“Renegade’s Magic” by Robin Hobb

Oy vey. I read this with my buddy-reader in all things Hobb — Emily at Embuhleeliest — and thank god for these buddy-reads because I otherwise would not have made it through this story. I’m glad I had someone to talk to about it. Although we both gave this one a similar rating, Emily enjoyed it much more than I did. The entire series centers on the rift between the personalities, Nevare and Soldier Boy, and Nevare’s reluctance and stubbornness to do anything that might help the story to end quickly, so I was annoyed with his character 90% of the time I read this.

Genre

Fantasy

Series

Soldier Son, book 3

Pubbed

2007

Quick summary (spoilers)

This picks up right after the events in Forest Mage. Nevare has FINALLY decided to give his life over to the magic, or so he says. He thinks he knows what the magic wants him to do and expels all the magic Soldier Boy has meticulously stored in his body to create a barricade of sorts to stop the king’s road from advancing toward the ancestor trees. This effort isn’t very effective and, even worse, is costly to Nev because by expelling that much magic, he greatly weakened his body.

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“Kushiel’s Dart” by Jacqueline Carey

If not for Imyril Reads and her Wyrd & Wonder crew, this book would probably have continued to sit on my shelves unread.

The Wyrd & Wonder crew hosted a readalong for Kushiel’s Dart back in September. I decided to participate since I already owned the book and it was one I’d always been curious about. For the readalong, we posted our answers to discussion questions each week, which I liked because then participants were able to see how each person was getting on with the book and reacting to the situations and characters we read about. I loved that the group was a mixture of first-time readers and rereaders. I think that made my experience with the story much richer and helped to make me anticipate what would come next.

We completed the novel back in September, or early October, but I’m just now getting around to the review because I hardly posted anything in November. But this will be a short one since I posted weekly reactions to the book as I read.

Genre

Fantasy

Series

Phèdre’s Trilogy, book 1

Pubbed

2001

Goodreads summary

In a kingdom born of angels, Phedre is an anguisette, cursed or blessed to find pleasure in pain. Sold to the Court of Night Blooming Flowers, her fate as a beautiful but anonymous courtesan was sealed. Her bond was purchased by the nobleman Anafiel Delauney, who recognized the scarlet mote in Phedre’s eye as the rare mark of one touched by a powerful deity. Under Delauney’s patronage she is trained in history, politics, language, and the use of body and mind as the ultimate weapon of subterfuge in a dangerous game of courtly intrigue.

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“Forest Mage” by Robin Hobb

Ahh… man. This book.

Well. I loved the first book in the series, Shaman’s Crossing, which made me hopeful for what may come next. But after reading this one, I got the impression that all I thought would happen will not, and that the story is probably heading in a different direction. I was so put off by parts of this book that I’ve procrastinated on writing this reflection and thus have put off writing several book reviews. I’m backed up on them.

I’ve put off this piece for so long that I’ve already started buddy-reading the third and final book in the trilogy with my buddy-reader in all things Hobb — Emily at Embuhleeliest. We are several chapters in, and I’ve sort of come to terms with the fact that this story is heading in a totally different direction, so now I’m just going along with it to see how it ends.

Genre

Fantasy

Series

Soldier Son, book 2

Pubbed

2006

Quick summary (spoilers)

This one picks up shortly after the events in the first book. Nevare and his surviving schoolmates, instructors, and other folks in the city of Old Thares are recovering from the Speck Plague that swept through the city. In addition to his physical convalescence, Nev is also trying to come to terms with the fact that he was instrumental in starting the plague and that there’s a part of him that belongs, or at least is loyal, to the Specks. That part of him feels remorse for killing Tree Woman.

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“Shaman’s Crossing” by Robin Hobb

I really enjoyed reading this book, and I consider it a favorite. Emily at Embuhleeliest, my buddy-reader in all things Hobb, and I completed the Realm of the Elderlings books last year and really wrapped it up by reading a novella and a short story set in its world earlier this year. We then took a break before jumping into Hobb’s Soldier Son trilogy, which is fantasy but set in a different world than the Elderlings books and which begins with this novel — Shaman’s Crossing.

I had such a good time reading this novel with Emily that I slowly fell into a little reading and blogging slump. It took a while to move on from this story, especially since the books I picked up after it were lackluster. I also had a hard time drumming up energy to create new posts for my blog because I was procrastinating on reviewing this. I needed to get out my thoughts on it, but there were so many that I didn’t know where to start.

Genre:

Fantasy

Series:

Soldier Son trilogy, book 1

Pubbed:

2005

Quick summary:

Like the Farseer trilogy, Shaman’s Crossing begins with the protagonist, Nevare, as a young boy learning about his station and duty in life and the world beyond his father’s lands. Through him, we learn that he lives in a very patriarchal society that is also very religious. Sons are treasured, of course, and the religion dictates that the first son becomes his father’s heir while the second son serves as a soldier; the third son should be a priest, the fourth son an artist, and the fifth son a scholar. Nevare is the second son and strongly believes his destiny is to become a soldier, like his father.

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“The Diviners” by Libba Bray

This book has been sitting on my shelves for the past four years. If not for a buddy-read with Rachel from Life of a Female Bibliophile, it probably would still be sitting there unread.

We decided to call our buddy-read “Diviners in December” because we scheduled to read it in December. I thought it would make a great seasonal read; for some reason, I thought the story was set in winter and was probably atmospheric with lots of snow and cold. I was surprised not to find that and was even more surprised at how spooky it was at times.

I guess I was aware of this before, back when I learned of the book through Becky’s blog, but some details had faded from memory since then. All I remembered is that the story should be a good read. It was.

Genre:

YA Historical fiction; paranormal

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The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton, illus. by Jan McCafferty

I’ve been searching for this book for years. Ever since I decided to start collecting books, I’ve wanted to add the books responsible for making me a fan of the fantastic and peculiar. They are three: the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, and a series of books I couldn’t recall the title or author of…until now.

My interest in fantastical stories was piqued by fairytales, but these three books cemented my interest in it. I borrowed them constantly from the library as a kid and read them over and over again, never getting enough and wanting more. But my library in Jamaica was limited on such stories.

Over the years since childhood, I’d forgotten about Enid Blyton and her books. I started collecting books in college starting first with the books I love: the Harry Potter series, Chronicles of Narnia, and The Neverending Story. I knew there was another book I should get, one that I cherished as a kid, but try as I might to remember it, I couldn’t. For years I wracked my brain about it and mentioned it often on this blog hoping someone would be able to tell what I was talking about from the few clues I could remember: It’s an old children’s fantasy book with pixies and elves and there’s sometimes a mention of a garden.

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What’s On My Bookshelf Tag

I have reviews and other stuff to post, but I’m so not in the mood for them. Instead, here’s a tag! 😀 Yep, these are more fun to do and quick too.

This tag was created by Naty at Naty’s Bookshelf. I wasn’t tagged. I found it on Never Not Reading and filed it away to do on a day like this — lazy weekend.

Rules:
  • Link back to me so I can see everyone’s answers! (Naty’s Bookshelf)
  • Also link back to the person who tagged you!
  • Name one book for each category; try not to repeat books to make this more fun!
  • Tag at least 5 people
A library book

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg (illus.)

It’s a graphic novel about a guy who travels from the north pole to the south pole, where he meets his true love, but it’s impossible for them to be together. I’ve had this library book on my shelves for over a year now (or has it been two years). The librarian overlooked it when I sought to check it out, which has made it easy for me to procrastinate on reading it. I refuse to return it without first reading it, and — gosh damn it! — I better read it this summer.

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‘I Spy’ Book Challenge | Book Tag

Another day, another book tag. This one is the ‘I Spy’ Book Challenge that I saw on Becky’s blog, Blogs of a Bookaholic. I liked the concept and decided to give it a go. It was created by booktuber Books and Lala, who was inspired by her son’s I Spy books.

Instructions:

Find a book that contains (either on the cover or in the title) an example for each category.

You must have a separate book for all 20.

Get as creative as you want and make it happen in under 5 minutes!!

* * *

My plan was to search my physical book shelves and snap photos of my choices, but since my shelves are stacked two and three books deep, contain over 800 books, and are very disorganized (because of a recent home improvement project), I’ll instead refer to my digital shelves where I’ve recorded all the books I own. It’ll make it possible for me to complete this in 5 minutes (hopefully).

….yeeaa…that 5 minutes thing didn’t work out. I totally cheated.

Animal | Weapon | Transportation | Food

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“The Curse of Chalion” by Lois McMaster Bujold

I’ve often heard of Lois McMaster Bujold, but have never been tempted to pick up one of her books until I read Jonathan’s review of the Curse of Chalion.

I’m immediately drawn to fantasy novels in which religion factors greatly. It’s not something I often see in the fantasy novels I read. Often, religion is a slight thing in the society and not a major part of the world building. It certainly doesn’t often affect magic, unless it is to denounce the use of magic. However, in the Curse of Chalion, magic is greatly influenced by religion and the gods.

Side note:

I really enjoyed this book and it’s now one of my favorites, which means I went overboard with this reflection piece. It’s long ass fuck. Skip to the Overall section and read some of the quotes for a quickie.

Quick summary:

The Curse of Chalion is a high fantasy novel told using a limited third-person narrator from the perspective of our protagonist, Lupe dy Cazaril, a former soldier and courtier who returns home to the provincar of Baocia (basically a dukedom) mentally and physically scarred after his serving aboard a Roknari slave galley. Roknar is a country to the north of Chalion.

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“Assassin’s Quest” by Robin Hobb

Assassin's QuestI don’t know what to say. This trilogy was a quite a ride. I enjoyed every moment of it and it was great buddy reading it with Emily at Embuhlee liest because I had someone to talk to about the story but now it’s over and I don’t know what to think. Except, Verity…

Goodreads overview:

From an extraordinary new voice in fantasy comes the stunning conclusion to the Farseer trilogy, as FitzChivalry confronts his destiny as the catalyst who holds the fate of the kingdom of the Six Duchies…and the world itself.

King Shrewd is dead at the hands of his son Regal. As is Fitz — or so his enemies and friends believe. But with the help of his allies and his beast magic, he emerges from the grave, deeply scarred in body and soul. The kingdom also teeters toward ruin: Regal has plundered and abandoned the capital, while the rightful heir, Prince Verity, is lost to his mad quest — perhaps to death. Only Verity’s return — or the heir his princess carries–can save the Six Duchies.

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