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Assassin’s Apprentice

The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1
Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
Series: Farseer Trilogy, Book 1, Realms of the Elderlings, Book 1
Length: 17 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,920 ratings)

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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
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Performance

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Story

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  • 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.

83 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

56 people found this helpful

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

A narration that subtracts rather than adds

Paul Boehmer reads from the American edition of this book and, for those like me who are listening to his narration and following the text simultaneously, there are enough changes of words and sentence structure to become a distracting annoyance. The idiosyncrasy of his pronunciation and pacing have been commented upon by others. It is deathly slow and I opted to use a x1:25 speed to get some momentum. Some of his misplaced words I can only imagine a reading errors as they make no sense in context. I found his reading lacked characterisation and did nothing to elucidate the intrigues of the plot. I will try the sequel without him in the hope that I find it more engaging.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    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.

5 people found this helpful

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

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.

17 people found this helpful

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

Dull and it went nowhere.

I really tried to like this book and gave it every chance to rip me and 3 chapters from the end I just gave up without the slightest care or curiosity as to how it would end. It's slow and dull and I could not bring myself to care about the story at all. Really disappointed that a book with such a promising title had nothing in the way of action to speak of.

The narration was awful with a clearly American voice actor trying to sound British and over pouncing words and just making me cringe.

This is just one man's opinion but I think something was lost in the translation from German, found the same to be true with The Witcher series when I read those too, as they were translated from Polish.

The book has a lot of fans however, so if you do decide to read the book, I hope that you find it to be worth your time and enjoy as much as I hated it.

3 people found this helpful

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

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.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    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.

2 people found this 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

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    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.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-09-18

Superb story, excelent narration

This book has everything: adventures, captivating storyline, rich personalities, no white and black separation, just grayzones everythere. Almost always you are left to judge if something is moral or not, mostly you are left only wondering if you could make decision in those many unpleasant circumstances.
I like the book when i can believe in the story. Almost in every book ilike i find some spot which i think was to naive/silly etc. But in this book those are very few (nose story for example was too stretched).
I found in comments that narration was bad. But in my opinion it was very good, as non-native english 'listener' i found narrator very easy to follow and enjoyed my time. in some other audiobooks i have to adapt to narrator very long time.

2 people found this helpful

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

1 person found this helpful

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

3 people found this helpful

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

7 people found this helpful

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

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mattias
  • 02-01-20

Intriguing

The first installment of the Farseer series does not disappoint. It sucks you right in with memorable characters and moments that makes you insists to yourself that you will only listen 5 more minutes.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-12-19

Ready for book 2!

CW: child neglect, child abuse, animal death, ableist slurs, drug abuse, mention of vomiting, underage drinking, slavery, murder, death, poisoning, racial slurs (s*vage)

<i><b>Audiobook Review</b></i>

A ride, friends. A whole wild ass ride. It took a moment for the story to pick up, let me tell you. I almost gave up listening coz the story wasn't going, but when it did, it really went.

I think what I like about this book is that in as much as it has worldbuilding, it gives me time to like or hate characters, it focused on the characters too. Like a lot if the time with fantasy, so much is put into worldbuilding that the characters fall short, but here I think it focused on the chacarters and have me reason to support or dislike them.

I cannot wait to read more about the people from the Red Ships, I can't wait to know what they're doing and how they're doing it and why they're doing it. I'm actually really more curious and interested about them and book 2 better give me more than just hints of what they're doing!

ALSO, I want Fitz to be illogically strong and talented and I want him to be amazing (I always want that for the main character though) and I low-key want him to be king, or even like a bridge between the the Outislanders and the inislanders. Give me drama and antrigue and a broken heart, ma'am!

I really enjoyed this and cannot wait to read along to the next book because I know my heart is going to be broken and I am going to be stressed out if my mind!

P. S. Who is 'the fool' and what does he know? Why is he keeping secrets from us 😭

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Justin Z.
  • 24-08-19

Really good fantasy fic

The plot is original and based on interesting takes on powers and Magics in a sparsely populated but well described and articulated landscape. The protagonist’s developmental arc is really worked well and manages to create an interesting hero. The narrator uses an oddly posh voice with stretched Ohs for the protagonist but really delivers magnificently the voices of the other characters.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Raul
  • 16-06-19

Excellent story and performance

This story at times made me chuckle or a spill a tear. Truly incredible book!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hadrian
  • 18-04-19

Wow

Such an amazing book.
Can't believe how good this was. Great story.
Shame that the audio feels a bit outdated. But either way a great listen none the less.