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Renegade's Magic (The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 3): 3/3 Paperback – 1 Jul 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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  • Renegade's Magic (The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 3): 3/3
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  • Shaman's Crossing (The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 1): 1/3
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Product details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (1 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007196202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007196203
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 11.2 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,151 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

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.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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: Hardcover
I was really curious about this final volume of The Soldier Son trilogy. With both Shaman's Crossing and Forest Mage garnering so many mixed reviews, I was eager to see how Hobb would bring this series to a close with Renegade's Magic.

First of all, I think we should commend the author for showing enough artistic integrity and writing something different. Unlike writers such as R. A. Salvatore and Terry Brooks, who rarely take a chance to come up with something truly creative outside of their established niche, Robin Hobb elected not to cheat herself and her fans by writing another Fitz novel just for the sake of her popularity. Although I much preferred The Farseer and The Tawny Man trilogies, with The Liveship Traders not far behind, I found most of the concepts Hobb set out to explore in this latest series to be quite interesting. The Soldier Son might not be Robin Hobb at the top of her game, but the series is nevertheless better than 80% of what's out there.

Renegade's Magic is easily the best and most enjoyable volume of The Soldier Son trilogy. One of the main reasons why is that, unlike its two predecessors, this book doesn't suffer from a sluggish pace. The narrative flows extremely well, providing a fluid rhythm throughout the novel.

Of the three volumes, I found the worldbuilding in Renegade's Magic to be the most fascinating. We finally learn a lot more about the Specks. How their magic works is explained in greater details, as are their history, their traditions, etc.

As always, the characterizations are superior. The deeply involved humanity behind it all, Hobb's hallmark, is imbued throughout Renegade's Magic. Three-dimensional characters populate this book, and they all remain true to themselves.
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Format: Hardcover
I approached this book with a sense of duty, rather than enthusiasm. Having read the first two parts of the trilogy I needed to know what happened next, but neither "Shaman's Crossing" nor "Forest Mage" had gripped me as completely as Robin Hobb's earlier work. If you are a new reader I suggest you seek out Assassin's Apprentice and the books that follow it, because there you will find Hobb at her best. It might be that I was such a fan of these books that I was initially resistant to this series. All Hobb's books see her major characters suffer, but Nevare Burvelle is more miserable than most, making him less attractive company than previous characters.

A common problem I have with fantasy novels is that there is too much filler material. Sadly I felt that was a problem here - though to her credit Hobb does deal in trilogies with a definite end, rather unending series a la Robert Jordan. This sequence isn't 'high fantasy' though, featuring characters that have guns and gunpowder. If you are engaged by detailed descriptions of imaginary foodstuff then you'll love "Renegade's Magic". As I'm not even interested in books about real food I found myself thinking, "OK, these characters have to eat a lot to gain their magic power, I get that, can we get on with the story now?"

The characters are engaging. Though Hobb has written herself into a corner using a strict first person narrative, for much of the book Nevare is far into the wilderness, so a slightly weak plot device is used to keep in touch with his loved ones.

There are enough revelations to make this book worthwhile. The ending is exciting, with a couple of twists. Indeed, if more of this book had been like the final 100 pages I would recommend it unreservedly. As it is I think that Robin Hobb is one of the best modern fantasy writers around. Sadly "Renegade's Magic" is a story stretched too thin to convince me that this book deserves a place among her finest work.
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