39. Renegade’s Magic (Soldier Son Trilogy) by Robin Hobb. 662 p. Published January 2008.
In Shaman’s Crossing, we were introduced to Nevare and his plight as the unwitting tool of his people’s enemy. In Forest Mage Nevare’s inner turmoil with the magic that wielded him led to him being ostracized, persecuted and executed by his countrymen. In Renegade’s Magic we come to the conclusion of our story.
Escaping Gettys and leaving everyone there thinking he’s dead, Nevare flees into the forest. Accepting his fate as a tool of Speck magic, Nevare unleashes devastation on the road, but is soon brought to task for this foolish expenditure of his magic. After all, stopping the road that cuts toward the Grove of Elders for one season won’t really solve the problem. And so the magic grants Soldier Boy, the Speck half of Nevare’s personality, control of his body.
Soldier Boy joins Speck society at their wintering grounds, and is greeted with a new side of his people. Far from the savages they are believed to be, the Speck trade and feast with peoples from distant lands. Soldier Boy has his own plan, but after Nevare’s actions depleted his magic reserves, Soldier Boy is forced to work through others to plan the attack on Gettys. But with Soldier Boy and Nevare still separate entities in the same body, the magic becomes twisted and leaves everyone to suffer. Only by truly coming together can Nevare and Soldier Boy protect their peoples – and that’s only if the god they insulted permits it.
With a plot twisting and turning with every chapter, Hobb leaves the reader mesmerized and hanging on every word. While Shaman’s Crossing suffered from tedious world building, the revelations in Renegade’s Magic are polished and push the plot line along. And when you think the story is over, Hobb’s got a surprise for you. Having read her other series (The Farseer, Live-ship Traders, and Tawny Man Trilogies), I can say that this is the first one that has a legitimately happy ending for everyone.
Rating: 5 out of 5