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Showing 1-10 of 156 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 274 reviews
on August 12, 2000
I've been somewhat depressed since finishing this last book in the Liveship series. It was a wonderful story and even though the author will return with more on Fitzchivalry, it's very hard for me to say good-bye to the characters in this novel! I've often thought that a third trilogy in this world that finally takes us into the Chalced States could fully explain it's evil history and bring about some force for revolution. Let's hope that Fitz will be joined there with Amber, Althea, Brashen, Clef, Ronica, Reyn and the ships!!
I'm also dissatisfied with the ending. Many details seem to have been rushed by in an effort to tie things up quickly. I can't believe that the reunion in Bingtown was not described. Neither was the reaction of the Bingtown folks to the news from Jamailla. Huge construction projects were undertaken in the Rain Wilds and only hinted at. A final conversation between Althea and Wintrow must have happened off the page and we can only guess at its contents. In fact, we don't hear Althea's voice much at all in the second half of the book. What happened to her passion? It would be different if she had had an opportunity for vengeance and chose forgiveness instead. I feel that she was robbed. Especially Kennit's lies wounded her and there is no final accounting or reparations. Why didn't she stand up and denounce him? Why didn't Brashen tell everyone what happened during the "truce". Why was Wintrow and everyone except the wizardwood charm/conscience taken in by Kennit's manipulations? Kennit may have begun to face the pain of his past, but he never acknowledges his current misdeeds and especially his lies. And it is just painful to read as one person after the next falls for his machinations. He never truly becomes whole without facing himself.
Still, this is one of the best trilogies I have read and my main complaint is that it's over! Please have some of these characters sail on!
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on February 27, 2012
I came to The Liveship Traders series having devoured The Farseer and the Tawny Man trilogies back-to-back a few months before. I wasn't sure about the premise but after 1400 pages of Robin Hobb behind me, I felt I was in good hands. Seeing Amber's character outside of FitzChivalry's world was also a huge draw. Again, Hobb's world-imagining is wonderfully done and her plots quite intricate. Hobb surpasses almost every fantasy writer out there in terms of sheer plot development. There are twists and turns and character changes that are very realistically done. Big kudos on that front. I honestly don't know how she plans all this out. She also is amazingly consistent in linking her mythology with what has gone before in the Farseer world (and after, with the Tawny Man).

I really liked the through-story with Althea, Brashen, Amber, and Paragon. A lot. I was less interested in Malta, Reyn, and Selden (though I liked them as people immensely better in Ship of Destiny than the previous two, in which I wanted to slap Malta on several occasions.) The sections with the Satrap seemed particularly repetitive, though. We get it. He's a nasty guy and a spoiled brat. Let's move on. The Ronica/Keffria story was good. But I didn't care about the sea serpents one whit, and in fact, I generally skimmed or skipped those sections entirely. Yeah, yeah, yeah--toxins and tangles and writhing and confusion. Next! At least those sections were fairly short. I really disliked Kennit (and I'm supposed to) but it made it hard to spend that amount of time with him. I get that he was abused as a child, but the sheer ugliness and evil that he perpetuates on everyone around him made him wholly unsympathetic. And I felt like it wasn't resolved particularly well, either.

I hate to say it, but certain sections of this book really dragged for me. I found myself literally sighing as I pushed through to get to next section where the scene would change to a different cast of characters. Surprisingly, really, because I didn't have this problem with other Hobb books that I've read. (I wonder how much of that is due to 3rd person narration that switches locations/plots versus the Farseer/Tawny Man books in which Fitz narrates in the first person, and therefore the plot is much more tightly tied to his presence. Not sure.)

I agree with the others who commented that it seems liked the ending came too quickly, that the extremely complex situations that were spun out, were suddenly wrapped up a bit simply. Though it seemed more to me that perhaps we were meant to understand we were leaving the story before it's done. There will be more building and rebuilding that will go on. But this portion of the story-telling is complete. I would definitely liked to have seen more with Althea at the end, however. And something more of Kennit's luck turned. Or at least some fallout since now there are enough--Althea, Brashen, Wintrow, Etta, etc.--who are no longer taken in by his myth.

In short, I would have liked more in some places, and a lot less in others. Perhaps she needed a more aggressive editor? I still give it 3 stars because despite its faults, it is a decent read. But unlike the other trilogies, I don't think that I'll be returning to them or rereading them at any point. And I won't likely recommend them my other fantasy reading friends--at least not if they haven't read the Farseer/Tawny Man novels. Now those are some great books!
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on March 14, 2017
This whole series is great. This book was highly recommended on a science fiction/fantasy review site, and they are absolutely correct. Have stayed up too late at night with the whole series.
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on June 16, 2015
To all those who love to use their imagination this author has written a story that challenges you to participate and in doing so I have enjoyed. All the colors of this very exciting love story. I hope to read more live ship stories from this author in the future
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on April 10, 2014
I actually started out reading Hobb's "Rain Wild Chronicles" because I noticed it in a book store. I really loved the characters and was excited to go back and read these chronicles as a prequel. Hobb has excellent character development. I'm a huge "Game of Thrones" fan and this is right in the same vein (without the hardcore sex).
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on March 3, 2017
Hobb's writing cannot be faulted, her delicate handling of complex political and social issues take a fantasy adventure story to literary levels.
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on May 18, 2015
(Review by our 12 year old daughter.) This book is amazing. I'd recommend it for anyone 13 and older. There is little violence and even less gore, so those who don't like extremely bloody books would love this. However there is a well paced action which will keep you on your toes the whole time. The story is shown from the point of view of many different characters, making it a complex plot, but easy to follow. Those who love action, suspense, romance, and a touch of fantasy will fall in love with this book, and with the beautiful world Robbin Hobb has set it in.
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on August 9, 2000
After the strengths of the first two books, as well as the opening two thirds of this volume, I would have been willing to assert that this trilogy was one of the best works ever written in fantasy. In almost all respects, I continue to believe this. However, Hobb has somewhat sadly stumbled in the concluding hundred pages, appearing to rush to resolution, as if having once predetermined that this work would be a trilogy, she could not decide to extend it into a fourth book. This is truly unfortunate, has her conclusion appears rushed and, compared to the pages preceding, loosely wrapped up, with a resolution that is only barely satisfying.
After all the character and plot development that led up to this work, the final hundred pages seem precipitate. The main characters come together abruptly and in a way that is largely contrived, several are disposed of summarily, and everyone else lives happily ever after. While this type of fairy tale ending may satisfy some, I found the conclusion to Hobb's earlier Farseer Trilogy far more credible. Further, the disposal of the Chalcedians, the plot against Bingtown and the Satrapy of Jamaillia, the restitution of the Vestritts, and the rescue of the fortunes of the Wild River Traders, as well as Reyn and Malta's new identities, never reach full fruition, rather arbitrarily and hastily wrapped up as are so many other plot threads earlier so well developed and measuredly evolved, and Wintrow's fate in particular seems atrophied. Finally, the mystery of Maulkin's Tangle gets settled simply with a quick trip up the river.
While I continue to believe overall that this is one of the best works of fantasy that I have read, I nonetheless remain mildly disappointed in the ending. After the investment of time and energy, both by the author and myself, in setting up and developing a wonderful story, I can only wish that she had been willing to committ an equal amount of time and development to her ending, which would have provided the substantial balance needed to conclude this story fully. As is, the ending seems somewhat stillborn, with so much more that it could have offered. I can only say that I'm sorry.
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With so much being churned out in the way of epic fantasy, it's always a pleasure to come across something original and unique. I felt that way about Hobb's Assassin books and wondered if she'd be able to maintain such high standards in this latest trilogy. While I don't believe she quite got there (it is after all a pretty high bar she set herself), this series certainly stands on its own as quality fantasy, and its final book is a fitting conclusion (though one wonders if that word has been banned from the genre). The basic storyline is both original and interesting, and she manages to avoid the typical banalities of genre fiction. Hobb creates characters far more often than character types and then flings them out into her world on their own or in various twos and threes. Best of all, her characters are often conflicted over their motives and actions, allowing for a depth of introspection seldom seen in the genre. And nowhere is this better done than in her main character Kennit, who alternately has the reader pulling for his success and hoping for his well-deserved comeuppance. It is a tightrope act she attempts with this character and I at least would have to say she pulled it off. It is tough enough to evoke an emotional response in a genre where characters all too often barely squeak into two dimensions, let alone three, but here Hobb swings for the fence in an attempt to elicity a multiplicity of responses. And she connects fully. Not only with Kennit, but with others as well. It takes a brave soul to attempt a character made out of wood; it takes an excellent writer to make me care about that character. Is the final book as strong as the first? I personally don't think so but it doesn't tail off much. Does the book seem rushed toward the end as several readers have commented? Without a doubt. Some plotlines are all too neatly resolved (one of her characters tries to make a distinction between "coincidence" and "destiny", but I wasn't buying it myself) and some characters' roles/personalities change a bit too abruptly, but in a work that spans three good-sized novels and a dozen major characters, these turn out to be minor complaints, far outshadowed by the quality of the story and especially the characters. She's two for two in series and I look forward to her next work--I wouldn't even mind if it's another multi-book "epic".
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"Ship of Destiny" was supposed to be the final book of Robin Hobb's "Liveship Traders" trilogy, but it leaves many loose ends, including the nature and fate of the bead-maker, Amber. And what about those slug-ugly creatures who imprisoned She Who Remembers? Who were they and what is their fate?

There are references to 'Bingtown dragons' in the first book of Hobb's 'Tawny Man' series, so perhaps that is where the author is going to blend in a few 'Liveship Traders' odds and ends.

In "Ship of Destiny," Althea Vestrit continues her quest to recover her liveship Vivacia until the bitter-sweet end of the trilogy. But Vivacia is no longer the girlishly innocent ship that bonded with Althea back in "Ship of Magic." The carrion-hunting sea serpents are no longer mindless slaves to their appetites. Bingtown is burning and the Old Traders are in disarray. The pirates appear to be sweeping all before them. The plot moves on, not always rewarding the just and punishing the evil.

It's funny how the pirates turned out to be the good guys in this trilogy. I was really sad when my favorite character died, no matter that he was seriously flawed. The parts where I zoned out involved the sea serpents. Even after She Who Remembers showed up, they were kind of one-note-Johnnies.

In spite of a few slow spots, 'Liveship Traders' is a great fantasy trilogy. Hobb's dragon life-cycle I think is unique in all of the literature--and it makes glorious sense. Just think of dragon flies.

I'm hoping we hear more of Malta and the mutant Rain Wild River Traders in further books by Robin Hobb, even though the 'Liveship Traders' trilogy is complete.
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