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

3.34  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,342 Ratings  ·  366 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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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
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 19, 2014 Mike (the Paladin) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jun 28, 2016 Kaitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book by Hobb which I thoroughly enjoyed. Again I say I really don't know why this series has low ratings here, I actually really enjoy this and I am so intrigued about what will happen in Book #3 as so far Hobb has surprised me with twists and turns in both the first book and this one.

As we pick up the story here we again follow Nevare, the young Soldier Son who has already faced so much more than he ever thought he'd have to. Nevare has gone through trials of wit, skill and disease, and
David Sven
May 14, 2014 David Sven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
May 25, 2014 Hanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 10, 2007 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 it was ok  ·  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.
Apr 23, 2009 Tracy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, ebook, kindle
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 liked it  ·  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
Sep 24, 2015 Hudson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Oh no! I never thought I would write these words.....I did not really care for this book. How can this be, it's Robin Hobb for God's sake!

But I just didn't care for it....I didn't hate it because she is such a good writer but there was just not too much going on. I think that I have really high expectations for her and maybe the bar is placed a little higher in her case.

Not even sure how to review it.....the hero goes off to an outpost and digs graves....meets some mysterious creatures.....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
Apr 28, 2007 Steph rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
The Tick
Dec 20, 2009 The Tick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 12, 2012 T.I.M. James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 10, 2011 Traci rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Feb 01, 2010 Rachael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 24, 2008 Myridian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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 liked it  ·  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
I loved the first book of this series, so perhaps it should be no surprise that this one didn't quite live up to my expectations. It's hard to keep up momentum like that, for one thing, and for another, it's the middle book in the series. Nevare spends a lot of time feeling his way around, trying to learn to accept the world as it is, rather than as he wishes that it would be. And Nevare is a stubborn guy. No matter what evidence he's presented with, he does not want to believe that magic exists ...more
Aug 28, 2016 Kylie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I'm doing something a bit different and actually reviewing this book on Goodreads because I don't think I'm going to make a whole book review video on my YouTube channel. Here goes:

This second book in the Soldier Son trilogy, following Shaman's Crossing, was kind of a let down for me. I was very excited about the first book because it was gorgeous first person with mysterious magic. I also loved the military aspect of the first book. Forest Mage hardly had anything to do with the military, wh
...Hobb's portrayal of Gernian society and it's many flaws is utterly believable, instantly recognizable and very detailed. By the end of the book, Nevare as been exposed to, or party in just about every one of them. The author is known to be very hard on her main characters but few sink to the level of Nevare in this novel. And yet he keeps trying. His father desperately tried to give the boy Nevare a spine and he has succeeded in ways he clearly didn't envision. I don't like him much, but in ...more
Mar 07, 2016 Alysa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like i gained a lot of weight while reading this book
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
Aug 31, 2010 William Bentrim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 24, 2014 Elar rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
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.

In Soldier Son we watched Nevare grow up and attend the Academy. At the beginning of Forest Mage, his life has changed forever, but he's slow to notice. The mysterious changes in his body cause a promising situation--much improved by the ramifications of the plague outbreak--to devolve very quickly into infamy and outcast isolation. In the wake of heartbreak and turmoil, he is shunned and driven to the end of the King's road, face to face at last with the unknowable beings: the Specks.

This is
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.
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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)

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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.” 10 likes
“A leaf turns in the wind, and you suddenly have a different perception of what colour it is.” 9 likes
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