“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.




Soldier Son, book 3



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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“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.




Soldier Son, book 2



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.




Soldier Son trilogy, book 1



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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