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Forest Mage (The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 2) Mass Market Paperback – November 27, 2007

3.3 out of 5 stars 164 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Soldier Son Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Continuing adventures begun in Shaman's Crossing (2005), Nevare Burvelle comes home to find that the plague from which he was magically healed has stricken his homeland and family. (First-person narration heightens the impact of his guilt and horror.) He returns to the forest to find a cure in ancient magic that is extraordinarily demanding to employ and can wreak more havoc than healing. The forest is drawn in delicate, vivid language reminiscent of Hobb's treatment of the rivers and ocean in the Liveship Traders trilogy. A fine example of how to avoid middle-book slump. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Gripping.” (London Times)

“At once harrowing, unexpected, and morally complex . . . I’m eager to see what happens next.” (Locus)

“Refreshing. . . . There’s a truthfulness to her creation that is lacking in some of the more slapdash fantasies.” (Locus)
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Product Details

  • Series: The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 2 (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 2 edition (November 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060758295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060758295
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robin Hobb currently lives and writes in Tacoma, Washington, but that has not always been the case!
Born in Oakland, California, she sampled life in Berkeley and then in suburban San Rafael before her family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in the '60's. She graduated from Lathrop High School in Fairbanks in 1969, and went on to attend College at the University of Denver in Denver Colorado. In 1970, she married Fred Ogden and moved with him to his home town of Kodiak Alaska. After a brief stint in Hawaii, they moved to Washington State. They live in Tacoma, with brief stints down to a pocket farm in Roy, Washington, where they raise chickens, ducks, geese, vegetables and random children.

Robin began her writing career as Megan Lindholm. Her stories under that name were finalists for both the Nebula and Hugo awards. Both "Silver Lady and the Fortyish Man" and "A Touch of Lavender" were Asimov's Reader Award winners. Perhaps her best known novel as Megan Lindholm is Wizard of the Pigeons, an urban fantasy set in Seattle Washington.

When she began writing in a different slice of the fantasy genre, she adopted the pen name of Robin Hobb. Robin is best known as the author of the Farseer Trilogy (Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin and Assassin's Quest.) Other works include The Liveship Traders Trilogy, the Tawny Man Trilogy, and the Soldier Son trilogy. The Rain Wilds Chronicles is a four part tale consisting of Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven, City of Dragons and Blood of Dragons. A story collection, The Inheritance, showcases her work as both Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm.

A short story, Words Like Coin, is available as an illustrated e-book from Subterranean Books. A Six Duchies novella, The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince, was also published by Subterranean Press.

In 2013, she announced that she would be returning to Buckkeep, and two of her favorite characters, Fitz and the Fool. The first volume of the new trilogy, The Fool's Assassin, is scheduled to be published in August 2014.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I consider the `Assassins ` series one of the top ten fantasy series I've ever read, and I've read a lot. Therefore it was with keen interest that I picked up the `Forest Mage', especially after reading the first book `Shaman's Crossing'.

This book should have been titled `Diary of a Depressed Fat Man'. Yes, I like complex character development - it's one of the reasons why the Assassins series was so good, but give me a break! I stayed up till 2:30am finishing this book, not because it was so captivating but because I couldn't believe it wouldn't somehow get better and justify the time I wasted reading it.

Let me save you the time:

He gets fat.
Everyone hates him.
He discovers that he has magic but doesn't know how to use it.
He is still fat.
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Format: Hardcover
There were a lot of complaints that the first book in this series was overly slow or even boring. While I agreed that book one was slow and at times dry, I thought it rewarded the patient reader and that the pace was mostly appropriate for the content and character. The same complaints about book one could also be leveled at Forest Mage, and here, unfortunately, I can't quite defend the book as strongly.
Like the first book, there isn't a lot of "action" here. One expecting large battles, political upheaval or machinations, encounters with monsters, or showy displays of magic will be best served not bothering, though if anyone is picking up Forest Mage after reading Shaman's Crossing they're already aware of all this. Mage picks up with Nevare returning home after having "recovered" from the Speck plague of book one. Unfortunately, he is still seemingly in thrall to the Speck magic and his recovery takes the form of a gross gaining of weight as the magic "swells" him, forcing his exile from first the military academy, then his own family. The first third or so of the book deals with his worsening relations at home (things with his father turn particularly horrific), which only are resolved by a new wave of plague that frees Nevare to move on toward the frontier where he hopes some desparate unit would take him on. He ends up a cemetary soldier in the last town at the far working end of the King's Road. There, at the boundary area between his own culture and that of the Specks (whose mountain forest the road must carve its path through), he must solve the problem of the Speck magic that grows in him and either choose sides between the two cultures or find some way of bridging the two.
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1 Comment 43 of 53 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Other reviewers have stated repeatedly that this novel was depressing. That is true, but Robin Hobb has never been an author with a light-hearted, upbeat tone to her books. She does however always deliver characters with great depth and feeling. While reading the novel, you become totally immersed in its world and extemely hestiant to leave it, no matter how dark and depressing it is. As always, the characters seem to be real people. Living, breathing, people with their own itineraries. None are neither all good or all evil, but moved by complicated needs and desires that make them so real. I have just finished reading this novel about 30 minutes ago, and feel as if someone important to me has died or disappeared. That is how deeply Robin Hobb's characters affect me.

***Warning, small spoilers in this review. I usually try to avoid these, but with this novel, I don't how else to comment on it.***

While the first novel showed up the maturing of the boy, Nevare, this novel shows the making of the man.

In the first portion of novel, Nevare begins to be stripped of everything in his world. His physical fitness, his education, his love, and his family. Disaster after disaster befall him. Although he attempt to make the best of it, and grows into a man, taking charge and better the area around him, he stil loses everything dear to him.

In the second, and longest portion of the novel, Nevare is broken down to the lowest of the low... weak-spirited, reviled, almost friendless, and constantly attempting conform to his destiny as decided on by his father. Even after his father has renounced him, he stuggles to gain his place in this society that he was "born" to have.
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1 Comment 58 of 75 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
If you enjoy books about characters who have a million and one problems, but never seek out solutions for them, CONGRATULATIONS! Forest Mage just might be the book for you! Imagine a man who is slowly being overtaken by a controlling magic he does not want . Is being impinged upon by an unwanted personality who makes him do evilly evil things! Any other writer might make their main character fight their own fate. BUT NOT ROBIN HOBB! And we love her for it! And don't worry, even if Nevare seems to be making an attempt to turn his life around, take a deep breath and relax. Because he won't. He'll have sex with a Speck instead and then complain about it later.
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Format: Hardcover
I read it in seven hours, staying up until 3:30am. And I remembered what I'd forgotten about the Robin Hobb trilogies.

The middle book is always AWFUL.

Oh, I don't mean the writing is bad; it's not. But the situational turmoil the characters go through, and the emotional turmoil you share with them, is completely and utterly devastating. No holds barred. Hobbs pours on despair like the sand in one of those old B-movie closed-room booby traps... it just keeps coming and coming until it buries you and you drown in it or are crushed under the weight.

The few bright, hopeful spots are the size of fire-flies, tiny pin-pricks of light that do nothing at all substantial to hold back the darkness.

And yet, you can't put it down. Never once while reading did I think, okay, this is depressing, I'm gonna quit. The book sucks you in with a totality so immense that you forget you have a separate life and personality outside its pages. You BECOME Nevare Burvelle for the space of those hours.

I could go on and on, but it would get repetitive, and if, you've read it, you already know what I'm talking about. If you HAVEN'T read it, I urge you NOT to read it until the third and final book comes out. If the series stays true to Hobbs form, the ending will make up for it all, in ways you never imagined.

Certainly don't read it now if you have any tendency towards depression. After I finished, I felt as though I'd been beaten with a sack of flour for those seven hours... achy and bruised both mentally and physically.
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