stories are out there that you may have never heard of?

If so, this post has a list for you.

Here are 6 fantasy books with apprentices to read:

I’ve included book descriptions, readers’ ratings and summaries of positive and negative comments for each one of these fantasy novels. 

On the other hand, here’s a comparison chart if you’d prefer a quick summary.

Age of Assassins by R.J. Barker


To catch an assassin, use an assassin…

Book cover of Age of Assassins

Girton Club-foot, apprentice to the land’s best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives.

But his latest mission tasks him and his master with a far more difficult challenge: to save a life.

Someone, or many someones, is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton and his master to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince’s murder.

In a kingdom on the brink of civil war and a castle thick with lies Girton finds friends he never expected, responsibilities he never wanted, and a conspiracy that could destroy an entire kingdom.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.98

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

First on the list of fantasy books with apprentices is Age of Assassins.

This assassin story is jam-packed with mystery and political intrigue. Readers who enjoyed the book came in expecting it to be similar to Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, a novel they also loved. They weren’t disappointed: it’s a character-driven story with a main character who’s easy to empathize with.

Moreover, readers remarked that the master-apprentice relationship between Girton and Merela was both heartwarming and a highlight.

Other readers mentioned that they greatly enjoyed the plot, a rare combination of a mystery and a traditional fantasy. Not only did these readers find it made the book unique, but it also captivated them.

Negative Comments

So if readers didn’t enjoy Age of Assassins, what did they say?

Well, most of these reader expected a thriller bristling with anti-heroes, electrifying fight scenes and a game of cat-and-mouse. Since Age of Assassins is very much a character-driven novel, it didn’t match their expectations.

Other readers said that they thought the mystery plot didn’t have enough suspense. Due to this, these readers found it difficult to get deeply interested in the story until toward the end of the book.

Foundation by Mercedes Lackey


Mags had been working at the Pieters’s mine, slaving in the dark, cold seams, looking for sparklies, for as long as he could remember. The children who worked the mine were orphans, kids who had been abandoned, who had lost their parents, or were generally unwanted. But Mags was different.

Mags was “Bad Blood,” because his parents were bandits who had been killed in a raid by the Royal Guard. “Bad Blood” because he’d been found in a cradle in the bandits’s camp. Blood so bad that no one had wanted to take him in except Cole Pieters.

When he was big enough to see over the sides of the sluices he had gone to work at the mine. Mags knew nothing of the world beyond the mine, and was unaware of how unusual his paltry existence was. Then some strangers on huge white horses forced their way past the Pieters family and carried him away to Haven to become a Herald Trainee.

Suddenly the whole world opened up for him. He was warm and well fed for the first time in his life, and he had Dallen, his Companion, who seemed more miraculous than an angel. But the world of the Collegium was not all heavenly.

There was political upheaval in Valdemar’s capital, for the court had been infiltrated by foreign “diplomats,” who seemed to be more interested in seeding discontent than in actual diplomacy…and Mags seemed to be the only one who’d noticed.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.01

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Second on our list of fantasy books with apprentices is Foundation by Mercedes Lackey. This story enchanted fans, stirring their emotions through its immersive world and endearing protagonist, Mags.

Overall, fans praised the novel for its characters’ depth, saying that the characters seemed so real that readers felt transported alongside them. Others said that Mags’ perspective made them appreciate the simple things in life, especially as he discovers them for the first time.

In general, fans described Foundation as perfect for those looking for a warm, feel-good book to read.

Negative Comments

What did Foundation‘s critics say?

These readers pointed to either its plot or its ending. They frequently said that the book focused too heavily on character development and this caused its plot to meander. By the time they reached the end, critics thought it seemed rushed.

The Naming by Alison Croggon


Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child after her family is destroyed in war. She is unaware that she possesses a powerful gift, one that marks her as a member of the School of Pellinor.

It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true heritage and extraordinary destiny unfold.

Now she and her new teacher must survive a journey through a time and place where the forces they battle stem from the deepest recesses of otherworldly terror.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.01

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Third on our list of fantasy books with apprentices is The Naming. This fantasy novel captivated readers with its refreshing magic system, immersive world, and its classic fantasy tale.

Fans remarked on how similar it was to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in terms of its plot, characters and in its descriptive writing style. While it was similar, the similarities were done very well. In addition, many said that it reminded them of the warm and familiar experience of reading Tolkien’s work, and that it had a similar magic.

Others mentioned that Maerad, The Naming‘s protagonist, was a enjoyable character to read about. Accompanying her on her journey to discover her potential and growing abilities was a delight.

Negative Comments

If critics didn’t enjoy The Naming, they tended to focus on its slow pace. These readers felt that the frequent descriptions of landscapes, cultures and characters felt excessive.

Others mentioned that at one point, the book details Maerad having her first period. Critics said that the story dwells on this for long enough that it was off-putting.

The Hills Have Spies by Mercedes Lackey


In this new series, set in the bestselling world of Valdemar, Heralds Mags and Amily must continue to protect the realm of Valdemar while raising their children and preparing them to follow in their footsteps.

Mags, Herald Spy of Valdemar, and his wife, Amily, the King’s Own Herald, are happily married with three kids. The oldest, Peregrine, has the Gift of Animal Mindspeech — he can talk to animals and persuade them to act as he wishes. Perry’s dream is to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Herald Spy, but he has yet to be Chosen by a Companion.

Mags is more than happy to teach Perry all he knows. He regularly trains his children, including Perry, with tests and exercises, preparing them for the complicated and dangerous lives they will likely lead. Perry has already held positions in the Royal Palace as a runner and in the kitchen, useful places where he can learn to listen and collect information.

But there is growing rural unrest in a community on the border of Valdemar. A report filled with tales of strange disappearances and missing peddlers is sent to Haven by a Herald from the Pelagirs.

To let Perry experience life away from home and out in the world, Mags proposes that his son accompany him on an expedition to discover what is really going on.

During their travels, Perry’s Animal Mindspeech allows him to communicate with the local wildlife of the Pelagirs, whose connection to the land aids in their investigation. But the details he gleans from the creatures only deepen the mystery.

As Perry, Mags, and their animal companions draw closer to the heart of the danger, they must discover the truth behind the disappearances at the border — before those disappearances turn deadly.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating3.62

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with apprentices is The Hills Have Spies. What did fans say?

Overall, they praised The Hills Have Spies as a warm, comforting tale featuring a compelling father and son relationship, coming of age story line, and adventure.

Unlike its grittier counterparts, The Hills Have Spies struck readers as a wholesome read that made them appreciate the simple things in life. For instance, a soft bed, good food and more.

While the book had excitement and danger, it’s ultimately a story where goodness triumphs over evil and there is a happily ever after. Fans considered this a wonderful highlight.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? In general, these readers mentioned two reasons for why they didn’t enjoy The Hills Have Spies.

The first was that they didn’t think the story conveyed a sense of urgency, even though the stakes were high. Because of this, they didn’t feel a strong desire to know what would happen next.

The second was that several of the characters’ decisions or plot events seemed artificial rather than, say, true to their personalities.

The Once and Future King by T.H. White


Book cover of The Once and Future King

Once upon a time, a young boy called “Wart” was tutored by a magician named Merlyn in preparation for a future he couldn’t possibly imagine.

A future in which he would ally himself with the greatest knights, love a legendary queen and unite a country dedicated to chivalrous values.

A future that would see him crowned and known for all time as Arthur, King of the Britons.
During Arthur’s reign, the kingdom of Camelot was founded to cast enlightenment on the Dark Ages, while the knights of the Round Table embarked on many a noble quest.

But Merlyn foresaw the treachery that awaited his liege: the forbidden love between Queen Guenever and Lancelot, the wicked plots of Arthur’s half-sister Morgause and the hatred she fostered in Mordred that would bring an end to the king’s dreams for Britain — and to the king himself.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.08

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with apprentices is The Once and Future King, which many readers found after learning that this was the book Disney used as the basis for their movie, The Sword and the Stone.

Because of this, most positive reviewers came in expecting that it would have a humorous tone and references to modern places, people and events. These readers said that The Once and Future King was witty, entertaining and just an overall fantastic re-imagining of King Arthur legends.

Others mentioned that they appreciated how the story tackled the ‘big questions’, touching on questions such as, “is human nature primarily good or evil?” and even “What is the meaning of life?”

True to the Arthur legend, the story ends in tragedy, but readers mentioned that this ending was moving, powerful and resonated with thematic depth.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy the book, they often mentioned that they expected a serious fantasy story. As such, it disappointed them that the book had a whimsical and fairy tale tone instead. These readers sometimes commented that the anachronisms, while funny, also ruined the mood for them.

Other readers, however, commented that after the first part of the book, the story began to depress them. In line with the Arthurian legend, The Once and Future King became more and more tragic as it progressed.

The Magicians’ Guild by Trudi Canavan


“We should expect this young woman to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician.”

This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work -— until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders…and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield.

What the Magicians’ Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.95

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Last on our list of fantasy books with apprentices is The Magician’s Guild.

This novel delighted fans with its likable, intriguing protagonist and exciting plot. They reported that while the beginning of the book took its time, it suddenly gained lighting-fast pace. At that point, every moment exhilarated them.

Fans also mentioned how much they enjoyed all the characters, all of whom were distinct and fleshed out the dynamics of the cast. However, Sonea, the protagonist, was often their favorite.

While gifted, Sonea also came across to them as kind, brave and realistic. Despite her immense powers, she wasn’t flawless and was instead easy to relate to.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about The Magician’s Guild?

Overall, these readers said they either didn’t connect with the characters or that they thought that the story’s world was thinly developed.

For the former, some said Sonea frustrated them because she tended to be a reactive protagonist rather than a proactive one. Her stubbornness and distrust, as well, reached the point where it bothered them. 

In terms of the story’s world though, critics described it as painted with too many generalizations. For instance, they described the story as defining entire character groups as either heroes or villains because of the actions of a single one of their members. Because of this, these critics thought the world-building was unconvincing.

6 Fantasy Books With Apprentices You’ve Never Heard Of

How Do These Fantasy Novels Compare?

6 Fantasy Books With Apprentices You’ve Never Heard Of


N.S. Mirage

I'm Natalie, an avid fantasy reader here to help readers find exciting, otherworldly books.

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