The Soldier Son Trilogy (3) – Renegade’s Magic Hardcover – 2 Jul 2007
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'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.'
‘Hobb is a remarkable storyteller.’
Praise for The Liveship Traders series:
‘Even better than the Assassin books. I didn’t think that was possible.’
George R R Martin
The final book in the brand new trilogy from the author of the Tawny Man and Farseer trilogies, following on from the bestselling Shaman's Crossing and Forest Mage. 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. See all Product description
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It was definitely worth it.
You can tell the series was a labour of love. Everything's as it should be, the story arc stretches down to its conclusion and boom, you're done.
All that's left are some haunting memories of the peoples of this story.
Yes I could see how it's a departure from previous series. But honestly, it's so well done and the characters so good that I thorough enjoyed it.
Wish the ending and aftermath had an epilogue though. I wanted to see more of what happened to everyone.
Very little seemed to happen, and I was desperate to finish it, just so it was over!
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and it set the story up for something much more epic and impressive, but about halfway through book two, i realised, that was not meant to be.
I will say that there is nothing wrong with the writing style in this book, it's is still vivid, character driven and wonderfully written, unfortunately, the story just doesn't do all of that justice. Also, I didn't enjoy the ending. It was a bit sudden and too short. And also I felt a bit of a cop out. !SPOILER! I feel that the death of Nevare might have been a better end than him getting together with Amzil. It was just a bit too happy fairytale for me, and I wanted something a bit better. !END SPOILER!
I can't really put into words what I felt should have happened, but I wish that the books had continued on in the style of the 1st one (Shaman's Crossing), as it was brilliant.
If you're a fan, I recommend you read this, just to have read them, but don't expect too much. If you've never read any of Hobb's books, I can't recommend you start with this trilogy, as you will get a bad impression of her abilities. Definately go for the Farseer Trilogy instead.
Barely escaping Gettys and its angry mob with his life, Nevare flees into the forest. Realizing that the King's Road is planned to go right through the part where Lisana's tree stands, he makes one last attempt at stopping its construction with the Magic. Alas, it doesn't work as expected and Nevare's Magic is all be depleted.
Finding him in this poor condition, Olikea and her son Likari need to feed him again until he regains a respectable girth, so they can present him as Great One to their kin clan at the Wintering Place, on the other side of the Barrier Mountains.
As time passes and Nevare tries to find out what the Magic expects him to do, his Speck self, Soldier's Boy, becomes more and more powerful, until he finally takes control of his body. Nevare is then nothing but a helpless witness of Soldier's Boy's actions: when he tattoos his skin with the dapples of the Specks, or when he plans a raid on the Gernians in Gettys to stop their Eastward progression. Only on rare occasions can Nevare surreptitiously tap Soldier's Boy Magic and dream-walk to his cousin Epiny, to try and warn her of the impending attack.
A major part of the book takes place in the forest with the Specks, and even though I'm a tree-hugger, sadly I must admit that their culture failed to intrigue me. I felt close to Nevare but not to Soldier's Boy. Probably because the "Gernian-bred" me was taking sides, and I found myself constantly waiting for signs that things would look up for Nevare, that the scales would finally tip in his favour and reunite his split personality without too much loss and sacrifice. But that's also why I found the last third of the book tremendously exciting.
As a whole, the Soldier Son trilogy was a more than excellent series, and Robin Hobb's storytelling surpasses everything I have read. However, I still have a preference for her precedent trilogies (The Farseer, The Liveship Traders, and The Tawny Man). I do hope it grows on me with time, though. I'm sure it will.