Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Just Read: The Soldier Son Trilogy

The Soldier Son Trilogy by Robin Hobb

 This was a very unusual series of novels.  Though ostensibly a 'fantasy novel' there's little in the way of traditional fantasy going on here.  There is magic but people don't so much control it as much as it controls them.

The novels take place in a land reminiscent of the early colonial Americas and the antagonists culturally bear a strong resemblance to native Americans.   The hero is the second son of a colonial noble family and by tradition is destined to be the 'Soldier Son' who pursues a military career in the colonial wars.  Things, of course, don't go as planned.

Mostly this is a novel of culture clashes.  At times it's deliciously deviant in the way it contrasts the sexual and gluttonous behaviors of the natives against the more rigid lifestyles of the colonials.  At other times it is excruciatingly painful as the hero is buffeted with indignation after indignation.  It's a very thin veil over our own culture wars though one whose final moral seems stretched so it offends neither liberal or conservative.

As with a lot of fantasy series I found it way too long.  The material would have been a lot better in 1 or perhaps 2 volumes.  Stretching it to 3 was just not needed.

If you're looking for something different you might like it more than I did.
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