Author: Robin Hobb –
Publisher: HarperCollins –
Genre: Fantasy –
Overall rating: 4/5 –
Writing: 3/5 –
Duration: 17:18 (Assassin’s Apprentice), 29:17 (Royal Assassin), 37:35 (Assassin’s Quest) (very long) –
Narrator: Paul Boehmer –
Narrator/performance: 5/5 –
Impressions: 5/5 –
Performance errors: 0/5 –
Complexity/reading level: 2/5 –
I have mixed feelings about this trilogy in light of the the entire saga, having already listened to most of the parts of the saga. Although the Farseer Trilogy is most probably the best part of the series, some of the disadvantages which become more visible in later parts are already present. While the first part of the trilogy is of a decent length, other parts are already far too long. Some of the later parts of the saga will be so long that finishing them will become an unpleasant task, no matter how much one cares about the characters. The Farseer Trilogy is still driven by the story, while later parts will be driven mostly by characters, becoming more of a soap-opera than an innovative fantasy series. All of the works, except for the Assassin’s Apprentice, needed a strong editor to make them shorter and better paced. Most probably most of the books did not have an editor caring about such aspects – or the aim of the work has always been to produce very long books to enjoy over a prolonged period of time.
The Farseer Trilogy is in many ways a medieval story. Not only its aesthetics are medieval but it is also full of moral teachings. This element will be fading later on until it vanishes almost completely. It is a pity since the moral struggle may be the most interesting part of Robin Hobb’s creation. In the Farseer Trilogy, this aspect is constantly present, even when the author delves into staggering amounts of detail. Other parts also significantly alter the world created in the Farseer Trilogy, introducing alien elements and different aesthetics. I enjoyed the Farseer Trilogy and wish I did not read the remaining parts at all.
This trilogy is well worth a recommendation also due to the quality of performance. Some of the later parts, particularly Fool’s Quest in the part read by Lee Maxwell-Simpson, are of a very low quality and are extremely tedious to listen to. The impressions made in the Fool’s Quest by the male lector are of the worst kind I have ever heard (sounding like a parent reading to a child while paying very little attention to anything). In contrast, performance by Paul Boehmer is entirely professional, interesting, consistent and enjoyable.
The covers in all Robin Hobb’s audiobooks by HarperCollins are a splendid success. They match, they have a distinct style, they look great. They represent the main interest of a given part in a surprisingly exact manner, becoming more memorable than the titles. Since the titles are so similar to one another that it is almost impossible to remember them in order, having nice and memorable covers makes it easier to follow the story.