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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laboured...but worth it.
Shaman's Crossing was the first Robin Hobb book I had read, so I was very much a latecomer to her writing. However, it hooked me in to the extent that I read The Farseers, Liveship and Tawny Man Trilogies and found them to be far superior titles.

That said, "Forest Mage" is a huge improvement and a very good book. From the sumptous cover and positive ending to...
Published on 29 July 2006 by Jumbo

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Borrow form the library first I think.
I love Robin Hobbs other trilogies, in fact she's my favourite author but I just didn't like Soldiers son or Forest Mage.

In this series she tries to do something completely different, the characters are meant to be more like real people, not perfect and occassionally repulsive but this doesn't make me connect with them more. In fact I found the story very hard...
Published on 10 Mar 2007 by Ms. S. O'reilly


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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laboured...but worth it., 29 July 2006
By 
Jumbo "Jumbo" (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Forest Mage (The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 2) (Hardcover)
Shaman's Crossing was the first Robin Hobb book I had read, so I was very much a latecomer to her writing. However, it hooked me in to the extent that I read The Farseers, Liveship and Tawny Man Trilogies and found them to be far superior titles.

That said, "Forest Mage" is a huge improvement and a very good book. From the sumptous cover and positive ending to Shaman's Crossing, the novel could trick you into thinking better things are just ahead for Nevare. Wrong.

Forest Mage is a book steeped in misery. As many have stated, the after-effects of the Speck magic unleashed into Nevare in Shaman's Crossing cause him to lose control of his outward appearance and be shunned by his own people. The first four or five chapters of this book can make for incredibly uncomfortable and upsetting reading. And it only gets more miserable from there.

Piece by piece, Hobb decides to remove what Nevare holds dear. A lot of Forest Mage takes place on the Gernian frontieer, which is miles away from the lawful school setting of the first book. The glorious vision of the King's Road and imperialist expansion in the first novel gives way to the reality - a barren wasteland subject to martial law, angry mobs, starving and dead children, where the military has no faith remaining and desertion and suicide are high.

As forlorn as Nevare often is, by the end of the book you really begin to fight for him. One of the main attractions towards his character comes with the realisation that neither the prejudiced, ignorant Gernians nor the completely alien Specks (the main "civilizations") are genuinely sympathetic entities worth fighting for. Yet Nevare, in his own way, doggedly persists to uphold what he believes is right.

Overall, Forest Mage is to be considered an extremely dark fantasy novel. Still, Hobb maintains her wonderful descriptive talent and fluidity of prose throughout. Never have I seen a character been put through so much in any genre of book I've read before. Only bad things happen in Forest Mage, and there is no light at the tunnel at the end.

Bring on Renegade Magic.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PLEASE remember that this isn't Farseer!, 24 Aug 2006
By 
Jennifer Winn (nr Durham, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Forest Mage (The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 2) (Hardcover)
reading through the reviews i was a bit disheartened to hear so many people deploring the fact that Nevarre just isnt Fitz... well, he isnt, so of course he's going to be different!

the first book in this series, i admit, left me feeling a bit disappointed. Now i have finished this book, however, i am much reassured. because of the fact that this is quite a hefty trilogy, it's only right that the fist installment should set the scene.

i was dubious about starting this one, but as soon as i sat down with it i knew that Robin Hobb had done it again! without rehashing the plot (you can just read other reviews for that) let me assure you that Forest Mage pulls out all the stops and i wish it was already july 07! i cannot wait for the final installment, not least to find out what the hell he has to do for the magic!
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Robin!, 10 Sep 2006
By 
Ms. Lyndsay E. Wallace "Miss W" (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Forest Mage (The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 2) (Hardcover)
I've never really been into fantasy all that much but Robin Hobb came highly recommended so I thought "why not?". The Farseer books blew me away and since then I have read pretty much everything of hers I could get my hands on.

I've read a few reviews of her newest Soldier Son trilogy and have been disappointed by the inability people have to let go of the old and embrace the new. Yes Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool became the loves of my life whilst I was reading the books and I was quite frankly devastated when I read the final page of the last book in the series but I've kept my mind open and allowed Hobb to entice me with something different.

Shamen's Crossing is a slow mover (as was Assassin's Apprentice) but this is key to why Hobb's characters are so beautifully developed. The main character in this book is not immediately likeable but this is to show just how inhibited he is by the world his father has created for him. He does not understand what it means to love someone of his own accord, to choose a path for himself which is not predesigned. I think the reader feels alienated from him because we no longer live in a world where our decisions are made for us. I will never forget Fitz but his story is over (thankfully a happy ending) and Nevare's is only just beginning.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Borrow form the library first I think., 10 Mar 2007
By 
Ms. S. O'reilly "hikari" (belfast, uk) - See all my reviews
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I love Robin Hobbs other trilogies, in fact she's my favourite author but I just didn't like Soldiers son or Forest Mage.

In this series she tries to do something completely different, the characters are meant to be more like real people, not perfect and occassionally repulsive but this doesn't make me connect with them more. In fact I found the story very hard to get into. Now before I go further I want to say that the writing is still excellent, its just the characters who do the exact opposite of what you desperatley want them to do.

Its a slightly depressing read becuase you don't think the main character will triumph in the end.

Overall the idea is interesting but not enjoyable to actually read.I hope the third book can redeem the series.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oddly enjoyable and involving, 14 July 2006
This review is from: Forest Mage (The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 2) (Hardcover)
Okay, let's face what will unfortunately always be a problem to haunt Hobb's books- Nevare is NOT FitzChivalry. Although this seems obvious it's always niggling at the back of my mind that I don't like Nevare anywhere near as much as Fitz or the Fool.

On the positive side, Forest Mage beats Shaman's Crossing hands down. Nevare's character has definately been progressed and he certainly has more personality. Forest Mage also has some wonderful descriptive moments- don't read dieting, it makes you crave food, the desciptions are so convincing!

This book however, did make me cringe. Nevare seems to constantly go back to pain and suffering when part of you just wants to scream at him to do something else. I also found the descriptions of his weight quite upsetting and how he feels imprisoned within his own flesh (although I think this was the point, it seems to just get unnecessary to do this to a character, but maybe I am soft on characters!). This book seems to take angst to a new level, as the character is emotionally tortured at what is happening, yet doesn't seem to see the way out of the pain and turns his back on it. I also got a few hundred pages into the book and wondered where the forest in the title was!

I think that there is a deep flaw in Nevare in that he simply becomes annoying because he is so dutiful and honest. I just felt like screaming at him to stand up for himself and maybe stop being so damn "good" all the time.

I know I've complained, but I think it's all mainly because of the comparisons I inevitably make to Assassin and Fool (I never found Liveships as entertaining either). It's a very good book in itself, and I would recommend it :o) I'm looking forward to Renegade Magic, although not as much as I would towards another FItz and Fool book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dismayed, 18 Feb 2008
By 
Tyler Readman (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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As someone who really enjoyed the Farseer and Tawny man trilogies, I read Shaman's Crossing expecting the superior spinning of tales she is so justly known for, but was bitterly disappointed.

Now here I am buying the sequel with hope in my heart, unfortunately this warm glow of hope was crushed. I even had to force myself to finish this, something I've rarely ever needed to do. All I felt was frustration and disgust towards the lead character, lets face it he made my fists itch and my stomach turn with all the self-righteous self-pity. If this was the desired intention of the author then all praise is due her.

Now for only the second time will I refuse to finish a series, especially at the price it will first published under. I sincerely hope that the books that follow from the well of her inspiration are of the previously HIGH standard.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DON'T PANIC, it got better, 5 Jan 2007
By 
DLD Woods (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Forest Mage (The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 2) (Hardcover)
When I read Shaman's Crossing (the first installment in this new trillogy), I had my doubts. Hobb laid all the grounding for a story that could turn out to be something wonderful, but the book itself lacked something.

With this installment, she's really brought things back up to standard, so please don't be discouraged by the first book. Nevare's internal struggle between his two selves does get a little overdone in places, but that's the only real complaint I have - this is the kind of book that keeps you up long into the night, reading on regardless of bleary eyes and work in the morning. A stonking good read, if you'll pardon the expression :p.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The magic was there at the end!, 24 July 2006
This review is from: Forest Mage (The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 2) (Hardcover)
Like other reviewers, I struggled with Shaman's Crossing, but being an avid fan of Hobb's works I stuck with it and by the end felt that Nevare was a character whose story I wanted to follow. However, Forest Mage, proved a similar journey. There is no doubting Hobb's mastery of language; her ability to conjure up the sight and smell of the foods that Nevare devours is exquisite and her ability to create the sense of true relationships between the characters is also outstanding, but I felt that much of the bulk of this tome was devoted to drawing out a long and infuriatingly annoying tale of Nevare's journey. I wanted to kick him into action and understanding and found myself skimreading some pages to get to the next interesting bit, which I have never done before with Hobbs's books. Having said all that, the final chapters of the book were indeed heartwrenching and I am not ashamed to say that I cried volumes over the final pages - so perhaps it succeeded after all? Perhaps a pared down version would have been preferable? Overall a good read and as usual I await the final volume in eager anticipation of a return to Hobbs' gripping style of writing. Like other readers, I too miss Fitz and the Fool!
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It, 10 Aug 2006
By 
S. D. Joyce - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Forest Mage (The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 2) (Hardcover)
I've gotta disagree with most of the reviews on this site. Having read all of Robin Hobbs book, I think Forest Mage is one of her best yet. It's extremely original and approaches fantasy from a totally new angle, but it still retains that little bit of magic that makes fantasy books so appealing to me.

Not a huge amount happens by way of action, but this book is all about character development and in Nevarre (as she did with Fitz) she has created a character of boundless depth, which I as a reader could relate too completely. The way she disects his life piece by piece and the way Nevarre reacts to all of these disasters makes for an exquisite read. I loved the way he shifts almost in an instant to manic depression to exhilaration and then back again. All this set against the backdrop of a well-constructed fantasy world, with political and social themes not a million miles away from our own.

The only problem with Robin Hobb is I never want to put her books down. Looking forward to number 3...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars persevere, 30 Aug 2007
By 
Laylarnie (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
I think the real problem with this book is the pace....SOOO SLOW!!! I love Hobb's writing and really rate her ability to create worlds and realist human characters that are unlike the 2D heroes featured in most fantasy. The characters featured here are no exception and the family dispute upon Nevare's return literally had me in tears.
As a book it was slightly disappointing with a chronically slow pace and unbreakably depressive tone. What I found fascinating was the reaction I had to Nevare who I had always pictured as handsome. I refused to see him as described and kept hoping that he would once again return to the hansom hero of the first book.
I think that this is a very unique representation incorporated by Hobb. All characters in fantasy are beautiful or brainy or have a special talent. Most have experienced a loss and that is how magic is discovered. What I love about this book is how it twists all these preconceptions, telling the tale of an average character whom magic is forced upon and from which his life is destroyed. The cruel reaction to Nevare's physical state from the other characters is an accurate representation of real life.
If you can persevere with this, it contains fascinating social scrutiny, an accurate perception of human character and believable characters. As with the Live Ship Traders books, Hobb has maintained her power to develop realistic and passionate characters.
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Forest Mage (The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 2)
Forest Mage (The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 2) by Robin Hobb (Hardcover - 3 July 2006)
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