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Summary

The first volume in Robin Hobb’s internationally best-selling Farseer series.

In a faraway land where 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 Chilvary Farseer, 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 embrace a new life of weaponry, scribbing, courtly manners, and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

©2012 Robin Hobb (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

“Hobb is one of the great modern fantasy writers … what makes her novels as addictive as morphine is not just their imaginative brilliance but the way her characters are compromised and manipulated by politics.” ( The Times)
“In today’s crowded fantasy market Robin Hobb’s books are like diamonds in a sea of zircons” (George R. R. Martin)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    722
  • 4 Stars
    351
  • 3 Stars
    107
  • 2 Stars
    26
  • 1 Stars
    20

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    530
  • 4 Stars
    308
  • 3 Stars
    152
  • 2 Stars
    57
  • 1 Stars
    39

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    706
  • 4 Stars
    266
  • 3 Stars
    73
  • 2 Stars
    31
  • 1 Stars
    11
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Great book but the narrator is all wrong!

I really love this book and the series. I was thrilled to see that an audio book was available. But I am disappointed because the narrator's voice is all wrong. Why on earth is the narrator an American doing an English accent? Surely just use an English narrator or an American accent instead? It's really starting to grate on me now and I'm only an hour in.

48 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • 07-02-13

A good trilogy but...

I enjoyed the story very much and so had to listen to the other two books in the series. However, this was certainly in spite of rather than because of the narrator. I bought this book without listening to the sample audio and in some ways I wish I hadn't as it meant that I then spent around 84hrs listening to a very unconvincing English accent! As I say, after hearing the first book, I had to find out how the trilogy finished as I was engrossed in the story and characters but if the writing wasn't so good I definitely wouldn't have persevered with the narrator.

If an English accent is required for the whole of a book, please let it be read by some English, not an American doing a bad impression, putting stress on the wrong syllables in words, it is very off-putting.

But ff you don't mind the accent then I highly recommend this and the other two books in the series.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Steven
  • Valencia, Spain
  • 28-09-13

Both reader and author make this a long slog.

The reader reads this the way I ate my vegetables when I was a child. With grim determination and very, very slowly. He delivers every line with a ponderous weight to it that makes it feel like the end of a scene or the end of a chapter. Its very disconcerting. I must say it’s a bit of a grim experience listening to fourteen hours of it.

The story itself suffers from fantasy sickness. Never tell a story in 8 hours if you can make it stretch to 14. At one point the author makes his main character say ‘the ride to xxxx was tedious and long’ then spends the next forty mins of the talking book describing the ride!

On the other hand there is good stuff in there and I’v bought the second book to see if I can hold on and get to the third and hopefully a resolution.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb return to an old friend

Would you consider the audio edition of Assassin's Apprentice to be better than the print version?

It has been so long since I read it I can't remember.......it is a very different experience having it read to you. I would judge the audiobook as superb as it enables multi tasking, but nothing beats that first visit to an unknown land with a book in your hands.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Assassin's Apprentice?

Robin Hobb writes uniformly. That is, she doesn't build a story to a dramatic conclusion like Gemmell but instead weaves a rich tapestry of characters and background and often places unremarkable heroes and heroines in there to make the best they can. She's a master at it and I love her work, but it means that picking a moment out from this book is difficult as I don't feel it has peaks and troughs, just a consistent pace and depth.

What about Paul Boehmer’s performance did you like?

I thought for the most part he read well, and his English accent was not as Dick Van Dyke as some complain. He does have some really weird ways of saying certain words though which jolted me out of the fantasy. It's sausages not sawsages, dog not dorg and passage not parsage for example. People walking nearby when his mispronunciation of the English language made me shout out in frustration must have thought I was mad :)

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not really.

Any additional comments?

If you read the print version and want someone else to read it to you again so you can get on with something else at the same time, get this book. If you are a fan of Robin Hobb and haven't read this trilogy yet, get this book. The narrators strange pronunciation isn't so bad that it put me off buying the next two.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jai
  • Bristol, United Kingdom
  • 23-09-13

Do Not Purchase!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The narrator is awful and it is questionable as to wether it is a real person or a computer program. The inflection in the voice is wrong for the sentence and there are unnecessary pauses in the middle of centences.

This audiobook is detrimental to the author of the book as after listening to a few minutes It was so bad I had to turn it off. I've read the whole series and loved them, but I cant even listen to this.

What was most disappointing about Robin Hobb’s story?

Nothing

How could the performance have been better?

Change the narrator

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

None, I wish i hadnt bought this audiobook as I cant listen to more than a few minutes of it.

15 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

When was this recorded?

I eventually got used to the voice but the quality of the recording I thought was poor. Overall I enjoyed it but a different narrator and better quality recording would have made the experience a whole lot better

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

great book - bad british accent

Love the book and have read it numerous times, but the narrator's British accent really grates on the ears - more like Dick Van Dyke from Mary Poppins than Renee Zellweiger's excellent british accent in Bridget Jones. Definitely recommend try before you buy this one, as I am sure some people will not notice anything wrong and will enjoy this book and narrator thoroughly.

Having been a member for over a year now, I was very disappointed and I have been unable to listen to this book - having tried for over 30 minutes unsuccessfully. However, I have learned a valuable lesson - listen to the sample and don't trust that every narrator will be to your/one's taste.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story but please get the narration redone

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

A great story and the start of a fantastic series by an established and very talented author.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Fitz, obviously ;)

How could the performance have been better?

The performance was dreadful. Please do not attempt an English accent if you are not a natural UK English speaker. This isn't a movie or TV, it's a 15 hour audio book, it simply doesn't work forcing a terrible plumbish accent down our ears for that length of time - simply terrible. I've since googled the narrator and can see he's American and also very accomplished and his natural voice would have been a great improvement. Whomever directed him to put on that awful accent for the whole book was seriously misguided. The challenge for me is whether I can grin and bear it for another two books until the narrator changes? I hope they get them redone, this trilogy is worth more than this and it shouldn't be a case of persevering - I know it's a great story, I'd like to enjoy it please and Robin Hobb's work certainly deserves better.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Numerous

Any additional comments?

I'm revisiting an old favourite with this series but this time in audiobook format. I bought them in print years ago and loved them and thought, given the time that's passed, it's time for another go but this time through the headphones. The story is still great (and fully recommended) but that narrator with the terrible accent? He's killing it for me. If you are not from the UK don't try to force a U.K. english accent for 14-15 hours, that's just ridiculous.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Its so boring

i just kept forgetting what had happened 5 minutes before, nothing exciting or interesting is going on and i can't for the life of me continue.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ky
  • 08-06-17

voice acting wasn't great.

The Voice performance was up and down, felt unrehearsed in parts and forgotten in others.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ratna
  • 01-03-15

Robin hobb did u pick this narrator?

Read a hard copy some years ago-wonderful rich enchanting. But I really hope robin hobb rethinks the narrator....grating, classist and way to refined and constricted to create the variation in voices this story deserved😢

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 27-04-17

Good story, disappointing performance.

It actually took me a while to be brave enough to purchase this book. Many friends have recommended me Robin Hobb's work but when I listened to the samples I just didn't think I could bear the narration.
I normally prefer books narrated with a British presenter, but as this book is written in a first person style the performance is spoken in a horrible upper-class English accent. H's are dropped ehverywhhere (!). Which is a shame because most of the other characters in this book are performed quite well and that's actually what makes the book ok to listen to.
The story is solid. A growing-up up story for the most part about a boy making his way in court as a royal bastard. And a few little adventures with a bit of court intrigue at the end. You can tell the author is just setting the scene for what's to come.
It's well written and the characters are multi-dimensional and interesting. Overall I enjoyed it - yes would have been better with a different narrator but it didn't completely ruin it for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tomas Stegura
  • 06-07-18

Do you like dogs?

If you are a dog person, then this book will have a bigger significance to you. I enjoyed it fully and it ended with a lot of emotion. Certainly recommended

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 22-05-18

Great story narration leaves some to be desired

The narration has some pretty glaring issues with the sound level, sometimes the narration fades off so much that it is impossible to hear just to be restored when I have turned the volume up. Sometimes it seems to coincide with the characters whispering, but I feel that it is a poor production that leves me fiddling with the volume because the characters are whispering.
On a more subjective note I find the narration overly shakespearian(is that a word?) creating a wall between me and the events of the story, I feel very much like I'm being told a bedtime story by captain Picard and not so much as I am part of the action. Which does in some way make sense for the way the book is written but still it is not a perfect fit for me.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Evgeny
  • 24-01-18

Gripping story, very slow reader

Excellent book, loved the story and characters. Some heartbreaking twists. Beautiful vocabulary. Believable dialogues and motivations. World building is a bit sparce. VERY... SLOW... NARRATOR... Had to listen on 1.5 speed, otherwise was put to sleep in 10 minutes :)

Will get the rest of the books by this author.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Atle
  • 02-04-17

Good story and narrator

Liked the story, finished the book rather quickly. People seem to complain about the narrator, but I cant say that I agree. At some points every now and then he seems to not pause when it seems he should've, but other than that I find his narration good.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mateusz Drachal
  • 24-10-16

Dull at the beginning better towards the end

This book was quite boring for the first half but still a good piece of writing. When compared to other books from the genre the action unfolds slowly. A good book for long nights.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-08-16

brilliant

An engrossing story even though Hobb likes to torture her protagonist. This is the start of a fantastic series.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Annique Smith
  • 24-06-16

Excellent

I loved the story and the narrator. I can't wait to listen to the next one.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Nokip
  • 10-01-15

dident finnish

just cant seem care about it and didnt finish it. I think the style of dialog put me of

1 of 2 people found this review helpful