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Renegade's Magic

Robin Hobb

Average Review Rating Average Rating 7/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Voyager

Published : 2007

Copyright : Robin Hobb 2007

ISBN-10 : HB 0-00-719618-0
ISBN-13 : HB 978-0-00-719618-0

Publisher's Write-Up

The final book in the brand new trilogy from the author of the Farseer, Liveship Traders and Tawny Man 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 fore.

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Review by Chrissi (040807) Rating (7/10)

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Review by Chrissi
Rating 7/10
This is the final instalment in the Soldier Son Trilogy, and returns to Nevare, who we last saw fleeing Gettys at the end of Forest Mage. He travels into the Forest where he is unable to reconcile the demands of the Magic with the ties that he retains to the people who have shunned him.

Nevare remains a very dithery character, knowing that the Specks, the Forest people, believe that he will stop the road from devastating their forest and turn back the intruders. Nevare can see no way to do this but uses his store of magic to call upon the forest to destroy the road. In doing so, he depletes himself so badly that Soldier's Boy, that part of himself taken and raised by Tree Woman takes over their shared body. Nevare is trapped inside himself and unable to regain control.

The body of Soldier's Boy / Nevare is saved and taken back to the Kin-clan, the group of people who had initially accepted him as a Mage and there he continues to try to solve the dilemma of how to save the Forest. His plans are made more difficult in that Nevare is now effectively a voice in his own head, and Nevare fights to remain separate to Soldier’s Boy and deny him access to knowledge which could be used against his people.

The duality of their natures leads to their downfall; each is incomplete while they both remain inside the same body. Unfortunately, it makes poor Navare seem even more apathetic, trapped inside his own body without control. I did feel while reading this that the author does not really like her characters and because we only see them in adversity, we develop no great empathy for them.

It is dreadful that Nevare is trapped, as he goes around and around in circles, with things happening around him he has no control over. As the reader you are waiting for everything to happen, willing the story on, impatient for resolution... in other words it drags along a bit in places.

I did not find this last part of the trilogy as hard as I found the second, and for that I am very grateful. I know that the laws of trilogies, like Star Wars, say that the end of the first sees the hero triumph, then the second sees the villains of the piece ascendant, and then it all comes together at the last, and the Soldier Son series is no different.

It is a great credit to Robin Hobb that she has resisted the temptation to write the obvious ending, with a reconciliation and a battle, rather she has gone a more circuitous route, and the ending is all the more satisfying for it.

In truth I found this series hard work in places. My problem was I never gained any real empathy for the main characters. Don't get me wrong; the books are very well written and the stories engaging but that special 'something' is not quite there. I have been told Robin Hobb's other trilogies, especially Farseer, are much better and I have decided to give them a go... I'll let you know soon.
Chrissi (4th August 2007)

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