I always feel a little trepidation when I start to read a new series. Especially when it’s written by an author I’ve previously enjoyed. It’s probably because the probability for disappointment is so high. Regardless, I kept my head and my hopes up when I started Shaman’s Crossing, Book 1 of the Soldier’s Son series by Robin Hobb. I thought that her Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies had some of the best characterization I’ve ever read. I just didn’t want to be disappointed.
Once again, I was treated to a good, solid story with characters I could like, even with their shortcomings -- maybe because of their shortcomings. The characters, even the main character, have their moments of pettiness, of weakness, hesitation where the classic hero-type would save the world without self-doubt, conflict or delay.
Though there’s never any fear of the death of the protagonist – it’s a 1st-person narrative – the bumps and bruises, and worse, make you wince in sympathetic pain for his troubles. And even though you know that the hero will somehow win the day, Hobb does an incredible job of keeping suspense, with failure just within reach at every turn.
The setting was basically at the height of North American colonization and the sympathy that the main character is forced to feel for his enemies can be seen as an indictment of our forefathers and the building of the railroads, or of Brazil’s continued woes with the rain forest, without being heavy-handed or preachy.
I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series, even if this one isn’t as good as Hobb’s previous works.
Due to my forgetting The Subtle Knife at my parents’ house during Saturday lunch, my order has changed somewhat, with Queen of Demons moving up and the two final His Dark Materials books moving down. I’m currently 237 pages into the 662-page Queen of Demons which leave me about 6 days worth of reading left. Discounting the weekend, when I’ll be on Beaver Camp, that makes next Wednesday as the day for me to be finished.
Until more later on,
40 books to go!