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Ship of Magic (The Liveship Traders, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – February 2, 1999
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Hobb has peopled the book with many wonderfully developed characters. Most of the primary ones are members of the Vestritts, an Old Trader family which owns the liveship Vivacia. Their stories are intercut with those of Kennit, the ambitious pirate Brashen, the disinherited scion of another family who served on the Vestritt's ship, and Paragon, an old liveship abandoned and believed mad. The sentient sea serpents have their own story hinted at, as well.
Though Ship of Magic is full of action, none of the plotlines get resolved in this book. Readers who resent being left with many questions and few answers after almost 700 pages should think twice before starting, or wait until the rest of the series is out so that their suspense won't be too prolonged. But Hobb's writing draws you in and makes you care desperately about what will happen next, the mark of a terrific storyteller. --Nona Vero --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
I've also read this author's 'Farseer Trilogy,' and once settled into one of her books, it is very hard to put down until the last page is read. I'm kicking myself because I didn't immediately order the two concluding books of this trilogy as soon as I started "Ship of Magic." If Patrick O'Brien had collaborated with Charles Dickens and written "Oliver Twist Goes to Sea in a Magical Ship," this book might have been the outcome.
All of the characters are minutely detailed and believable, even the would-be pirate king, who is a much nastier man than Gilbert and Sullivan would have him. He ends up performing glorious deeds by accident, and I wouldn't be surprised if his title turns out to be 'the Great Liberator' rather than 'King' by the end of this trilogy.
The man who does the most evil in this book is a merchant captain who believes that he alone knows the right course to steer, both for his liveship and his family. In fact, I wonder if "Billy Budd" was also an inspiration for "Ship of Magic." The relationships between the self-righteous captain, his unworldly son, and an evil Claggart-like second mate are almost pure Melville. The innocent boy is even accidentally responsible for the deaths of his shipmates, brought about when he tries to comfort a dying slave.Read more ›
There are several stories going on in this book: Althea's quest to regain her ship, Kennit's quest to become a king of pirates, Ronica's quest to keep her family together, the serpents' quest for who-knows-what, the mystery of Paragon, the political intrigue surrounding Bingtown and, most compelling of all, Wintrow's story. All of these narratives are interwoven into one big,compelling, un-put-downable, can't-wait-for-the-next-volume, story.
Although it would appear that Althea's is the main story, I found the saga of Wintrow and Wintrow himself the most involving aspect of this book. Ms. Hobb has created in Wintrow a likeable, tortured young man who undergoes a tempering that is wonderful and sometimes painful to watch.
I enjoyed how such unsypat! hetic characters as Kyle and Kennit were not created as simple cardboard villains, instead one is a man who truly thinks he is trying to do right for his family (no matter how obnoxious or wrongheaded he really is) and the other a man who is consumed by ambition and not a little bit of self hate.
I highly recommend this book and look forward to the rest of the series with great anticipation. I also plan to seek out Ms. Hobb's other series of books.
Hobb is not big on the action scenes, with few of her characters out for a brawl, but that matters little. The characters are the driving force of her novels, marvellously detailed and made completely believeable with their very human flaws and desires. Althea, the strongwilled young woman who walks away from the comfortable life she has known in order to win back her ship, Brashen, the essentially kind hearted sailor who seeks a better life, the mysterious carver Amber, Wintrow the young priest-in-training who is ripped away from his desired path, Kyle the ignorant and controlling captain of the Vivacia, and Vivacia herself. Hobb portrays the world around them with a wonderfully descriptive and vivid style...closing my eyes I can see the setting sun illuminating the lonely Paragon's profile, the coarse and seedy surroundings that are a sailors world, the sheer beauty and gracefulness of Vivacia...There are so many things happening within this world, and Hobb works the intricate subplots with the skill of a master weaver. 'Nuff said. If you like fantasy that is based on wonderfully real characters and compelling plot...go and get this novel. As for me, I can't wait to read the next volume of this series.
The characters are so well defined that you empathize with them and share all that they go through. This is even more amazing because although the story is told from the point of view of several characters, you are never lost nor do you struggle with the different viewpoint. You sink right into the reality of each individual, whether it is the strong and fierce heroine or the Satrap's (ruler's) courtesan who gambles her life on her political abilities in order to create a life of her own.
The world is brilliant, with a complex social system and political intrigue that is missing from most fantasy novels. The trials and the sacrifices that the Vestrit family endure in order to hold fast to their values and their way of life is to the point of heartbreaking. However, what they achieve through their perserverence is something that fills you with wonder and awe.
This book is a must read. I have given copies to all of my friends, and their reaction is the same as mine was after finishing each book, and the series: "wow."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a really good book and I can't wait to read the remaining books in the trilogy. If you want to read the best of Robin Hobb though pickup the Fitz and the Fool series. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Amy H.
The Liveship Vivacia awakes to sentience while upheaval unsettles both the ship's owning family and the larger array of trade and pirate ports that stretch along the Cursed Shores. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Juushika
The first book in the series does not set a brisk pace, but what it lacks in action it dramatically makes up for in character development. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Paxson T. Bachus
It was tough to get through the whole thing honestly. I think the concept was nice, and the story has a lot of potential, but the writing is very dense and there is a great deal of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ed
Loved this book and short series. Robin Hobb is excellent at character development and I enjoy the masterful interplay of the characters underscored with a fanciful yet believable... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jamie Houchins
Well written, but story and the flow of it drove me insane. Story followed multiple people so you were cut off mid-way through one characters ordeal -this book is just a series of... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
For such a long book, the beginning was really not that great. As we worked our way through character introductions, there was only one character that actually interested me, the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by BookWyrm
A very enjoyable read with fantastic world building and complex characters.Published 4 months ago by Pens up pens down