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Shaman's Crossing (The Soldier Son Trilogy #1)

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  12,536 ratings  ·  487 reviews
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 Cavalla 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 f ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 591 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by Harper Voyager (first published 2005)
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33rd out of 224 books — 155 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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David Sven
I still don't get why this book is rated almost a star less on goodreads compared to the Realm of the Elderlings books. The writing is just top notch stuff. I get that the plot is slow as it usually is in most her books, but then again if you are already in love with Robin Hobb you know that it's the characters more than the plot that drive the story. It's the relationships between characters that provide most of the dramatic tension.

Anyway, I loved this book. The story is told from a single fir
Over the years Robin Hobb has become an absolute powerhouse in the world of fantasy. After devouring all her Elderling books, it was time for the odd trilogy in the bunch: the soldier son. A lot is different in this trilogy, and yet a lot remains the same: there are mysterious plotlines brewing (excellent for speculation!), but at the end of the day, it’s all about the characters.
I’m more than ok with that – I’m a very character-driven reader. Yet what this book didn’t have versus all the other
Alex Ristea
On a re-read, this was bumped up to a full 5 stars.

I won't ruin the rest of the series (because it takes quite a turn), but there's an incredible amount of foreshadowing. Tiny details and encounters that will have larger implications in Forest Mage and Renegade's Magic.

But this book works even if you're reading it for the first time. Every character is fully fleshed out, and though it starts a bit slow, you soon won't be able to put the book down.

Does this book wreck you emotionally? Of course,
Jean Tatro
I've been a fan of Robin Hobb for several years. I loved the Farseer Trilogy, adored the Liveship Traders, and enjoyed the Tawny Man books even if the last one fell apart half way through. I eagerly grabbed up Shaman's Cross when it came out, but in the aftermath of the house fire it ended up in a box, forgotten and unread. I recently unearthed it and placed it at the top of my to-read pile.

Quite simply it was a disappointment. It was probably only my great love of the author that made me strugg
Ben Babcock
I really haven't read enough Robin Hobb. She has flown under my radar, mostly because my first encounters with her were through the library, and I have this bad habit of checking out books in the middle of the series (ahem, Golden Fool) and then wondering what the hell is going on. Last year I read Assassin's Apprentice , and I have acquired the remaining two books in that trilogy, so I hope to finish that soon. For now, however, I've turned to the Soldier Son trilogy. And though I've exceeded t ...more
I've started this review three or four times only to become disgusted with my effort, slam the laptop closed and storm away. There are several authors who do this to me, Hobb and GGK are two who for whatever reason make it difficult for me to explain why I enjoy their work so much.( I'm reading Under Heaven right now and can see myself heading in the same direction with that review.) It's all about the characters with Hobb, if you are looking for an action packed book you need to look elsewhere. ...more
Robin Hobb is one of my favorite Fantasy authors. She not only provides detailed worlds and characters with wondrous magic, but characters that I can feel. She is one of the few authors that have actually made me cry. It's an activity that is extremely rare for me in real life, and I tend to avoid weepy books or movies because they just make me feel manipulated. But that was not the case with Hobb - the emotion she pulled out of me was much more real.

All of this to say, I've loved each of the bo
So I've given this novel 3 stars as I feel that it is the rating that best represents my feeling towards it. This is a decent book with some interesting ideas that are ultimately somewhat frustrated. Now you're probably thinking that stating the obvious is a weird way to start a review, and it is. The reason why I considered giving this book 5 stars was that the average rating was so low. When I see that a book on here has a rating below 3.5 I usually disregard it immediately. There are terribl ...more
3.5 stars & I may round down to 3 after the next 2 books. The magic system was wonderful & Hobb does take proper care of horses. She even has the hero taking care of his tack, a major plus. Excellent world with an a defeated society that is expanding over new territory. Very realistic & well done.

I listened to it as an audio book with a good reader, but Hobb repeats herself enough that I wondered if the book was originally published as a serial. I don't think it was & she repeate
Shaman's Crossing is the first book in Robin Hobb's Soldier Son trilogy. Hobb draws here a fantasy world whose world is closer to the 18th or 19th century than to medieval times. Gernia, which sees itself as the standard-bearer of civilization, a generation ago lost its naval superiority and, with it, all of its coastal provinces. In response, the old knighthood (the Cavalla) became an elite cavalry and rose to prominence in battles against the barbaric plainsmen with their tribal ways and primi ...more
Robin Hobb is a great writer, and I enjoyed reading the first half of this book. But then it starts to get depressing... And through all three books it never stops. All of her books are a little sad, but this one was way over he top. Reading these books was pretty much the same as being emotionally beat up. I read all three books because I kept waiting for things to get better... I thought it was impossible to write a whole trilogy that depressing. I was wrong.
A young man grows up in a sheltered and privileged adolescence and then enters a military academy to begin his training as the soldier son of his father. Dark magic from the mysterious Speck tribe, political upheavals at home, a new plague sickness spreading in the borderlands, and good old-fashioned twattery combine to make it a difficult first year.

I was told by several people when starting this that it wasn't their favourite Hobb book, that it was difficult/boring/odd. I found it none of the
Oh how I wanted to love this book. Oh how disappointed I was! So this review will be the "Ode of Oh's".

Oh how did this book get so popular?

I was given this book by a family member with excellent reviews but I can't see why this person-who-shall-remain-unnamed liked it so much. I enjoyed the detailed descriptions of the world and the excellent character building (we literally watch Nevare grow) but the "liking" stops there.

Oh Nevare, why have you no balls?

Nevare is a fucking coward, and the sad
Mike (the Paladin)
Allow me a little leeway here. I tend to like plot driven books, but to be fair there are some wonderful character driven books that have drawn me in and I've loved. I like a character to be well written and clearly drawn, to be "true to him/herself". In other words not to suddenly change and do something "completely out of character" because the story suddenly needs it or something. That being said, sometimes a character can be written well, everything in the book can make sense for the charact ...more
Once again Robin Hobb impresses with her ability to create an amazingly real and detailed world and wonderfully complex and entertaining characters to inhabit it. You know you're dealing with a truly talented author when the story is full of hardships, pain and disillusionment and it is still a joy to read. This is the first of a very promising trilogy and I look forward eagerly to the continuing story of Nevarre, the hero who thinks he knows exactly what his future holds for him until one day a ...more
I was probably one step away from installing and burning sandalwood incense on a Robin Hobb shrine because of her Liveship Traders and Farseer trilogies.

Compared to those Shaman's Crossing turned out to be a huge disappointment. The main character never grabbed me like Fitz or the tons of characters from the Liveship Traders trilogy did. I couldn't help finding the story a bit uninspired and terribly slow. Still, I promised myself to pick up the follow ups. After all, we're talking Hobb here. U
Kevin Xu
I loved the school in here, so much like modern boarding school to me, not fantasy at all because it has no magic.
In Shaman’s Crossing, an excellent light-fantasy novel, Robin Hobb succeeds in not only creating a compelling world but also establishing a rich, branching worldview to anchor it.

The book revolves around Nevare Burvelle, a solider son, as all second sons of nobility are destined to be. Nevare’s father is a member of the new nobility, granted his title for valor as an officer in the king’s cavalry, and Nevare is raised to fill his heredity role as soldier.

The first third of the novel details Nev
T.I.M. James
This is not just a bit different for a Robin Hobb book, but different as a fantasy book too. If it was a first attempt at a novel I would imagine that it would be hard to get it published, bucking the trend of what popular fantasy seems to be.

Here Hobb throws out quite a lot of what seems to be 'normal' Instead of the standard medieval setting the blueprint of this new series is the expansion into the old west, particularly the cavalry and the subjugation of the indigenous peoples.

Obviously it
A stunning work that challenges how we think of American frontier history and what we think of fantasy.

Hobbs has a penchant for upending all the usual tropes and devices of fantasy. And she does this all with real characters and an entertaining and stirring plot. We see "sword and sorcery" and we think "knights and mages", usually young, muscular and powerful men who, after some initial confusion, embrace their destiny with fervour to fight the good fight. Yawn.

Hobbs writes sword and sorcery i
Megan Chee
Right... so I borrowed this book right at the end of my borrowing binge on the last day of school. I already had an armful of eight or nine books when I spotted this book and thought, "Why not?" and added it to the steadily-growing pile. After I had checked it out with the librarian (who was probably giving me funny looks by this time), I looked it up on Goodreads and was APPALLED at the rating. 3.35?!?!?! Really?!?!?!

I never would have picked up a book with that low a rating if I had known bef
Althea Ann
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.5 really but I rounded down because it's not a book I will keep or probably ever read again. I have read some really negative reviews on this series. I was even told to skip it completely. But I rarely do what Iam told and wanted to make up my own mind. The first book is good. Not great. But not as bad as I was lead to believe. The writing is good. The characters are real although they do fall short of being truly likable. I recommend starting with the Farseer and saving this one near to last. ...more

I've read Robin Hobb's big 3 trilogies (Assassin, Liveship, Golden Fool (*)) and had a touch/go relationship with some of them (Liveship by far the best).

This was really bad. Long, slow, uninteresting and a very "back to basics" start of a trilogy for a rather annoying character. In this day and age do we really need a boarding-school setting? Even if it is a University-level military academy. Really?

The initial setting and premise is pretty good - probably similar to a early-Western setti
Apr 04, 2012 Jerry rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans
Despite being a long-time fan of fantasy fiction, Shaman's Crossing is the first Robin Hobb novel that I've read, so I can't say how this compares to her other works. However, I can say that, despite its length, Shaman's Crossing made for quite engrossing reading. I'm usually a fast reader, but it took me four days to finish this, which is longer than my usual book completion time; however, I didn't give up because I wanted to know what happened next. Shaman's Crossing wouldn't work as a standal ...more
Really epic fantasy. I've read one other series by Robin Hobb, and once again I am impressed with my introduction to a world of her imagining. The world building was fantastic, the characters unique and interesting, the society multi-faceted, the magic useful, and the bad guys all sorts of shades of gray. Very enjoyable read for those who like fantasy.

Nevare was a great character to build this story around. He had strong values, a clear view of seeing things, but was conflicted over his honor, s
Scott Marlowe
Enter Nevare Burvelle, second son of a second son, fated because of his birth order to become a soldier in his king's cavalla (cavalry). Much of this first book in the series deals with Nevare's childhood: how his father initiates him into his birth-fate, begins to meld him into the man he must one day become, and, finally, sends him off to the King's Academy where he will learn the business of soldiering. Along the way, as you would expect, Nevare becomes entangled in a web that neither he nor ...more
Sean Randall
"He'll be shitting through his lips until the morning light!"

I'm no stranger to Hobb but things never, ever get old. Each world and character therein is painted so well that we're drawn in, right from the start. "I remember well the first time I saw the magic of the plainspeople," opens this one. And the magic is there, always, mostly deftly woven throughout the story and playing such a subtle yet vital role.

As Nevare grows up in the book, so our worldview grows also. We learn what peoples and m
Dev Null
Usually I write up reviews for series as a whole, but for this one I feel that the books are so utterly different that they deserve separate write-ups.

This first book in the series was mostly ok. Fairly standard Potter-esque "boy goes to school; makes friends and struggles through" kind of stuff. A couple of things bugged me about it though, most of which center around one central problem: it feels like a collection of unrelated short stories that have nothing to do with each other, that someone
Ron Campbell
The first book in the 'Soldier Son' trilogy sets not only the main character but also the World that the story takes place in. It is a time of Kings, Noble Lords, peasants and the savages. Hobb does a great job in not only describing this world, but also explains how this social environment is beneficial. Everything is laid out and everyone knows who they are! The Lord's first son is the son that is the heir to the lordship and carries on the father's work. The Lord's second son is the son that ...more
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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)
  • Forest Mage (Soldier Son, #2)
  • 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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