Other books in the series include Forest Mage and Renegade's Magic. Holy Writ specifies other roles as well for subsequent sons. Now that the Plainsmen have been defeated and largely marginalized or co-opted into the Gernian way of life, a forest-dwelling people known as the Specks are the next impediment to the expansion of Gernian civilization. . And he's just learned that his father is living on a forbidden island at the edge of the known world. Oh, and women don't get to do anything except plot political marriages and have babies and wear dresses I think in that order. I think that most people will go into this book expecting it to be like a Realm of the Elderlings novel.
While not mutually exclusive, one of these will definitely need to compromise in degree somehow. Gernia needed their land, and they were stronger. Nevare's character felt distinctly different to me from Fitz's character, and once again I could see that Hobb has clear talent for making realistic characters who I can relate to and sympathise with as a reader. Shaman's Crossing is where we are introduced to our hero, Nevare Burvelle, second son of a second son, fated because of his birth order to become a soldier in his king's cavalla cavalry. When it comes to communicating this concept, Hobb gets very heavy-handed.
This, in turn, has shaped Nevare. All second sons become soldiers in this world and being the second son of a second son means Nevare is off to the Cavelle Academy. Nevare's father is another intriguing character. Would you care to explain yourself? And Gernia's imperialist policies form the political backdrop for Nevare's maturation into an adult and his conflict with the spiritual forces of the Plainspeople and the even more mysterious, distant Specks. Even though it takes a while to get to the Academy, once we do the book got even more interesting for me.
This moral ambiguity is what made Nevare's father a great character. Hobb really knows how to write tragedy and woe. Robin Hobb truly is a master storyteller! I really enjoyed some of her Megan Lindholm novels, but have found the Hobb ones a bit uneven, especially the Farseer trilogy where everyone hung around doing nothing to stop the evil son of the king ruining everything. She comes off as shallow and silly, but at least she's interesting. I'm saying all this to warn you not to go into this series expecting something 'like' Hobb's other books. I enjoyed each book of the trilogy more than the one before it, and once I got to the third book I was completely drawn into this world. Then Raven called her a hinny, after she threw him off, and said he would ride her bloody.
It is written in from the viewpoint of Nevare Burvelle and follows his life through his first year in the King's Cavalla Academy. I recently unearthed it and placed it at the top of my to-read pile. I am glad that I still gave this one a chance in spite of all that, because I loved this book and found that all the things I enjoy about Hobb's writing within the Realm of the Elderlings books are carried over into this series too. If a book is so-so, it ends up under the bed somewhere, or maybe under a stinky judo bag in the back of the van. While Nevare is well and truly written.
Driven deeper into isolation and even more decimated are the mysterious Specks, whose natural dwellings are deforested for colonization. There are terrible books on here with much better average scores and it seems unfair that a decent book such as this has an inferior rating than some other crappy, exploitative books you know who you are. Hobb never disappoints with her writing, and while this story was a little off from her usual Fitz novels, I still found a lot to like in the beginnings of what becomes a much larger story for Nevare. I was glad I did not give up reading all three. It wraps up a bit quickly and neatly at the end. I especially enjoyed how she eventually resolved her conflict. But I don't think I would read twice either.
Vev wallowed in the dust for a moment, then curled up on his side, hands to his face. Robin Hobb is a great writer, and I enjoyed reading the first half of this book. Now I do have some complaints about this book. If you read this book expecting to get Fitz you will be fairly dissapointed. And then, on Dark Evening, the circus comes to Old Thares, bringing with it the first Specks Nevare has ever seen… The first book in the Soldier Son trilogy, from the author of the Farseer, Liveship Traders and Tawny Man trilogies. Well, not so much succeed as in colonize and oppress the Plainspeople and the Specks; but I don't want Nevare to have to betray his own people. If it was a first attempt at a novel I would imagine that it would be hard to get it published, bucking the trend of what popular fantasy seems to be.
No matter how slow her books are, after reading so many I know that patience pays off and her storytelling always emerges the victor. I looked at them curiously as we passed, and dared a question. He learns a bit about women's rights by the end of the novel and goes as far as asking his betrothed whether she really wants to marry him or whether she's following her family's wishes, but he never turns that thinking onto himself. I have never read this series though and did not hesitate to give this series a try. Nevare goes to a fair and sees them caged, and there is a moment where he feels the tragedy of the situation but those thoughts are buried under the sexual attraction Nevare and his mates feel for the female Speck and the all-important Dust Dance performed. The inquisitor woman definitely has the wrong person.
I don't demand that characters be likable, but I just didn't find him interesting. The trail we had followed from Widevale now joined a road that picked its way among the remains of mud-brick foundations. A lot is different in this trilogy, and yet a lot remains the same: there are mysterious plotlines brewing excellent for speculation! But with Soldier Son I just couldn't bring myself to enjoy it. Unfortunately, I feel that the Soldier Son trilogy is her least successful work to date. Unlike the ones I mentioned this Academy is not a school of magic. I would certainly say that once this story got going, it definitely got going, and I found myself getting more and more hooked into what was happening and how Nevare and those he cared for would fare.