Ship of Magic (The Liveship Traders #1) audiobook
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Ship of Magic (The Liveship Traders #1) audiobook free
Ship of Magic is not just one of the best fantasy books I’ve read but one of the best fiction books I’ve ever read. I was reluctant to leave Fitz after finishing the first trilogy. But it turns out that I enjoyed Ship of Magic even more. As this is only the first book of a trilogy, it makes for even higher praise.
Many books and other pieces of art leave you feeling that maybe you yourself could have slapped it together with a little work. But this book is a unique and irreproducible masterwork of craftsmanship from start to finish. You are left wide-eyed asking, “how did you doooo that?”
The pages are dripping with heart, care and wisdom. The plot and storytelling are beautifully paced. The world-building is done so well that you simply buy into talking wood. The dialogue and characterization are so smart you feel as if you are sitting at a table listening to old friends.
For me, the most impressive aspect of Hobb is her emotional intelligence and grasp of real human nature and human behavior. Good and evil will overlap between characters. People act with nobility in one scene while flawed and selfish in another. Each character struggles with very believable conflicts that have no neat answers or solutions.
The world setting is extremely gritty and outcomes are unpredictable. And with all this, there are deeper philosophical points being made strongly throughout, without making you feel as if the author is *trying* too hard to do it. They just arise organically from the plot.
The historical period of the setting is captured very well, from the style of dialogue to the expectations of age and gender.
Hobb effectively writes from many different perspectives at once. You will be inside the head of an individual character for a moment, then an omniscient perspective, then inside the head of another character. It felt seamless, and it’s a style that effectively immerses the reader. You will walk a mile in the shoes of the characters while watching yourself do it.
Ship of Magic (The Liveship Traders #1) audiobook streamming online
Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb was a fascinating read for me. On the one hand the prose is beautiful, the world building deep, and the characters incredibly well crafted. On the other, that beautiful prose is sometimes a little on the verbose side and those well-crafted characters make incredibly stupid decisions at every turn to move along a fairly predictable plot. Its almost a tale of two books, making this a very hard one to rate.
The parts of Ship of Magic that really worked for me are numerous. For starters, Hobbs prose is just beautiful. Its the kind of book that I want to read aloud simply to hear the words come alive. Ive had this feeling when reading some of Hobbs other works, and it was one of the most enjoyable things about Ship of Magic for me. The world is also amazingly detailed. I loved the magic of the liveships, and the questions of where they come from and their connection to the Rain Wilds trader families kept the pages turning. Thats to say nothing about the culture of the Bingtown traders, their satrap, the pirate islands, and all the rest that Hobb crams into this book. She drops tantalizing hints for what may come next in the trilogy. From a mad liveship, who may be hiding important truths, to the threat of revolt from a satrap who refuses to abide by the promises his forefathers made, there is a great deal of depth to the world that this novel portrays. I havent even touched on the way Hobb makes sailing come alive here, crafting truly evocative scenes aboard ships. Its dazzling at times. Then, of course, there are the characters. Most of our viewpoint characters are members of or otherwise associated with the Vestrit family, a family of Bingtown Traders who are struggling to stay financially solvent in a changing world. Althea is rash and overconfident, but also the most knowledgeable of liveships and the most passionate about sailing. Her sister, Keffria, on the other hand, lacks all assertiveness and is thrust into a position as the head of the family that she seems quite ill-suited for. Altheas nephew, Wintrow, has been in training and wants nothing more than to be a priest. Hes in some ways the most balanced and relatable of the characters, even if he does share the family penchant for utter stupidity (see below), he has less of a share of it than the other characters. Then there is Kyle Haven, Keffrias husband, who is quite high on my list of most hated characters ever. Hobb deserves heavy accolades for shaping not only a character that I hate so much, but also characters that feel quite human in the midst of a rather bleak world.
Those characters, while lovingly crafted, were also one of the things I found most frustrating about the novel. As mentioned above, nearly all the characters make stupid decisions. Repeatedly. Its fun the first time or two a character is an idiot, but eventually I like my characters to grow from that experience. Instead, time and time again, the characters in Ship of Magic return to the same well and do things that obviously arent going to work out well for them. From the opening pages, when Kyle Haven is given command of the liveship Vivacia, it seems obvious that his command will achieve nothing other than destruction. Somehow the family manages to completely miss the fact that Kyle is actually a conniving, self-serving fool. While this tendency for characters to continually make poor decisions became frustrating as the book went on, far worse was the fact that it made the plot entirely predictable. By the time were about 15% of the way into the book you know exactly how its going to end, leaving only questions of small details and the exact timing. It would have been nice to see some more character growth in this book, some sort of realization that poor decisions beget poor results and an attempt to right things. In fairness to Hobb, this is a trilogy, and by the end of Ship of Magic at least a couple of the characters appear to realize their poor decisions. Hopefully this will allow for more character growth and less predictability in subsequent books of the series.
Im in the minority with this one. Theres obviously a lot to love in the prose and the world and the characters, even if the characters ended up not working very well for me. For whatever reason, this one didnt engage me, but Im confident others will have a different experience.
5 I loved this, couldnt put it down, move it to the top of your TBR pile
4 I really enjoyed this, add it to the TBR pile
3 It was ok, depending on your preferences it may be worth your time
2 I didnt like this book, it has significant flaws and I cant recommend it
1 I loathe this book with a most loathsome loathing
Audiobook Ship of Magic (The Liveship Traders #1) by Robin Hobb
George R.R. Martin is not kidding with his praise of this trilogy.
I won’t lie; I really didn’t like the Assassin’s Apprentice trilogy (have not read the Tawny Man…). I found it hard to invest in heroes that never seemed to be on the winning side of things, and a story that seemed to have no light or joyous moments to contrast the dark.
But the Liveship Traders trilogy is on another level of fantasy. It bursts with action and adventure, tenderness, beauty, joy, and a lot of depth and darkness too. Other reviewers have said it all more elegantly than I have, so I will just say this: I came to this series after reading “Uprooted” by Naomi Novik and feeling intensely hungry for some badass heroines. I was stunned by how incredible the world of this book was, how original, how finely crafted, how thrillingly the small reveals and surprises were spun out.
If you’re anxiously waiting for Patrick Rothfuss to hurry up, this trilogy will not only help you pass the time, but totally engross you. And once you’re done with this, I highly recommend “Uprooted” next…
Audio Ship of Magic (The Liveship Traders #1) narrated by Anne Flosnik
I wanted to like this book. I started off liking it, but by the end I couldn’t wait to finish it, which I only did because of a stubborn streak in my nature. (And that’s even when it was a Kindle Deal of the Day and only cost me 99p.) Why? It’s obvious from the number of four and five star reviews that a lot of people do like it, and Robin Hobbs has written a lot of books, so what was my problem? It took me a while to work it out, and then I realised it was the characterisation. Which is interesting, because if you read some of the other one and two star reviews, a number of them cite that as one of the book’s only redeeming features. What killed it for me, however, was the inconsistency of the characters. Their emotions, their motivations, their thoughts, fears, everything is described, frequently in some detail, but rather than the characters driving the plot, the plot drove the characters. Their psychology and motivation could change dramatically, sometimes within a few pages, and seemingly just to advance the plot. This made any identification with them almost impossible, and after a while I got fed up with them blundering into yet another fairly predictable crisis with a staggering lack of self-awareness or intelligence. Worse still, it wasn’t just one character that did it, the others in that section seemed to change in sympathy. At times, it was like reading a series of stories, with different characters that shared the same names, spliced together. There are some interesting ideas, but just as someone should introduce Quentin Tarrantino to the editing suite, so this book suffers from the curse of multi-volume fantasy. Nothing can be dealt with in one book, it has to be spun out at tedious length over a minimum of three volumes. Even if I had been tempted to read any of the others in this series, a few seconds reading the blurb for them saved me the trouble by summarising the plot in a couple of sentences. Lots of people love this sort of thing, but if you try it and don’t like it, don’t say you weren’t warned
Free audio Ship of Magic (The Liveship Traders #1) – in the audio player below
The book is very long; only start it if you have the time to read 900 pages and then to read the rest of the story in the remaining 2 900 page volumes! I bought the kindle version and so didn’t realise quite what an epic tome it was going to be until it just kept going – you certainly get your money’s worth.
However, that all said, it was an enjoyable read – the kind of story that gets in your head and is hard to let go of until you know what happened. If you are a fan of adventure and magic, pirates and dragons and stories set in a time long passed, you might also enjoy the tale.
I found the characters well written and could relate to the heroine’s emotions as she dealt with the blows given her and got frustrated with the teenage behaviour of young Malta and her self-absorbed father. There are several separate but converging strands, that will no doubt come together in the final volume. This books ends with lots of loose ends, but I get the sense that it has been written as a very very long story broken into 3 volumes.
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