Forest Mage by Robin Hobb
Before we get started, if you’re unsure on how I’m conducting these reviews, please read my privious post. I would also like to make a small disclaimer. I am a fan of Robin Hobb’s works. To some this might make me seemed bias to whatever she rights. However this also means that I hold her writing to a higher bar. If she doesn’t live up to previous works, I’ll let you know.
So on with the show.
Forest Mage is the second novel in the Soldier’s Son Trilogy and picks up right where the first book ends. We follow Nevare, a first year cadet training to be an officer in the King’s Army as dictated by the religious upbringing of the land. The first son is destined to be heir of the family estates. The second son is to join the King’s Army. The third son is sent off to become a priest, and so on. Being the second son of a nobleman, Nevare starts his career as an officer rather than a common soldier.
The book starts not too far off from where the first book ends. Nevare is granted a month break from lessons to travel back home to attend his older brother’s wedding. Unlike most plague victims, Nevare has recovered and is now gaining weight to the point of bursting from his uniform. His unsightly weight gain is change that fuels this installment of the trilogy.
Conflicts range from family disgrace to yearly plague devastation. Nevare also contends against part of his soul that sympathizes with the Specks, a wild people steeped in magic that are preventing the King’s Road from being built through their forest. Tension is drawn out on many levels.
Now I’ll tell you that I’m actually more than halfway through the novel at this point. I would say closer to two-thirds of the way and I have to admit, the progress is slow. What took Hobb over 400 pages to accomplish, I think any other author would have done in three to five chapters. All that has happened up until now felt like set up for the main story that is just now starting to unfold.
And I love it.
Hobb’s prose are so delicious, I could revel in them over and over again. At times they are dense and weighty, but I never feel bogged down or droopy-eyed while reading. I trust that the author knows what she is doing, and I’m willing to go along for the ride.
Now as I’ve stated before, I will give an update on whether or not a Payoff occurred. I will make another post with a link back to this one to compare.
If you’ve read the book and have something to add or detract from, feel free to leave a comment. Please keep in mind though, I’m staying away from spoilers.