• Shaman's Crossing, Book One of the Soldier Son Trilogy

  • By: Robin Hobb
  • Narrated by: John Keating
  • Length: 24 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (1,096 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Hugo and Nebula Award finalist Robin Hobb crafts intricate fantasy tales featuring larger-than-life characters and exotic landscapes.

Nevare Burvelle was born to be a soldier in the Gernian army. But as Nevare's career takes off, his worldview alters considerably. Corruption and nepotism reign, and now Nevare questions his own ideals, wondering why he continues fighting for the empire.

©2005 Megan Lindholm (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Here is a master storyteller out to make a point and succeeding beautifully." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Shaman's Crossing, Book One of the Soldier Son Trilogy

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Sometimes Magic Isn't A Good Thing

I bought this audio book because I was trying to spend some points. I had not read anything by Robin Hobb and so I wasn't sure what to expect. At first, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy the story. It is not your typical fantasy story. It is definitely a story about a boy growing into a man with a little magic thrown in. As soon as I got to know the main character I started to care about what happened to him. The author spends a lot of time developing his characters and his world building is top notch. The story takes a little time to get going but once it does get going it is engaging. The narration by John Keating is pretty good. He does a good job of providing differing voices for the characters which ensures the listener is not confused. I love his scottish accent! I can highly recommend this audio book. It is well worth your time and your credit.

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Epic. Need I say more?

Another rousing series by epic fantasy writer, Robin Hobb. And when I say epic, I mean epic. She crafts a fully-integrated world, with not one, but two fully-realized peoples, cultures, histories, magics, and mythologies, and touches briefly enough on a third to give readers a glimpse into the swirling depths of the mind of a creative genius. She takes the reader/listener on a terrific and, occasionally, terrifying journey, and the intensity of it will take your breath away. Occasionally a bit of a slow read, it nevertheless is a rich piece of storytelling. The narration is beautifully done, with a few exceptions - places where the voices are inconsistent with the emotions described, etc. Nevertheless, John Keating does a magnificent job with giving each character a distinct voice, his own voice melodic in the telling of this fantastic tale.

Just as a caution: Read/listen to these books in order. It is a trilogy, and while it is, in theory, possible to read and understand them as separate entities, you would lose the massive arching story and many of the subplots and foreshadowings that are present right from the first page through the last (yes, quite literally. Mz. Hobb is, in fact, a genius when it comes to wrapping stories back around to their beginnings). Shaman's Crossing/Forest Mage/Renegade Magic, for those curious. Happy reading!

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

30 Years War Era Fantasy

Technology equivalent to the Early to mid 1800's, and military cavalry of the same era, only with dream wandering shamanistic magic thrown in. Great story. I'm looking forward to the sequel. Narrator plays all characters excellently. Excellent recording quality.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good Book

I have always enjoyed Robin Hobbs' books, definitely one of my favorite fantasy authors. The Farseer triology, liveship traders, and Tawny man are awesome, which they need to get read, and by a great narrator like this book. Nevare Burville, the soldiers son enters a world of dreams and subtle magic with interesting characters. The first book of the Soldier Son is by no means the fastest paced record setter, it gets a little slow, but I still liked it a lot. She builds and introduces characters really well, gives them some of the frustrating qualities all people possess which builds frustration in a good way. The narrator did an amazing job, I hope he continues the series, and reads more books in general.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good Read!

Interesting story. Not a whole lot of magic in this first book of the series. Story is centered on the main character and his friends and enemies.

I could not stop listen to it...very interesting.


Hoping that more of Robin Hobb's books become available on Audible.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

shallow and at times preachy.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Robin Hobb has a tendency to write characters made of cardboard. Let me explain. The protagonist in this story is fully intent on doing the honorable thing all the time. This trope is echoed in other books (Stormlight Archives by Sanderson for instance), and I get it. I like ... I love honorable characters. Dalinar Kholin and Kaladin Stormblessed are two of my favorite characters in all of literature. To be perfectly honorable in every situation makes a character necessarily predictable. They are black and white about most things. I'm absolutely ok with that. I think Hobb was trying to avoid that pitfall, but in doing so has constructed a character that is difficult to identify with. That whines incessently. That overlooks things that are quite obviously dishonerable. That takes dishonerable actions.

Further there were a number of continuity issues in the book (three). If you have an attention to detail, and that sort of thing bothers you, you've been warned.

Next - and Hobb did this with Fitz (eg fitz and the fool) as well - the characters are intentionally obtuse. Perhaps there is too much foreshadowing. Perhaps Hobb lacks imagination when it comes to people, or perhaps she has a bias against men that she can't help but write into her stories. In any event, the men in her stories are all idiots. I don't want to include spoilers so I won't give examples.

It kind of felt like at times that Hobb didn't know where she was going. the plot kind of plodded around without much direction at various points, and then the ending felt rushed. It was maybe 80% about school life, and 20% plot movement with most of that at the end.

Finally, at times it came across a little preachy. Epony (ebony?) the protagonists cousin was speaking out against the parochial and patriarchal society. if her goal was to spread a message of feminism she accomplished that goal well. There were a couple of lengthy dialogs that circled around feminist topics. She did well in pointing out that women who go along with men who oppress women (in the story it was for their protection, but was inhibiting, and borderline abusively so) are on par with women who oppress women to get ahead in life (eg a woman who trades her daughters for political alliances). Her best line in that vast section of text is "most often women are women's own worst enemies".

All in all I did like the book. I struggled to relate to the main character, but several of his friends drew me in enough to keep the book interesting. I struggled to relate to one of the main sub-messages of the book (feminism) but there was enough other stuff thrown in to keep me turning the page.

This isnt a title I plan on keeping, but I am curious enough about what happens next that I'll likely buy (And return) books two and three in this series.

Has Shaman's Crossing, Book One of the Soldier Son Trilogy turned you off from other books in this genre?

No. I still like the genre. But am becoming less of a fan of Hobb.

Have you listened to any of John Keating’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but his narration was great. It helped keep me drawn into the story. He was consistent in his use of voices for different charectors, and caused the protagonists voice to sort of mature over the story arc. The protagonists voice at the end of the book more closely resembles his uncles or fathers, than at the beginning. Which makes sense. Plot wise, I'm not sure he's any wise, or more mature himself at the end of the book. He's still whiny and un-relatable...

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

no

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book

This is an excellent book. The characters are well developed and the writer has an excellent way of telling the story. I also enjoyed her Farseer Trilogy and Tawny man series. Excellent books! It would be good when Audible gets those in their bookstore.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • MP
  • 05-02-22

Old school fantasy

If you like stuffy British narration, old school fantasy like Robert Jordan, and stories that are stuffed with overplayed tropes, then this story is for you. I thought I liked that kind of story whenever I was 14 years old. Turns out the more modern writing out there is much better.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Boring.

At times the narrator sounded like he had a dreadful sinus cold, and other times he breathed heavily, smacked his lips too often and read as though he was reciting a well known laundry list of errands he had to run. The story itself was bland and moved as though it had been written by a new writer with little experience.
Very disappointed; it was not worth the time or commitment needed to learn about the characters and their foolish "good ghod".

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

At Best, This is a Young Reader Novel

I know there must be better words, but the only ones I have found so far are either "preachy" or "self-righteous". The book is not only preachy, but written on a 5th grade level. Adding insult to injury, over the course of almost 25 hours of listening, nothing much happens.












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1 person found this helpful