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Publisher's Summary

From the acclaimed author of The Bastard of Istanbul, a colorful, magical tale set during the height of the Ottoman Empire. In her latest novel, Turkey's preeminent female writer spins an epic tale spanning nearly a century in the life of the Ottoman Empire.

In 1540, 12-year-old Jahan arrives in Istanbul. As an animal tamer in the sultan's menagerie, he looks after the exceptionally smart elephant Chota and befriends (and falls for) the sultan's beautiful daughter Princess Mihrimah. A palace education leads Jahan to Mimar Sinan, the empire's chief architect, who takes Jahan under his wing as they construct (with Chota's help) some of the most magnificent buildings in history. Yet even as they build Sinan's triumphant masterpieces - the incredible Suleymaniye and Selimiye mosques - dangerous undercurrents begin to emerge, with jealousy erupting among Sinan's four apprentices.

A memorable story of artistic freedom, creativity, and the clash between science and fundamentalism, Shafak's intricate novel brims with vibrant characters, intriguing adventure, and the lavish backdrop of the Ottoman court, where love and loyalty are no match for raw power.

©2015 Elif Shafak (P)2015 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    103
  • 4 Stars
    62
  • 3 Stars
    34
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    9

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    118
  • 4 Stars
    43
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    5

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    101
  • 4 Stars
    44
  • 3 Stars
    36
  • 2 Stars
    6
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    5
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I feel like I should like it more than I do

This book takes on a fascinating period and geographical area about which I knew very little. And my feelings about the book are mixed. I am writing this review a few weeks after finishing the book. Many scenes are still gripping, and the sense of learning about a new world still strong. But I simply didn't fall enough in love with the characters. And the solution to the ongoing mystery-which I will of course not ruin for you--simply fell short. I didn't believe the motivations provided.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Good story, Narrator needs practice

What did you love best about The Architect's Apprentice?

Resonates nicely with historical works on this period and region.

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

revelation of the identity of one of the apprentices

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Narrator sounds almost foreign which adds a nice flavor, but i found myself mentally correcting so many of his mispronunciations of the foreign words. He needs practice.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

Any additional comments?

Very nice story. Would look for more from this author

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

Good book, performance downgrades

Nice entertaining story that was great in length, depth and descriptions. Unfortunately the phrasing and breathing of the narrator substantially deteriorated the experience. He regularly breaks up phrases when there is no reason to do so. Either he did not read ahead so he could adjust the phrasing or didn't care. I had to keep rewinding to get the meaning of phrases he had broken up for no reason. A pity - it is a good story.

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

A lot but not much

Any additional comments?

This is a long book, it remind of a long TV series without much happening
You are watching Jahan's life from age 11-12 till he gets old
Everything that he goes through, and different things that happen in his life
It has a slow pace and it's realistic, but I didn't get a whole lot out of it
For someone like me who is from the east herself, I didn't find a lot of new information about the culture and way of life
Someone from the west or someone unfamiliar with the culture and lifestyle and history of the east and Turkey might enjoy this book a lot more than I did.

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

Delightful

This was a lovely story, taking me to places where I haven't been neither in person nor in thought before.

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

a story of love and life lessons

A beautiful tale that made me both laugh and cry. this is one of those stories then I believe help you grow a little and you can reflect on later in life.

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

Immersive story that takes you to another time and another land

I love this book so much! Historical fiction at its finest. Reminded me of Pamuk's "My Name is Red" - but gentler and more rambling. Wonderfully immersive with descriptions of food, clothing, real events and people and a glimpse into an architecture guild during one of the greatest times for art and science in human history.

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

Beautful story!

Enjoyed sooo much! Story is great and narated perfectly. Had great time listening.well spent 16 hours!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ann
  • Dallas, TX, United States
  • 08-16-15

No such thing as a happy ending here.

If you could sum up The Architect's Apprentice in three words, what would they be?

fascinating tale unfolds

Which character – as performed by Piter Marek – was your favorite?

Master Sinan and Chota - a toss up.

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

Why on earth didn't he get on the boat and go to Spain - seriously!

Any additional comments?

Perhaps one too many plot twists and turns. Hard to believe one guy could have that much bad luck. Interesting historical information.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

interesting topic made boring

this book started off promising but turned out kind of boring. Main character super naive.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful