the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘emotional

Forest Mage (Soldier Son Trilogy: book 2), by Robin Hobb

published in 2006

where I got it: purchased new

why I read it: enjoyed the first book, Shaman’s Crossing

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Picking up shortly after the end of the first book in the trilogy, Shaman’s Crossing,  Forest Mage was mostly what I’ve come to expect from Robin Hobb – a powerful character driven fantasy that starts out “traditional”, and then, quite suddenly, most certainly isn’t.

As the military academy recovers from the Plague, life slowly goes back to normal. Noble families are coming to grips with the fact that their third son (destined for the priesthood) may now be their second son (destined for the military) and so forth.  Nevare is readying to head home to his brother’s wedding and to see Carsina, his betrothed. While most people who survive the plague become weakened and skeletal, Nevare is having the opposite reaction to his brush with death: he can’t stop gaining weight.  He becomes heavy.  Then fat.  Then obese.  Hobb takes every possible opportunity to remind us that Nevare is supposed to be a fit, trim soldier, and “letting yourself go” simply isn’t accepted in this society (I’ll just assume that every woman in this world always loses the baby fat, and thyroid problems are nonexistent). Due only to his size, Nevare is in turn spurned by his father, his siblings, his friends and his betrothed. And then he is given a medical discharge from the academy. Everything he was destined to be, the military life his father trained him for, is over.

Humiliated and disowned by his father, Nevare sets out for the eastern frontier determined to join up with a military post far from home. Everywhere he stops it seems, people don’t want anything to do with him because of his girth. People assume he is homeless, or a thief, or a murderer, or all of the above, and only because he’s fat. Hobb belabors this point, often.

Along the King’s Road, Nevare learns first hand the folly of building a road with chain gangs, of building frontier towns just to abandon them when the road passes through and the guards leave.  Puts me in the mood to track down some American history about the transcontinental railroads and the natives who were “in the way”.

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Every so often I read a book that just punches me in the gut.

Like the book I’m reading right now.

What book is it? Well, I’m nearly done with it, so hopefully a review will show up eventually. This is the second or third time I’ve read this particular book, so I know what happens at the end, I just don’t remember the details. Not to give too much away, but there is a major subplot between the main character and his wife. They have quite the whirlwind romance, she is recently retired from his risky occupation so they understand each other on this incredible level. I have, in the past, described this author as hopelessly romantic, and people always look at me like I’m nuts. But those scenes he writes between the main character and his wife? And later (not really a spoiler) the scenes between the man and his son? they bring tears to my eyes.

But back to shortly after the couple gets married. . . .

they have a few years of blissful happiness. And then something happens. They have a political disagreement, and they realize it’s going to tear their relationship apart. They still passionately love each other and desperately want to protect each other, but it eventually becomes obvious that they can’t be together. this really isn’t a spoiler for the book that you don’t know the title of, by the way.

So I’m reading this last night, and I know what’s coming, because I remember it ripping my heart out last time. I’m sitting there, reading this book, and my husband is sitting across the room, reading his book. and like every five minutes I’m putting my book down and saying “Honey, I love you.”, and he mumbles back “huh? yeah baby, I love you too”.  And then we both go back to our books.

After this same mumbled conversation has occured about 15 times over maybe 30 minutes, he finally asks me “Are you OK?” and he sees what book I’m reading. We spent the rest of the evening cuddled on the sofa watching Star Wars.

talk about a fucking emotional response.


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.