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Robin Hobb Assassin's Apprentice

Don’t Open Your Ears To: Assassin’s Apprentice

The historic and ever popular book Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb is diminished by Paul Boehmer’s narrating

Imagine it: an audiobook we finally don’t recommend.

It had to come sometime.

Robin Hobb Assassin's Apprentice

The acclaimed book Assassin’s Apprentice is the first in The Farseer Series by Robin Hobb. I’m not giving the book a bad review at all. In fact I’m itching to know what happens next! It’s been praised by fantasy authors such as Brandon Sanderson and George R.R. Martin and is undoubtedly a brilliant story. But a brilliant story can be undone by a subpar narrator, and that’s exactly what Paul Boehmer does.

Paul Boehmer‘s profile is short in comparison to the likes of Jim Dale who narrated the complete Harry Potter Series. Boehmer seems to put on a fake sort of British accent and I found it extremely off-putting. Or maybe he really is British and I just have ridiculously high expectations of what a British accent should encompass.

You know how these men sound. This is the quality I expect when I hear a British accent. Is it so much to ask?

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When narrating, his voices are too closely related so that sometimes, depending on who is in the room, it is hard to decipher between characters. If one character cuts off because another character interrupts, the break in dialog was so long I was always checking to make certain the Audible app hadn’t paused or crashed, but no. It was just a ridiculously, over-long break on Boehmer’s part. Unacceptable.

Assassin’s Apprentice was the longest 17 hrs and 18 mins I’ve listened to to date, and that’s including Robert Jordan’s/Brandon Sanderson’s A Memory of Light, which was 41 hrs and 55 mins. Assassin’s Apprentice felt longer than that. That’s how rough it was to get through this audiobook.

The narrator aside, the story itself is actually attention grabbing. Fitz Farseer, our assassin’s apprentice, is in a peculiar social place and has an unusual magical gift that makes for a difficult yet privileged life. It sets in motion strange adventures, he mets interesting people, and finds himself in awkward situations more often than not. Assassin’s Apprentice is unlike any other fantasy book, which is odd for the time it’s been around, but the reader (reader, not listener, please not listener) will recognize elements other fantasy writers have borrowed from Hobb, yet (blessedly) have not blatantly stolen from her.

Assassin's Apprentice

Larkable says skip the audio version of The Farseer: Assassin’s Apprentice and go straight to paperbound or eBook format of the story George R.R. Martin claims is “fantasy as it ought to be written.”

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