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Publisher's 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

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    37
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    6

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • ratna
  • Northam, Australia
  • 03-01-15

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 5 people found this review helpful

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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

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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.

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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.

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brilliant

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

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Excellent

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

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  • Noel
  • Mount Gambier, Australia
  • 09-21-13

Good

Good. But, not my thing. I don't know why but I struggled with this. It is a great story, and I am sure others will love it.

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Mit Abstand meine Lieblingsgeschichte

Auch beim erneuten Hören immer wieder eine bittersüsse Freude in die Welt von Fitz einzutauchen. Der Erzähler haucht den Charakteren einfühlsam Leben ein.

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Engrossing

Where does Assassin’s Apprentice rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It rates right up at the top. It has become a favourite.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Apart from the main character Fitz I think Chade is my favourite because he is the one that needs the most unraveling. He is the Master Assassin the one character who has the most to unravel,.

Have you listened to any of Paul Boehmer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I enjoy this performance. The reading is very crisp and clear. I hate it when it is time to stop. Paul Boehmer really does bring the characters alive and takes you right into the story.

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

The moment when Fitz stabs King Shrewd's knife into Chade's hearth Defiantly.

Any additional comments?

Like I said this book has become a firm favourite, I've read it over and over. I love the court intrigue. The fast pace as the story unfolds.

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  • Rick
  • Perth, Australia
  • 03-11-13

A fun fantasy romp, but don't expect too much

What made the experience of listening to Assassin’s Apprentice the most enjoyable?

Good story, you care about the character

Any additional comments?

I did like the story overall, I liked and cared about the character and liked that he wasn't perfect and made mistakes on occasion. While its all very well to find out you're actually a prince (you find this out in the first paragraph, so its not a spoiler) its another to find that being a prince, and especially a bastard prince, is not all its cracked up to be. Everyone wants to use the hero for something, or dislikes him for reasons that have nothing to do with his own actions.

The narrator's accent on some words jerked me out of the story on occasion. It's also written in the first person, which I don't usually like but as there is a lot of head stuff (both emotional, and magical/mind powers) happening I can see why it was chosen. The style is a bit dated, I think these days it would be edited so it was a tighter story and moved along a little quicker. As it is there are some slow parts that don't need to be slow and just drag the story.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Lucy Clarke
  • 10-11-12

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.

35 of 38 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 02-07-13

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.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Steven
  • 09-28-13

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.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Jai
  • 09-23-13

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.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-14-12

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.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joanne
  • 12-19-12

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

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Charlie Recneps
  • 07-25-15

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 11-04-13

Great story but narrator's pronunciation annoys

What did you like most about Assassin's Apprentice?

This is a great story and I'll definitely listen to the remainder of the trilogy

What didn’t you like about Paul Boehmer’s performance?

His pronunciation is really annoying. As an example when talking about the dogs he pronounces "terrier" as "tair rear". This is one of many mispronunciations throughout the entire narration. This detracted from the story and took some getting used to.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • matt
  • 08-22-13

Gripping story

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

I don't know having not read the print version!

What did you like best about this story?

A well structured storyline and interesting characters, it left me wanting more and immediately downloaded the 2nd book in the series.

What about Paul Boehmer’s performance did you like?

Some previous reviewers were rather scathing about Paul Boehmer, and I almost did not download the book because of that. I am glad that I did as I actually enjoyed his narration. Ok so the accent may not be to all tastes, and the recording quality is not the best, but he gave a fragility to Fitz which suited the character, and a soft slightly melancholic tone which seemed to sit well with the feel of the book. Maybe listen to the sample first if you are unsure.

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

There were a few moving moments, but I don't want to spoil them for anyone!

Any additional comments?

Give the narrator a chance, you may be surprised.
Looking forward to the next book.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • RocKtheCasbaH
  • 08-30-17

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

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  • Carole
  • 05-17-15

Embark on a journey of adventure, magic and fate!

Set aside plenty of free time because once you tuck in your headphones you won't be able to put them down! This engaging story is narrated exceptionally well by Paul Boehmer who gives voice to the personality behind each character.

Follow the journey of a young boy from the moment he is abandoned by his mother and discovered to be the bastard son of the heir to the Farseer throne. The shame upon learning of his bastard causes King in Waiting Chivalry to abdicate and flee the castle. Now abandoned by both his parents, the boy, referred to simply as the Fitz, struggles to find his place in the world.

By virtue of his royal bloodline Fitz has inherited not only the royal Skill magic but also the hated and feared animal magic called the Wit. Perils abound from both his magics as discovery of the Wit could mean execution while the addictive nature and the brutal teaching of the Skill can hold death in their own right.

All the while Fitz trains in the skills of an assassin in order to become a useful tool to his grandfather, the King. He becomes tied up in many perilous situations from attacks by mindless Forged ones, devoid of all emotion and soul, to the machinations of his uncle Prince Regal.

If you are after a brief adventure with a simple plot line this isn't the book for you. This story is delicious in its detail, drawing you into every situation and moment until you become a part of the narrative.

Should you fall as much in love with this story as I have, don't fear! This book is the first in a brilliant trilogy which is followed by several other trilogies detailing further escapades of the characters that you come to know and love. You will be enmeshed in this world for months.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • 11-05-16

Too slow for me

I spent the whole book waiting for something to happen. I recommend this book to people who don't like fast paced action books.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Emma
  • 09-17-15

Great Story and Great Narrator

I had read this book several years ago and have always loved it. I find it an amazing story to listen to and you can get so lost in the world. The narrator is also very good. He has a great tone and brings emotion to the words that is just amazing.

Not an issue with the audiobooks but rather with the book itself is that the chapters are very long (around an hour long) so it can be difficult if you like to only listen to the end of the chapter.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • jamie
  • 02-02-17

chasing the mic

Would you try another book written by Robin Hobb or narrated by Paul Boehmer?

im going to try to persevere listening to find out

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

strapped the mic to the narrator

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Paul Boehmer?

anybody who can speak consistently into the microphone. this performance makes me imagine a guy pacing around the room orating turning unpredictably here and there whilst a little sweaty man runs around after him struggling to keep the mic in front of his face

Any additional comments?

ill keep listening maybe he will get tired and sit down and the sound will level out

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim Palmisano
  • 01-24-17

The build up of the characters was well done. you

The build up of the characters was well done. You were never sure where the story was going.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • 09-30-16

Giving a new author a go

I downloaded this one as recommended from fantasy fiction, having enjoyed Game of Thrones. No feeling of urgency to read another.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Damon
  • 03-19-15

Enthralling

This book starts slow and then feeds you bits of information slowly. Before you know it you are hooked on the boy's story. Incredible.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • mitchell
  • 02-01-15

Phenomenal

Absolutely excellent. Thoroughly enjoyed the whole book, it kept me consistently iching for the next chapter the whole way through. Looking forward to book 2.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • fenella
  • 12-01-17

loved it

always wanted to know where thier dilemmas were taking them.and how the charictors would react. the reading was beautiful each raricter has a distinct voice.

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  • Anya
  • 10-25-17

Great books, but why not a true British narrator?

I love these books but the narration is very annoying. The Narrators fake and very overdone British accent is only made worse by his intermittent American pronunciation of words such as "tousled" and "basket". If they wanted a British narrator why not get a BRITISH narrator.