I've loved all of Robin Hobb's books, but this one is very different from the others. Not quite as "fantastical" but excellent nonetheless. It's a bit more modern than her previous works, at least to me. It's still an excellent start to a great new series. The only (minor) problem is that I had a hard time getting into the story at first... it took me two tries and 4-5 chapters for it to really grab me --but once it did it sucked me in and didn't let go. Since then I've stayed up past many a bedtime just to see what happens next.
Highly detailed, with an interesting plotline (once it gets rolling) and engaging well-thought-out characters. I can't wait to read the next one!
This book is awesome! I was deeply involved with the characters. This book can stand on its own without being in a tril, but then we are dying to know what happens next! I was thinking that a good writer such as RH is good because all her books do NOT resemble each other. This series is totally different from another of her series I read. Already started the 2nd book ;o)
This is a totally new series. Very different. This books is interesting in a Carlos Castenada kind of way. The story is good and the concept intriguing. The second of this series falls a bit short but still worth reading. Hobb is always engaging
not as good as usual, grim
Starts out at a very brisk pace and develops very nicely. Superb character development and unique story make this a must read.
Hobb creates a world reminiscent of Imperial England with magic and a spirit realm seamlessly woven in. Her characters are fully drawn, realistic, and interesting. It's an excellent series.
Although I love Robin Hobb I did not feel that this was her best series. After reading all three books in the trilogy it was an interesting story but the characters seemed less developed and the story left much to be desired in my opinion. A disappointment after the Farseer books.
** spoiler alert ** Reviewing the whole Soldier Son trilogy in one review, since it's one ongoing story.
(Shaman's Crossing, Forest Mage, and Renegade's Magic)
I consider myself to be a fan of Robin Hobb. I've read everything published under her name, with the exception of the two most recent 'Dragon' novels. I've given every single one of those books 4 or 5 stars. I've also read about half of what she's published as Megan Lindholm, and loved most of that as well.
Unfortunately, I feel that the Soldier Son trilogy is her least successful work to date.
It's not terrible, but it didn't hold up to my high expectations.
I think that part of this is that while her previous epics have shown the reader a rich tapestry of a world, with multiple important characters and settings, this story follows one person, Navare (the Soldier Son) for over 2000 pages. And, to be honest, he's rather a tiresome person. I don't demand that characters be likable, but I just didn't find him interesting. He's a bit of an annoying prig. I wished that some of the more minor characters in the book had been fleshed out more, and that we had a chance to see things from their point of view. (Epiny! And her magic! It just gets dropped...) The third book is largely concerned with the conflicts of Navare's suddenly-split-personality. It's him arguing with himself for hundreds of pages. (Tiresome vs. annoying!) I feel like it's partly because other characters weren't developed enough.
The story also moves very slowly. I felt like Navare's journey could have been condensed into one book, one-third of the length, and it would have been improved. I love long books, but this story seemed to have two main themes: the problems of cultural imperialism, and the importance of not judging people based on their physical appearance. Now, these are two very valid and important themes, but part of the reason that I do really like long books is that they have room in them for lots and lots of different ideas and themes. Not just two, repeated frequently. I also felt that these two themes weren't dealt with very satisfactorily: OK, it's bad and wrong to disrespect another culture, regard them as primitive when they aren't, and to destroy their native lands. I'm with that. It's also inevitable that, due to economic and other factors, peoples move, expand, and come into conflict with each other, bringing about cultural change. I also agree that is true. So the solution? Cause an economic distraction somewhere else causing everyone to run off elsewhere. Eh, well, maybe. Not terrible, but not really a full analysis of the problem, either.
However, I had a bigger problem with the other issue. After a million or so pages of Navare being prejudiced against because of his magically-induced obesity, and having it pointed out ad infinitum that what one culture may consider reprehensible and disgusting, another culture may respect, etc, the story ends up with Navare (again magically) being restored to his former thin, handsome appearance. It really undercuts the whole message of the book.
However, like I said before, it wasn't terrible. Hobb is still an excellent writer, and I did like that each of the cultures in the book was portrayed as having both positive and negative qualities. It was interesting and thoughtful enough to get me through all three very long volumes. It just wasn't as good as I'd expected.
I don't want anyone limited to only this book as a suggestion--believe me when I say fantasy --the kind you'll love is out there--go easy in the fantasy world --where all dreams can come true--there are writers now--who can turn a yarn into enlightenment-make feelings downright gut wrenching personal--and truth full of justice as it should be--I found many a thrill in one such writer--I beseech you to try -Robin Hobb-with an open mind-and you'll discover there are still many diamonds in the rough-
I was expecting big things from this book, but I have to say I was very disappointed. I could barely bring myself to wade through the first few chapters before I finally gave up. I couldn't find any sympathy or empathy for any of the characters and the plot just didn't click for me. It was frustrating that one of my favorite authors, the genius behind The Assassin series, The Tawny Man series, and the Liveship series, could so completely miss the mark here.