Shaman's Crossing - Robin Hobb

Shaman's Crossing

By Robin Hobb

  • Release Date: 2009-10-13
  • Genre: Fantasy
Shaman's Crossing book review score

4 Score: 4 (From 47 Ratings)

Shaman's Crossing Robin Hobb Book Review Score: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

Nevare Burvelle is the second son of a second son, destined from birth to carry a sword. The wealthy young noble will follow his father—newly made a lord by the King of Gernia—into the cavalry, training in the military arts at the elite King's Cavella Academy in the capital city of Old Thares. Bright and well-educated, an excellent horseman with an advantageous engagement, Nevare's future appears golden.

But as his Academy instruction progresses, Nevare begins to realize that the road before him is far from straight. The old aristocracy looks down on him as the son of a "new noble" and, unprepared for the political and social maneuvering of the deeply competitive school and city, the young man finds himself entangled in a web of injustice, discrimination, and foul play. In addition, he is disquieted by his unconventional girl-cousin Epiny—who challenges his heretofore unwavering world view—and by the bizarre dreams that haunt his nights.

For twenty years the King's cavalry has pushed across the grasslands, subduing and settling its nomads and claiming the territory in Gernia's name. Now they have driven as far as the Barrier Mountains, home to the Speck people, a quiet, forest-dwelling folk who retain the last vestiges of magic in a world that is rapidly becoming modernized. From childhood Nevare has been taught that the Specks are a primitive people to be pitied for their backward ways—and feared for their indigenous diseases, including the deadly Speck plague, which has ravaged the frontier towns and military outposts.

The Dark Evening brings the carnival to Old Thares, and with it an unknown magic, and the first Specks Nevare has ever seen . . .

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User reviews about this book

  • Like an annoying itch

    2
    By Bewildered137
    This is by far the worst Robin Hobb I've read. She tends to be repetitive and do way too much description of trivialities even at her best, and I've learned to just skip over the parts where she's telling us something for the third or tenth time. But she writes characters that you almost can't help but care about (though she also has a tendency to be very cruel to her main character), and tells stories that keep you enthralled. The other flaw in her writing is that the main character seems to experience an awful lot without learning of growing or developing from it, and I do get tired of them blaming themselves for absolutely everything in the world that goes wrong. But usually the story hangs together well enough, and the characters and the worlds she creates are interesting enough, that it's worth sticking with it anyway. More, her stuff is usually positively addictive. Which is why I bought this. But this one was more just annoying. All the flaws in her writing were very prominent, the virtues less so. I mean, if you're going to write a coming-of-age story, the character really should develop and grow, learn from experience. Not just endure and slog along feeling bad about himself. The limitations of first person narrative contributed to the problems. The guy has dreams that he remembers well enough to tell us about in detail, then claims to forget all about when he wakes up. He has to forget about them in order for her to maintain his failure to learn without making him out to be a complete idiot (which he comes perilously close to at times as it is), and he has to remember them so he can tell them so the reader isn't completely in the dark--and she never resolves the dilemma. So if you want to try her stuff, or just want some good science fiction/fantasy, skip this one. The Assassin's Apprentice series, or the Fool's Fate series, are much better.

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