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Shaman's Crossing

(The Soldier Son #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  20,467 ratings  ·  875 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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Stephanie Ridiculous There is a fair amount of talking about whores, and a few lewd scenes during a carnival. No actual swearing, although it is inferred a lot. There is a…moreThere is a fair amount of talking about whores, and a few lewd scenes during a carnival. No actual swearing, although it is inferred a lot. There is a large amount of bullying, too. A mature young teen would probably be alright, but I'd be wary of the sex stuff. (less)

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Average rating 3.46  · 
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 ·  20,467 ratings  ·  875 reviews

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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
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this book was one I went into with slight trepidation becuase the ratings here on Goodreads aren't great and I'd heard that this wasn't as strong as Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings books (which are my favourites). I am glad that I still gave this one a chance in spite of all that, because I loved this book and found that all the things I enjoy about Hobb's writing within the Realm of the Elderlings books are carried over into this series too.

This series has a focus on one main character (much
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
I think that most people will go into this book expecting it to be like a Realm of the Elderlings novel. It’s got very mixed reviews and most people end up disappointed with it.
Now I waited a good 5 months after I finished RotE before starting this. I read some of Hobb’s short fiction in this time and knew I could read and be impressed by a story from her that wasn’t set in that world. It made me realise that it wasn’t just her characters that I love, but her writing and stories. So I ended up
Apr 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you read this book expecting to get Fitz you will be fairly dissapointed. Because this is not Fitz at all.
This story is completely different. It is a frontier novel with a totally different plot and a totally different hero. I loved Nevare as a boy and then started to even resent him a bit as he grew up but in the end he grew on me and now I find I really like him. I love the magic too and even though the book was fairly slow I have still enjoyed it.
Mike (the Paladin)
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
**Update. Below is the review I wrote when i read this book. Sadly I completely disliked what came next. I guess it happens.**

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 o
Kara Babcock
Apr 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-read, fantasy, owned
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 exceede ...more
Mark Halse
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I think that part of the problem with this book is with the audience. I feel that readers are holding this book up to their own expectations and not reading it on its own terms which causes disappointment and, based on some of the reviews, even grief.

I enjoyed Shaman's Crossing from start to finish. It is a Robin Hobb book through and through in that the characters are vividly presented and it had me pulling my hair out several times. Hobb really knows how to torture her characters and make a re
May 23, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Oct 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series, i-own
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
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
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
Alfred Haplo
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy-mytho
If Shaman’s Crossing* (“SC”) was my first Hobb book, I would have been disenchanted. This is fare for fans but even we, should buddy-read for moral support.

Far from being atrocious, SC is a commendable book that is quintessential Hobb, absent feeling. As I was reading SC, I kept thinking how detached the emotions, how exceedingly passive the protagonist, how sedate the exposition… but stopped short when I realized that I have been unconsciously comparing SC to Hobb’s much beloved and most recen
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 repeated herself even w
Kevin Xu
Nov 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, re-read
I loved the school in here, so much like modern boarding school to me, not fantasy at all because it has no magic.
Althea Ann
Sep 30, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Scott Marlowe (Out of this World Reviews)


*** This review originally appeared on Out of this World Reviews. ***

Shaman's Crossing is the first novel in Robin Hobb's Soldier Son Trilogy. Other books in the series include Forest Mage and Renegade's Magic.

Shaman's Crossing is where we are introduced to our hero, 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 novel deals with Nevare's childhood: how his father initiates him into his b
Luke Taylor
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With a master craftsman’s fine hand, Robin Hobb begins the Soldier’s Son trilogy in waves of deftly wrought detail, forming a rich and dense world that perfectly awaits, indicating a war of classes and factions and mysterious enemies, for the rise of an epic character to walk the path of destiny. Loaded with political intrigue, suspenseful subterfuge, spiritual experiences and romantic hope to mentally chew on whilst riding through the breadth of the plains or walking through the chilly halls of ...more
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Review will be coming to my channel soon because this was great. Who ever thought I would like a military-focused fantasy.
Jun 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
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
Pam Baddeley
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the first of a trilogy set in a world rather like the American Old West complete with cavalry, but in a setup where the political system is a monarchy and lords, and the religion is based around a 'good god' and his holy writ. This writ dictates that the eldest son of a man should follow his father's trade or - in the case of the nobility - become the heir to his father's lands and property, the second son should be the 'soldier son', the third the priest, the fourth the artist and presu ...more
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
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
It was rough going in the first 200 or so pages. I can understand why it doesn't have good ratings. There is basically nothing at stake until he gets to the academy. Even in somewhat tense moments the narrator's voice has a first person conversational tone that suggests the protagonist is recounting his memoirs, which deflates a lot of that tension.

I think much of the problem in the first half of the book was because there were no other characters besides the protagonist really involved in his
Dec 17, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Len Evans Jr
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well-developed world and great characters!
Back in high school, Robin Hobb was one of my favorite authors. I loved the Farseer trilogy, enjoyed the Liveship Traders, and absolutely devoured The Tawny Man trilogy. I did this all based on the random chance of the day - I picked up Assassin's Apprentice from the local Waldenbooks based on the cover and the description, and then faithfully spent my meager allowance on each successive book. Then it happened. I was caught up! There was no more Robin Hobb for me to read.

Then I went to college,
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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

Other books in the series

The Soldier Son (3 books)
  • Forest Mage (Soldier Son, #2)
  • Renegade's Magic (Soldier Son, #3)

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