Overall, I was very much unimpressed by this book, and its sequels.
A friend (ahem, former friend) recommended this trilogy of books as a "great modern, fantasy series." So I'm ashamed to say that I've read the entire trilogy. I was promised each book gets better and better. They did not.
I'll say this for Robin Hobb, she writes beautifully and sets a grand stage.
...in regard to execution, however....
I'm sorry to say that the story is simply bland. We have an assassin, exquisitely trained, with little to lose, who does so very, very little! Virtually nothing!
In addition, you'll be presented with an ever-present storyline where the protagonist and his allies encounter obvious opposition and betrayal from among their own - and do nothing! The story paints the protagonists as perfectly equipped to deal harsh justice to the antagonists, but they do nothing over the course of three books!
'Suspension of disbelief' can only be applied to plot mechanisms, not the human nature of the characters.
I recommend you give this one a pass unless you're stranded on a desert island.
Fantasy is not my favorite genre. I do not like Tolkein or dragon-y stories. I do, however, like coming of age stories, stories of kids growing into roles or powers they were unaware they had, stories with social/political issues to be dealt with and stories with a hero fighting for good against evil. Star Wars, for example.
Ok, so now that you know what I like, I can say that this was a beautifully written book with a contrived world that is believable and very well-drawn characters that you really care about.. There are no faeries, elves or dragons or creatures. There is no magic but there is a power that these humans have that we don't, IF they can learn to tap into it. There are issues about power and politics aplenty. There is not a lot of action in this story. I saw one reviewer noted that it was therefore boring but to me the interpersonal relationships were the story. So, if you're looking for adventure and swashbuckling, look elsewhere.
The narrator is good enough. He didn't vary his voice much between characters and so sometimes I had difficulty telling who was speaking, but the authors writing always cleared that up really fast, as if it were written for such confusing audio issues, but it was not, of course. The narrator brings the right emotions in, the right pauses and sighs in...you know, just that extra touch that brings the story to life. The voice is of a much older man than the boy, pre-teen and teen in the story, but it is written as the character is reflecting back on this time from an older point of view, so it works.
Overall, solid writing, enjoyable listen.
Audiobook Junkie... Love all types of Science Fiction
I have listened to the whole series. Overall, I liked the world Robin Hobb created but the characters were a little frustrating at times. Also, the conclusion of this series wasn't that great. However, it did wrap things up for the most part and I felt compelled to keep buying into each book with my credits to get a conclusion. But it is really hard to sympathize with the main characters motivations and understand his loyalty rulers of this society. I have mixed feelings about some of the characters too. I just felt the story could have been written better and I think generally that is my opinion about some other Robin Hobb works I have listened to as well.
Despite those complaints I would still say this is worth a listen, but be prepared for a long story. This is a series about a boy coming of age and being outcast because of his blood. There is a mentor component and a struggle to find ones identity. There is also magic and adventure in the later books.
I should have been warned when main characters had names like Chivalry. Not a bad book by any means, but I think it skipped ahead too quickly. There wasn't enough dialogue to make a really epic audio book. Maybe I would have liked it more in print, where I can skim when bored, but I don't think it lends itself very well to this format.
Didn't love the narration. It almost made the male characters sound effeminate, which is not bad in itself, but really doesn't fit the character personalities.
The little epilogue was confusing and strange and should have been left out, I think. Didn't make me want to finish the series.
This is a solid high (but not epic) fantasy that has garnered quite a following, and not without good reason. It is very well developed and written. I wouldn't say there are a lot of new ideas here; the magic system is pretty subdued and the plot is all political intrigue. The biggest thing for me to get used to was the naming system; characters are named after traits they are desired to have, such as Chivalry and Regal and Verity.
Many reviewers have commented, and it is indeed quite true. This book is boring at times, even in audio. It's not that it is poorly written or a well developed plot. It just simply isn't that exciting. You have to be willing to follow the story of yet another hero who starts out as a punt, ignorant boy who has much to learn about the world. For some people this probably never gets old, but I prefer authors such as Brandon Sanderson whose heroes already start out fully developed.
Most of the main character's problems would have been solved or never would have occurred if people would simple hag told him what he needed to koror that they assumed he already knew. Indeed, the main character's ignorance seems to be the main antagonist for much of this story.
The narrator did a great job and fit the part perfectly; no complaints there at all.
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
Don't tell my wife, but I have a crush on Robin Hobb. She is by far my favorite fantasy writer. I read this book several years ago and loved it. When Audible put it on sale, I could not resist
This is a coming of age story and a world building book. The book starts when Fitz is only six years old. At the time he has no name. His mother never named the bastard of a royal prince. We are witness to and feel for the main character Fitz, like in most RH books, he is missed understood by almost everyone, but not as misunderstood as he thinks. RH builds characters better then anyone, so if you like character driven stories read any Robin Hobb book. This book also has some good dog characters.
I would suggest though, that you start with the "Liveship Traders" trilogy. It is by far the best, has lots more magic and Dragons. I usually don't care for a whole lot of magic, but no one is as imaginative as RH and the world she builds in Liveship Traders is unmatched.
It would be great if Audible could come out with Robin Hobb's earlier books that she wrote as Megan Lindholm. I would buy all of them Audible.
Mostly use audio books in planes these days. Know I really like a book when I find myself with earphones still on from home to hotel
I really liked this first book and performance. Well conceived universe that was somewhat contained in size and scope. The main character spends much of book 1 as a child/youth. The unfortunate BUT is books 2 and 3 become unbearably inconsistent and leave you wanting to slap the main character half the time for being so dense and stupid.
I'm just finishing the first book, and it's great. It has the same narrator as Brent Weeks Night Angel Trilogy, who does an amazing job. I became a huge fan of Robin Hobb years ago with the Farseer trilogy and now it's an audio book, awesome!
I was pleasantly surprised by this author. I was looking for a new series and tried her as an experiment. I hoped for the best and was not disappointed. The story was slow to build tension but the main character was easy to sympathize with. At first I thought the story was too slow but by the end of the book I was having trouble turning off the iPod. Give her a try. I think you'll like her.