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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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2,360482,665 (3.41)57
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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Shaman's Crossing by Robin Hobb (2005)

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English (48)  German (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Not what I expected from Hobb at all. An ambitious story that departs from fantasy traditions in so many ways. Instead of a quasi-feudal backdrop, we are set in a world that intertwines aspects from Victorian Europe with those of the opening of the American west and the fading traditions of nobility gone sour among knights errant. This all underpins a story that weaves together such political powder kegs as native rights, women's suffrage and the clash of old vs new money. While there are quiet references to magic, there is little actually evident in the world. The only events of note that rely on it happen in a mystical dream realm that neither we nor the characters themselves are entirely sure is real.

But I think that in her ambition to invent such a new and fertile world she forgot to include something crucial: a story. Things happen and conflict abounds but none of it engaged me particularly. I empathized with the hero well enough, but Hobb appears to have spent all her energy on aspects of his situation that didn't interest me and then glossed over the parts that I found potentially gripping.

Maybe it was the dreamworld stuff. I'm not a big fan of dreamscape magic. Or maybe it was the sometimes subtly discordant notes of male culture, duty, honor and, well, "guy culture" stuff that just didn't quite ring completely true to me. Writing about groups of young men training for the military and forced to cooperate while actually competing with each other is pretty ambitious psychological territory for a woman writer to tackle, no different than if I was to try to write about the she-politics at a debutante ball, and ballsy enough to do so from the perspective of a female character in the thick of the maneuvering.

Whatever the reason, this had more promise than was actually delivered. ( )
  Jefficus | Apr 25, 2014 |
I've loved her later books but this one didn't cut it with me. I found myself skipping pages until I finally just quit. ( )
  stormy50 | Feb 19, 2014 |
Inside this trilogy is a really good book trying to get out. The father son relationship, the training of soldiers, the conflicting ways of life, the fairness of her writing, it was good but it could have been great.

I don't think one of her ideas could work at all, first sons take their fathers job/role and second sons are always soldiers, given a society with big families I think that there would be to many soldiers, not sure. ( )
  Janientrelac | Oct 17, 2013 |
This is my first Robin Hobb book. I can't say I loved it, but I can't say that I hated it, either. I stayed up late to finish it, though I can't really put my finger on why. Obviously, something was keeping me engaged. It's unusual for me not to have strong opinions about a book! I liked Nevare, as I thought he was both complex and naive at the same time, which is hard for a writer to pull off, but at the same time, I didn't feel fully invested in his adventures or success. I've picked up Forest Mage (Book 2 in the trilogy), though. ( )
  lucy3107 | Sep 23, 2013 |
If I'd read this more slowly, it might have got three stars, but I read it all in a day, and got quite caught up in it. I don't think it has the flair of Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy. Nevare seems to me a less fully-formed main character than Fitz. I'm hoping he'll build up more in the later books. A good thing about Hobb's writing is that she isn't afraid to make her characters pay. Just like Fitz, Nevare has to work for things.

It's an interesting new world, too. Hobb's world building is always very good, and she has a pretty firm grasp on how societies change and break down, and rebuild. I'll be interested to see where all that goes, just on its own. I'm hoping for lots more of it, building up throughout the trilogy, as happened with the Realm of the Elderlings books.

I'm also very intrigued by the magic Nevare becomes a part of. We'll see, later in the trilogy, whether it's as good a concept as the Wit and the Skill, but I suspect it'll be interesting.

The trouble is with "infodumps", I think. There are quite long sections of pure background information. I think that happened in Farseers and the Tawny Man, but was most noticeable in Liveships and here. The conversational tone of the books due to the first person narration helps, but it still sticks out at me.

I think this trilogy is shaping up to be quite solid, interesting fantasy. There was a real sense of excitement later in the book, though the early chapters dragged rather. I guess the next two books will cement whether this trilogy is going to be brilliant, like Farseers, or just good. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin Hobbprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Caffeine and Sugar

my companions through many a
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:37 -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)

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