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Shaman's Crossing: Book One of The Soldier…
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Shaman's Crossing: Book One of The Soldier Son Trilogy (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Robin Hobb

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2,527552,396 (3.4)63
Member:lmh
Title:Shaman's Crossing: Book One of The Soldier Son Trilogy
Authors:Robin Hobb
Info:Eos (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 624 pages
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Rating:***
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Shaman's Crossing by Robin Hobb (2005)

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Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
A pretty good book overall, but does drag at times. I found the main characters well drawn and interesting. I did find I enjoyed following the lead character Nevar and his efforts through his life at home and the academy far more interesting than his dream/reality conflict with the old spek and her version of him. When those moments occured I almost groaned and hoped they would end swiftly. For this reason I find that I have little interest in reading the rest of the trilogy. I will probably finish it at some point. ( )
  TheBishop34 | May 31, 2016 |
Lots of description of essentially mundane military academy life interspersed with a growing spiritual/magical journey for the first-person protagonist. This is my first book by Hobb, and I understand from other reviews it is not considered her best. I judge it to certainly well-written and interesting but very slow to develop its plot (if it even has one!). On the other hand, by seeping the reader so slowly in this alternate world it is possible to get quite involved. ( )
  xlsg | Apr 16, 2016 |
I kept going back and forth trying to decide if I liked this or not and finally decided that I did. It's different than any of Hobb's other books in that it seems less fantasy and more real (in much the same way that George R.R. Martin's books seem more like a medieval tale than fantasy). There were some odd moments in the book that left me cold but I kept reading and I really enjoyed the final fourth of the book. It ended with a much better direction than it had been going in so I'm looking forward to the sequel. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
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. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
OMG SO BORING! I abandoned this after 150 pages or so. I simply have to accept that although I love some types of fantasy, I cannot stand epic fantasy (I also really disliked Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea series, but love her other stuff). Too slow. Not enough action of any kind, in any way. Blah. ( )
  chessakat | Feb 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin Hobbprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serrano, ErvinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
To Caffeine and Sugar

my companions through many a
long night of writing
Dedication

To Caffeine and Sugar, my companions through many a long night of writing.
Acknowledgement

The author would like to acknowledge and thank David Killingsworth for providning information and insight on several weighty matters. It was greatly appreciated.
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I remember well the first time I saw the magic of the Plainspeople.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060758287, Mass Market Paperback)

Nevare Burvelle was destined from birth to be a soldier. The second son of a newly anointed nobleman, he must endure the rigors of military training at the elite King's Cavella Academy—and survive the hatred, cruelty, and derision of his aristocratic classmates—before joining the King of Gernia's brutal campaign of territorial expansion. The life chosen for him will be fraught with hardship, for he must ultimately face a forest-dwelling folk who will not submit easily to a king's tyranny. And they possess an ancient magic their would-be conquerors have long discounted—a powerful sorcery that threatens to claim Nevare Burvelle's soul and devastate his world once the Dark Evening brings the carnival to Old Thares.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:29 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Serving his king during a time of realm expansion, nobleman's son Nevare Burvelle finds his promising career compromised by unexpected prejudice at the King's Cavalry Academy and the discovery that he is being rendered a pawn by the magical plains folk.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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