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Forest Mage: The Soldier Son Trilogy (The Soldier Son Trilogy #2)

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  10,440 ratings  ·  308 reviews
Plague has ravaged the prestigious King's Cavalla of Gernia, decimating the ranks of both cadets and instructors. Yet Nevare Burvelle has made an astonishingly robust recovery, defeating his sworn nemesis while in the throes of the disease and freeing himself—he believes—from the Speck magic that infected him. And now he is journeying home to Widevale, anticipating a tende ...more
ebook, 752 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mike (the Paladin)
First let me say that I have another series on my shelf by Robin Hobb. When I started this trilogy I noted from others who had read it and reviewed it that several of them said it was far from Robin Hobb's best work. Several also said if you haven't read anything by Robin Hobb don't start here. Some said they would recommend these books only to Robin Hobb fans. From this I take hope.

I see many liked it a great deal...I see some people I usually agree with liked it a great deal...I liked the firs
I read this book immediately following the first book in the trilogy. The first books ends with adventure, conflict, moral dilemmas, strong character interaction and hope that the main character had learned something that will help him in the adventures to come. Instead, this book throws us back into plodding, slow, weary exposition as more sadness befalls Nevare and he travels into a new life that is even more sad and useless than his previous one.

Nevare was frustrating in the first book, but h
Alex Ristea
I'm not sure I would consider myself a masochist, but then again I can't explain why I love reading Robin Hobb's books so much.

She puts her characters through every imaginable hell you can think of, and then some. Gods be damned, but the protagonist just can't win in this one.

I've never encountered such a relentless fall into despair. For the fans who've read the Farseer trilogy, let me just say that the treatment of Nevare here is what happens to Fitz, but on steroids.

As the second book, by thi
I’m once again a happy bunny, even if I’m not ecstatic. I’m happy to report that book two is so much better than book one, with a marvellous climax towards the end. But I’m not perfectly satisfied: I struggle with the zero connection to the main character which really is a problem for me; and considering that we are talking about a Robin Hobb here, it remains such a strange feeling. She’s still drawing with the same crayons, doing all the things she normally does (read: putting her characters th ...more
David Sven
Most of what I like about this book and Robin Hobb's writing I've already said in my review of the first book so I'll just link to that here. The beginning of that review still holds true.

Just as the first book describes Nevare's journey or perhaps "coming of age" as a Soldier's Son in Cavalry school, this book might be described as a belated "coming of age" story where Nevare grows in a journey of "becoming" in regards to the Speck Magic that claims him.

In some ways this does feel like a "middl
If you are a huge Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm fan, you will probably enjoy her latest Soldier's Son books. These books are just as character driven as her previous work; the characters just as solid and fleshed out (no pun intended), the overall writing is just as polished. If Hobb explored moral ambiguity through Fitz in the Six Duchies world, she goes even further with Nevare in her Soldier's Son books.
Nevare is not as exciting a character as Fitz or Althea or the Fool. He starts out fairly shal
May 24, 2007 Andy rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those with a perverse love of tragedy
So, I really like Robin Hobb as an author. I have read everything else she has ever written under this name. Always, the books are well written but always follow the troubled life of the main character.
Well, this book marks the first time I have given up on a character of Hobb's. Fitz-Chivalry and Althea and the rest, they made mistakes, they were stupid but you had a grudging respect for them that kept you going, even when you watched there life disenegrate from the course they chose.
But I can'
Ben Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I gave this 3, but it's a very weak 3 and briefly I was tempted to give it 2.

Epiny and Spink are the only things that really save this book. Nevare is driving me up the wall with annoyance, because he is 1) so incredibly passive this entire book and 2) really not the brightest. I'm not going to say this is out of character for him, because he definitely had elements in the previous book, at least about the passivity. But it's taken it to a new level and really, there's only so much time I want t
Jun 07, 2007 Korynn rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: masochists
Shelves: sci-fifantasy
Robin Hobb excells in writing characters that are tragically human. Time and time again her characters deny their destiny, struggle against fate, make astoundingly bad decisions, have terrible luck, and are put through the most soul tearingly body wracking experiences. Ms. Hobb fulfills that most human of hopes, reward after monumental trials and tribulations. In this story Nevare Burville, the soldier son of his noble family, finds himself under a seemingly irreversible spell that causes him to ...more
Audio book by Recorded Books, read by John Keating.

This could have been a LOT better. The story was great & the world is so unique, but Hobb repeats herself far too much. Why did I bother to read the first book when the entire story is laid out in this one? Why does she have to repeat the same reasoning over & over. Since the hero is an idiot anyway, it just gets old.

The hero's intelligence is another issue. Yes, he is in denial & young. Yes, he was raised in a very controlled, res
The Tick
I really wanted to finish this book, but by the time I'd gotten about halfway through (and it's a pretty long book, so that's a pretty substantial number of pages) it still felt like almost nothing had happened. I got really sick of the constant descriptions of Nevare's--and just about everyone else's--size, and of how everyone always had the exact same reaction to his new appearance. It's too bad because I really did want to know what happened, but I just can't face reading the rest.
T.I.M. James
One of the things that I have read about this series, is how it is not in keeping with Robin Hobb's other work which somehow makes it weaker, almost as though she has lost her way a bit from with this series.

In truth it is different and that is probably the crux of the problem. People rightly love her Four Kingdom novels and the characters that abide there, so to see her stepping away from that it probably a bit of jerk in it's own right, but in stepping well away from the 'standard' conventions
I actually liked the character of Nevare better in this one. It was a strange choice for Hobb to make her lead gain so much weight. In parts it reminded me of the Stephen King book Thinner. I thought she did a good job showcasing of feeling betrayed by your body. I also thought she did a fine job of changing the character just enough in response to his new hardships. I felt a sympathy for him that I didn't in the first.
Although some things were way too repetitive. Baths and cleaning come to mind
This is the second in the Soldier Son trilogy. I had serious doubts about the first one, but found this second to be much more palatable. The main character, Nevare, is forced to break with this traditional beliefs/goals in a much more significant way within this book when he is expelled from the military academy for his ever-increasing weight. Hobb made a good choice in making her hero obese (or probably morbidly obese). At times I wanted her to be a little more clear-cut in the message that pr ...more
Mar 06, 2008 Nathan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Robin Hobb fans, most fantasy readers
This book was good, but hard to read, and probably about 200 pages longer than it needed to be.

Hobb tells an engaging story that suffers from two distinct problems. The first is the "idiot plot" where her protagonist has to be an idiot to do lots of the things that he does. The second is that like many of her heroes in past books, they do little but suffer and know very little happiness. It wears on the reader after a while.

That said, the story is interesting enough, and the characters engaging
Hobb usually does an amazing job of keeping her characters in conflict, challenging the reader with charged conversations and gut-wrenching tragedy. But her latest entry in the Soldier Son Trilogy is 700 pages of Nevare's whining and indecision and frankly... it gets boring fast. All the interesting characters from the trilogy's previous installment exist only on the outskirts here.

Get it from the library and read it for the last chapter. Those precious 15 pages at the end left me with some hop
R. Michael Litchfield
Good follow-up to Shaman's crossing. Takes several characters we knew and extends them, in fact for most of them (particularly the protagonist) it upends the and completely redefines/makes them. It's tempting to be mad about that because characters I liked (Bervelle pere) turn out even worse and in some case characters I didn't like (tree woman) turn out better but I believe that it is really a case of the a boy becoming a man and the change in perspective that carries. Hobb really does have a i ...more
William Bentrim
Forest Mage by Robin Hobb (a.k.a. Megan Lindholm)

This is the second book in the Soldier Son Trilogy. Nevare Burvell, a second son, is destined to be the family soldier. His naïve acceptance that birth order is responsible for all aspects of life is challenged by his life experiences. The forest magic forces Nevare to abandon hope and look to the Specks.

Despair comes to mind when analyzing Nevare’s life. Every time he turns around what ever he strives to achieve blows up in his face. He finds hi
I couldn't put it down, but I wasn't happy while I was reading it. Yes, it was at the incredible level of detail and world-building I expect from Robin Hobb. Yes, everything awful that could possibly happen to her characters happened.

And for some reason, I found it incredibly annoying that one of the awful things happening to the main character is that he got really, really, really fat as a result of the Speck magic. Like grotesquely immense to the point that people would fall into horrified si
The awful thing about trilogies is having to read through to the end of the third book to discover what happens, but while I might skim the last chapter of the next book in a shop, I doubt I will buy it. Forest Mage was such a disappointment, given how much I enjoyed Hobbs' earlier Farseer books—I found this novel repetitive and pedestrian. I never found myself liking Nevare, and for a number of personal reasons, the constant remarks about his weight made for uncomfortable reading. I felt twit ...more
Les Miserables in fantasy setup. Previous book was already little bit too dramatic for me, but this book not only doubles the pain, but also quadruples the agony of main character. Maybe I am not in self-pitting mood because of the festivities, but it is really hard to read all the ways the protagonist gets it from behind.
Liam Johnstone
I had a harder time reading this one than Shaman's Crossing, mostly because of the affliction that hit the main character, but it was a good book.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott Marlowe
The cover of this book is important because, more than any other cover I've seen for this series in all it's many editions, it symbolizes what the Soldier Son Trilogy is all about. You have a man--a cavalry soldier--sword drawn, facing the mists of the forest and the ominous mountains beyond. There is fire, carnage, and an overwhelming feeling that something is out there. Is it coming? Is it waiting for our cavalryman's charge? We don't know, but clearly the man senses the danger he's in else hi ...more
I read the first of this trilogy, Shaman's Crossing when it came out and mostly liked it, with some reservations about its very slow pace. I figured that the pace was due to its being the first of the trilogy, and that once she'd set everything up, things would start to happen faster in the second and third books. Unfortunately, the slow pace continues; combined with the relative passivity of the first-person narrator, this made me almost stop reading the books, because it felt like nothing happ ...more
Nevare has the life he's always dreamed of lined up for him and ready to go. He's handsome and strong, he's in the academy to become an officer in the cavalry, he has a family that's proud of him and he has a beautiful young lady waiting to become his wife. But then, as this book, the second in a trilogy, opens, his entire life begins to slowly unravel and turn inside out. This is an interesting story filled with characters I could easily empathize with, but I think at over 700 dense pages it wa ...more
Evie Byrne
I'm a little worried about this series. I really admire what she's trying to do--i.e. not dish up the same old young male fantasy hero that we all know so well. She's not afraid to make her characters suffer and fail and be unlikeable. As an author, I know how brave that is. In addition, the hero of this book is immensely fat. I've never seen that before. And I'm always in love with the way she handles character and description.

I kept reading the book because I like these things, and I have fait
I think this trilogy could have done with a lot more editing than it got. Robin Hobb's world-building is very, very detailed, built up block by block. Unfortunately, in the first book that made it somewhat slow, and in this book it made it very hard to read. That isn't made any easier by the uncomfortableness of the topic. My English teacher always said that fiction is all about conflicts, but Nevare's life in this book is just one long conflict -- fighting the good, fighting the bad, fighting e ...more
Dev Null
Nevare, the main character in this book, is one of the most passive characters I've ever encountered in literature.

Stuff happens to him. Not only does he have no control over the stuff, he has no _possibility_ of gaining control over the stuff. Its like reading a book about the victim of a tidal wave, that starts with the water rising but ends as soon as it recedes and before our hero can react at all. Needless to say, the stuff that happens is all bad, but the way he just mopes around whining
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** I am shocked to find that some people think a 2 star 'I liked it' rating is a bad rating. What? I liked it. I LIKED it! That means I read the whole thing, to the last page, in spite of my life raining comets on me. It's a good book that survives the reading process with me. 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. So a 2 st ...more
More about Robin Hobb...

Other Books in the Series

The Soldier Son Trilogy (3 books)
  • Shaman's Crossing (Soldier Son, #1)
  • Renegade's Magic (Soldier Son, #3)
Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1) Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy, #2) Assassin's Quest (Farseer Trilogy, #3) Fool's Errand (Tawny Man, #1) Fool's Fate (Tawny Man, #3)

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“None of us ever know what we are choosing when we choose life. If certainty is so important to you, than you should have chosen to be dead. That is a certain thing.” 7 likes
“A leaf turns in the wind, and you suddenly have a different perception of what colour it is.” 7 likes
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