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The Soldier Son Trilogy (3) - Renegade's Magic Hardcover – 2 Jul 2007

4 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; First Edition edition (2 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007196180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007196180
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 4.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 357,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'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

‘Hobb is a remarkable storyteller.’
Guardian

Praise for The Liveship Traders series:

‘Even better than the Assassin books. I didn’t think that was possible.’
George R R Martin

From the Back Cover

The people of Getty's town remember the death of their cemetery soldier vividly. They remember believing him guilty of unspeakable crimes, condemning him, and then watching as other men of his unit beat him until he no longer drew breath.

But Nevare Burvelle didn't die that day, though everyone believes they saw it happen. He was cornered by a power far more intractable than an angry mob.

When he was a boy, the magic of the Specks - the dapple-skinned tribes of the frontier forests - claimed Nevare as a saviour; severing his soul in two, naming his stolen half Soldier's Boy and shaping him into a weapon to halt the Gernian expansion into their lands and save their beloved ancestor trees.

Until now Nevare has defied the magic, unable to accept his traitorous fate. But the magic has won: it has extinguished his once golden future, devastated his family and has now turned his own people against him. Faced with endangering the only loved-ones he has left, Nevare has no choice but to surrender to its will and enter the forest.

But surrendering to his Speck destiny is only the beginning of his trials. Before he submits completely, Nevare makes one desperate last attempt to deter the Gernians from the Barrier Mountains without causing them harm. But the magic accepts no compromise. Exhausted, Nevare can no longer suppress his traitorous Speck self, Soldiers Boy. Losing control, he becomes a prisoner in his own body; able only to watch helplessly as his other half takes

Soldier's Boy is determined to stop the Gernian expansion at all cost, and unlike Nevare, he has no love, nor sympathy for his spirit-twin's world.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
And so, the Soldier Son Trilogy finally draws to a close.

Was it worth reading? Yes and no. I read this book simply because I'd read the previous two, and had to know what happened next. Unfortunately, Nevare is - if it's possible - bent on feeling even more sorry for himself than before in this final volume. Without giving too much away, a good chunk of this book really is just him thinking 'woe is me' as he watches the events of the world unfold around him.

Luckily, the book redeems itself at the end - not because of the ending itself (indeed, I was a little incredulous. Again, I can't explain this properly without giving out spoilers, but the thought that ran through my head was "... that's IT? THAT'S all they had to do? Why on earth did it take three books to accomplish this?"), but because the quality of the writing picks up. The story moves forward. Things HAPPEN.

There are, in fact, two endings to this book. The first is annoyingly simple, and then the second one is... convenient.

In short, this is a story that's been stretched over too many books, and elongated pointlessly. Two books would've done it, and been more engaging for the brevity.

Should you buy this book? If you've read the other two, you may as well. If you're new to Robin Hobb, however, this is NOT the series to start with. Go back and read Ship of Magic (the Liveship Traders series, my personal favourite), or maybe Assassin's Apprentice (the Farseer Trilogy) to see Hobb at her best.

"Not bad, but not great" is my verdict for this book. I'd give it 3.5 stars if I could.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So this is the last in this Trilogy and I have to say sadly ... thank goodness. You know a book is bad when you start skim reading it so you can tell yourself you read it but it's so bad you are loathe to spend time reading it properly. I've said in review of Book One and Two that the pace is poor and too much time is given over to irrelevant detail .... Well this continues in Book Three but with a new twist. She continually recaps Book One and Two. Why? Why? WHY? No-one picks up book 3 of a trilogy and starts reading do they ? If they do it's rare but most people would buy book one and go from there. So it is incredibly annoying to find the pace slows even more (I hadn't thought it possible) while we re-cap time and again on events that have happened. The final nail in the coffin for me and this book was when we finally had an opportunity ***SPOILER COMING*** to have a big battle scene and have some heart quickening fast paced action between the Specks and the Humans, it's all brushed over in a cursory fashion and done and dusted in a few pages !!! I felt like yelling. Here we have 3 books all around 600+ pages and every time we have something interesting going on, it's given half a dozen pages at best but if we have a moment when Soldier's Boy goes to bed .... Well goodness me the description of him falling asleep last as long. This was the final straw for me. I won't be buying any more of her books. I personally think she was spot on with Assassins Apprentice but her efforts since have been appalling. Shame on her editor for letting this talent drift.
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Format: Hardcover
The conclusion to Robin Hobb's "Soldier Son" trilogy, Renegade's Magic, is much like the first two books in the series. This has to be one of the most slow-moving, in-depth character and fantasy-setting studies that I have ever read. I greatly enjoyed the first two books (Shaman's Crossing and Forest Mage), but as the pace remained glacial, my love for the series waned a bit. Once again, I love Hobb's characterization skills but it was almost a chore to get through this book. Not a good way to end a series, but still not bad.

Hobb has created a wonderfully detailed society in the Specks, and she spends a lot of time in Renegade's Magic exploring it as Navarre and Soldier's Boy try to come to terms with what's become of them. This book, as is the rest of the series, is told in first person by Navarre, but for much of the book Navarre is a disembodied presence in Soldier's Boy's body. Thus, we get many passages of Navarre being horrified by what Soldier's Boy is doing with his body, of Navarre trying to either take control of the body or of him trying to influence Soldier's Boy's thinking. Narratively, I'm sure there's a reason for it, but occasionally it becomes obvious that Hobb needed time to pass quickly so she has Soldier's Boy cause Navarre to disappear for a while. Since we see through Navarre's eyes, we don't see anything until he wakes up again.

I did greatly appreciate the depth that Hobb brings to Navarre and to Soldier's Boy as well, the latter of which is even more impressive given the fact that we only see him through Navarre's eyes. Yes, one could say that this entire series is a 2000+ page character study of Navarre, in addition to a fantasy examination of the struggles between nature and science/technology, but the character study is the most interesting part.
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Format: Paperback
Give Hobb her due : she had a plan, and she stuck to it in spite of critics and scoffers. This plan was epic in scope : to show the clash of civilisations, plain dwellers vs forest dwellers, newcomers vs. older settlers, animism vs polytheism vs monotheism and so forth, while at the same time spanning centuries of history, from a state resembling pre-colombian America and the subsequent encroachment of European settlers moving westward ruthlessly, to one that echoes today's Amazon being gashed through and through by new roads. Thanks to Nevare, all these threads will be reconciled in the end as he learns to integrate his schizophrenic self and becomes a citizen of a new world, aware of the goodness and magic of the worlds he has experienced and assimilated on the way.

The fact is that it does not wholly come alive ; and that one is left with a sense that allegory and good intentions are no match for careful, original plotting.
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