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Assassin’s Apprentice

The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1
Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
Series: Realms of the Elderlings, Book 1, Farseer Trilogy, Book 1
Length: 17 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (867 ratings)

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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

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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Worst narrator ever!

I really, really wanted to hear this book. But the narrator is terrible. The accent is pretentious and intrudes on all attempts at character voices.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • jamie
  • qld australia
  • 02-02-2017

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

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Bad narrator in my opinion. Just so boring.

The narrator just had no personality. Made it hard to get into the book. Might get the papperback

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The narrator keeps.pausing mid sentence

The narrator is driving me bonkers. He keeps pausing every 3-4 words. Gah. I don't think I can keep listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Joe
  • 12-05-2017

ok story. mid tier voice acting.

The novel itself is quite pleasant, if a little simply written and lacking in some ways. Its appropriate for teenage audiences but lacks the incredible writing of the stormlight archives and such. what more let this novel down though was the voice acting which I found to be alright a lot of the time but the airyness of his voice and often softly spoken tone didnt accurately reflect the scene at all and often took away from the experience

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennifer
  • Brisbane, Australia
  • 30-09-2016

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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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-09-2018

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 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Evgeny
  • 24-01-2018

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-04-2017

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 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • ratna
  • 01-03-2015

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 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Nokip
  • 10-01-2015

dident finnish

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

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Justin Z.
  • 24-08-2019

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.

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  • Raul
  • 16-06-2019

Excellent story and performance

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hadrian
  • 18-04-2019

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.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Marcus
  • 06-03-2019

unable to finish

Have lived RH books for years, but Boehmer's repetitive cadence and fake accent gets truly painful after a while.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sharon
  • 16-09-2018

Good audio book, enjoyed it

In spite of other reviewers I thought the narrator did a good job. The story was good and involving.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Lucy Clarke
  • 11-10-2012

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.

77 of 81 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 07-02-2013

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.

54 of 57 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Steven
  • 17-10-2016

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Steven
  • 28-09-2013

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 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 30-08-2017

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Jai
  • 23-09-2013

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.

19 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • ky
  • 08-06-2017

voice acting wasn't great.

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Zachariah
  • 05-02-2017

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Joanne
  • 19-12-2012

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

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Charlie Recneps
  • 25-07-2015

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 of 9 people found this review helpful