Your Garage botysf16 Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Songs of Summer Fire TV Stick Sun Care Patriotic Picks Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer AnnedroidsS3 AnnedroidsS3 AnnedroidsS3  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis Segway miniPro
Profile for bawrence > Reviews

Browse

bawrence's Profile

Customer Reviews: 8
Top Reviewer Ranking: 38,479,293
Helpful Votes: 119


Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
"bawrence" RSS Feed (Victor, NY United States)

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
Ship of Magic (The Liveship Traders, Book 1)
Ship of Magic (The Liveship Traders, Book 1)
by Robin Hobb
Edition: Hardcover
94 used & new from $0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swashbuckling Adventure in the Quest for the True Self, October 23, 2000
If J.K. Rowling is the Louis Carroll of our era, Robin Hobb is Herman Melville. Hobb claims in her web site that it was her intention to write a "swashbuckling adventure story with pirates thrown in for good measure." This may have been somewhat of Melville's intention too. I believe there is a bit of tease here. The greatest adventure, the most danger, is always the journey inside. The most difficult quest is the search for selfhood. The major characters in this novel must journey to find out who they are. They have a social identity, a role to play, or a place in the ecological scheme of things. But who are they really, at the core? What is their true identity?
As I have found in other books by this author, many of these characters at first glance seem exotic and strange, but as we get to know them, we see ourselves, or people close to us. Here are a few of my favorites. There are the liveships, Vivacia and Paragon - brought to life by some magic after three generations of their owners have died on board them. But who are they really, and where do these strange souls come from? There are Brashen and Althea, both children of prosperous merchants, both of them estranged from their families after insisting on going their own way. There is the pirate, Kennit. He is a casual killer who doesn't understand what love is. At the beginning of the first book he purchases for himself a good luck charm carved to his own visage. It is made of the same substance as the liveships. This charm serves him as a most uncompromising conscience and psychotherapist. He soon finds his direction has changed. But has he, himself, changed? There is the young man Wintrow, first headed towards priesthood, but then diverted to life at sea - both at his parents' whims. His younger sister Malta is a bratty self-centered teenager - is she there just for comic relief? Finally, there are the sea serpents, on a long migration they do not understand towards a destination they do not know.
The Liveship Traders Trilogy takes place in the same world as the Farseer trilogy, but unlike the earlier work, it is written from multiple points of view, frequently switched. Moreover, one does not get the same sense of inevitability, that events must work out as they do. The characters are set in their initial circumstances; they then make their choices. Some grow, others do not. Some are fortunate, others, not. This trilogy, then, may be a bit less organized and artistically coherent as the Farseer trilogy; but there is much suspense in this uncertainty, and delightful surprises. As in Moby Dick, one character asks whether man or God is in charge of destiny. A prophet wonders, if she had correctly fulfilled her mission, whether the fate of the world would have been changed. The questions are left for us to answer. The reader will not want to stop reading this trilogy after Book 1 or Book 2. As with all great adventure, we know that for the characters who survive, their quest will continue; but we must leave them, inevitably, midway through.


Ship of Magic (The Liveship Traders, Book 1)
Ship of Magic (The Liveship Traders, Book 1)
by Robin Hobb
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $8.99
142 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey to Identity, October 21, 2000
If J.K. Rowling is the Louis Carroll of our era, Robin Hobb is Melville. Hobb claims in her web site that it was her intention to write a "swashbuckling adventure story with pirates thrown in for good measure." This may have been somewhat of Melville's intention too. I believe there is a bit of tease here. The greatest adventure, the most danger, is always the journey inside. The most difficult quest is the search for selfhood. The major characters in this novel must journey to find out who they are. They have a social identity, a role to play, or a place in the ecological scheme of things. But who are they really, at the core? What is their true identity?
As I have found in other books by this author, many of these characters at first glance seem exotic and strange, but as we get to know them, we see ourselves, or people close to us. Here are a few of my favorites. There are the liveships, Vivacia and Paragon - brought to live by some magic after three generations of their owners have died on board them. But who are they really, and where do these strange souls come from? There are Brashen and Althea, both children of prosperous merchants, both of them estranged from their families after insisting on going their own way. There is the pirate, Kennit. He is a casual killer who doesn't understand what love is. At the beginning of the first book he purchases for himself a good luck charm carved to his own visage. It is made of the same substance as the liveships. This charm serves him as a most uncompromising conscience and psychotherapist. He soon finds his direction has changed. But has he, himself, changed? There is the young man Wintrow, first headed towards priesthood, but then diverted to life at sea - both at his parents' whims. His younger sister Malta is a bratty self-centered teenager - is she there just for comic relief? Finally, there are the sea serpents, on a long migration they do not understand towards a destination they do not know.
The Liveship Traders Trilogy takes place in the same world as the Farseer trilogy, but unlike the earlier work, it is written from multiple points of view, frequently switched. Moreover, one does not get the same sense of inevitability, that events must work out as they do. The characters are set in their initial circumstances; they then make their choices. Some grow, others do not. Some are fortunate, others, not. This trilogy, then, may be a bit less organized and artistically coherent as the Farseer trilogy; but there is much suspense in this uncertainty, and delightful surprises. As in Moby Dick, the question is asked whether man or God is in charge of ones own destiny. One character wonders, if she had acted differently, whether the fate of the world would have been changed. The reader will not want to stop reading this trilogy after Book 1 or Book 2. But in the end, for those who survive, the journey must continue, and we must leave them, inevitably, midway through.


Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1)
Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1)
by Robin Hobb
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.31
246 used & new from $0.01

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bonding the Fantasy Reader, October 20, 2000
I am writing only one review article for the each of Robin Hobb's two trilogies since I am convinced that hardly anyone would begin to read the first book and then decide not to continue on.
Why do I make this claim about the Farseer trilogy? The reader's commitment is not conventional suspense, as it is in most fantasy and adventure fiction. We know from the beginning that the man who writes his story, Fitzchivalry, will survive. He is, after all, the one who writes. (The whole trilogy is told from his point of view, but he is gifted with magical powers, the Wit and the Skill which sometimes make him privy to the doings and thoughts of others.) We also know from the first few paragraphs of Assassin's Apprentice that he will not survive unscathed. He tells us plainly as he begins his history that each letter he writes "scabs over some ancient scarlet wound." The fact that we know about how the story is going to "come out" does not relax the hold this writing has on us in the least - Fitz has us rooting for him all the way. We are in his corner and feel his sorrow when his mother is forced to leave him at the doorstep of his paternal grandfather, the king. We know this pain is still there, even though, through nearly the whole of all three books, Fitz never can never speak about it directly, and refuses to remember it. We are with him when he seeks out (or is seduced and used by?) other parental substitutes, when he reaches out to animals and peers for friendship, and when he experiences his first romance. The central theme of the trilogy, is, in fact, emotional bonding - bonds of love that are formed, tested, sometimes betrayed, sometimes sacrificed, transformed or sublimated for a cause. I will not say "higher" or "greater" cause because we must make up our own minds whether the sacrifices are futile or worthwhile. Robin Hobb steadfastly refuses to preach to us or give us easy answers. Most of us have not been used as a child soldier or "special operations" agent as Fitz was. But for most of us there will be something about Fitz - some emotion that he describes tersely and vividly - that will ring very true. For some it may be loneliness, others regret at taking a wrong turn somewhere and not being able to get back. For some it will be guilt for pain inflicted upon others.
The ultimate reason most readers will keep reading all three books, then, is emotional bonding. They will feel that they have adopted Fitz, and have accepted him as their brother - Brother Human. For most readers, this will be a most worthwhile and memorable experience.


ALIEN EARTH (Bantam Spectra Book)
ALIEN EARTH (Bantam Spectra Book)
by Megan Lindholm
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
31 used & new from $3.17

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Return of the Humans, October 17, 2000
I borrowed Alien Earth from the "young adult" rack of the local library. ( There were, unfortunately, only two and a half Megan Lindholm books on the shelves of the whole library system - Harpy's Flight, Alien Earth, and Gypsy.) Science fiction fans may find that the story of Alien Earth does not cover new ground : Humans return on an alien ship after being rescued from an ecologically devastated Earth generations earlier. Sophisticated readers may not be surprized by the turns of the plot. On the other hand, the story is told with passion and style. An offhand remark by one character to the sentient "beastship" in the middle of the book changes everything. The biology and ecology of alien species and planets is well worked out, and one can imagine a good movie derived from this book. Fans of Megan Lindholm will recognize her themes and creative strengths from her earlier Windsinger series, and lately as Robin Hobb, in the Farseer and Liveship trilogies. She brings to the reader intimate knowledge of the experience of exotic creatures. She challenges readers to ask themselves what it means to be "human" and whether that is in itself worthwhile or sufficient. So, if you're a young adult (or older adult, or wise child) and you can find a copy Alien Earth, check it out. If you find it appealing you will want to make the investment in the other out-of-print Megan Lindholm books, or the currently available Robin Hobbs trilogies.


Luck of the Wheels (Windsinger, Bk 4)
Luck of the Wheels (Windsinger, Bk 4)
by Megan Lindholm
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
27 used & new from $1.58

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Swordplay in and Exotic World, October 12, 2000
After fleeing the enmity of the Windsingers, Ki and Vandien agree to transport a despised and feared adolescent boy to live with a relative. Along the way, they become enmeshed in a conspiracy against a local tyrant. Luck of the Wheels is a very good adventure story. As in all of Lindholms' books which I've read, the reader is drawn into the characters' experience intensely, and we can't turn away from terror, anger, or even hate. Ki and Vandien continue to grow in their loving and tempestuous relationship.Readers of the Windsinger trilogy will definitely want to read this book as well. I was a bit disappointed that Ki and Vandien did not go on to challenge the Windsingers. I was also disappointed somewhat by the emphasis of the book. Lindholm paints a fascinating world, full of strange beings. For example, this book introduces us to the telepathic Jore. I wanted to know more about them. I wasn't all that interested in the fencing and swordplay, which there is plenty of in fantasy. Nevertheless, I am glad that this book is due to be re released in 2002, and I hope Lindholm someday will return to write more about Ki and Vandien.


The Limbreth Gate
The Limbreth Gate
by Megan Lindholm
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
28 used & new from $4.50

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confrontation with a Local God, October 10, 2000
"The Limbreth Gate" is the culmination of the Windsinger Series. It rises beyond adventure in challenging the reader to confront destiny, good vs. evil, freedom, and divinity. Ki's enemies entice her to the domain of the Limbreth, a bored and arrogant local god. He reveals to Ki the secrets of her past, and forces her to view her brief life from his own timeless perspective, thereby manipulating her to do his will. From this spell, Ki's lover Vandien, assisted by a savage Brurjan, attempt to rescue her. But what is the difference between "rescue" and "kidnapping" - snatching her away from her chance for enlightenment and creative fulfillment? And who is to say what one's purpose in life should be? This is a book you will think about a long time.


The Windsingers
The Windsingers
by Megan Lindholm
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
31 used & new from $0.01

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Windsingers - Humanity Tempted to Power, October 6, 2000
In the first book of the Windsinger series, Harpy's Flight, Lindholm describes a struggle to cease from mourning, to accept the worthwhileness of life despite the fact of death and loss. In this second book of the series, Lindholm goes on to ask whether, after all, there is nobility in common humanity, or whether we should aspire to graduate, to transform into creatures with longevity and power. The Windsingers are mistresses of the weather and political intrigue. They are as fascinating and scary a women's club as the Bene Gerit or the Aes Sedai in other fantasy worlds. In this book, Ki's lover Vandien attempts to retrieve a sacred relic of the Windsingers. As a reward, his painful and humiliating facial scar will supposedly be healed. Meanwhile Ki unwittingly becomes the agent of the Windsingers' most powerful enemy, the Wizard Dresh. But who can really be trusted? What is the real reward, and what the actual cost of success? This is a great story, with plenty humor, suspense, and good sense. These books should never have gone out of print and I trust a new edition will be published soon. In the meantime, it is well worth its cost on the used book exchange.


Harpy's Flight
Harpy's Flight
by Megan Lindholm
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
27 used & new from $9.99

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid and Intensely Involving Fantasy, October 5, 2000
I first read this book (and the other books of the Windsinger series) about 15 years ago. I know I enjoyed it then. I have enjoyed many fantasy novels over the years, and occasionally I have enjoyed rereading them. But I have never felt compelled, after so many years, to seek out a book which was out of print. When I finally got a hold of Harpy's Flight, I found I remembered the central characters vividly, but the plot seemed new and fresh. Ki has lost her family in a brutal attack by harpies, sentient flying creatures. Her first thought is vengeance, and then survival. Along the way, she meets a down and out adventurer, Vandien, when he makes an unsuccessful attempt to rob her. The central characters, Ki and Vandien, are tough, strong, and very human. Their relationship, as they confront dangers, grows in a measured, realistic way. They do not solve each other's problems, but they do help each other survive. As I continued reading, I found some insight as to why I felt so drawn to this particular book at this time of my life. It is about letting go of the past and making a positive decision to live in the face of loss. In the midst of a rich, brightly colored, and strange world, Lindholm somehow draws you in to experience the most intense and sensual grief, anger, love, and compassion, and to make it your own. (Is this a kind of surrealism?) This book is a classic of fantasy literature, and should never have gone out of print.


Page: 1