Monday, 30 December 2013

Ship of Magic - Robin Hobb

        I have been captured by pirates.  I am riding with Althea as she tries to find a way to get her liveship Vivacia back again. I am following the adventures of all her family members as they face various threats to the family since their father died early in Ship of Magic.

Fabulous?  Oh yes.

I am completely swept away by this series.  I LOVE it.  The Liveship Traders series has three books in it:  Ship of Magic, Mad Ship, and Ship of Destiny. I forget how much I am captured by Robin Hobb's writing, how much I am drawn into her world. Is it bad of me to wish very much that I could meet a Rain Wild Traders and know more about their world?  ie actually go there? 

I really really want to sail on a liveship.  What a lovely magical fabulous idea, a ship made of wizardwood, that slowly comes to life from the family members who live and die on her.

As some of you may know, I lived on a sailboat once, long ago as a teenager, and we sailed the Pacific coast of Central America for two years.   The boat I did live on?  It was  a 42 foot sailing yacht named Kalaha.  And I remember all the sailing (nautical) terms on her, except possibly the names of some of the different lines (ropes) used to haul the sails in and out.  I wish I had a scanner, so I could show you her.  She was a lovely boat, and my home for two years.  Long ago, in the 1970's.  I might be land-locked now in Ottawa, but in my dreams, I can still hear the small curl on the waves as they roll endless through the sea, and the wind in the sails........I still dream sometimes of being on the boat.  I have many good memories of living on water clear enough to see the bottom, and the dangers of pirates even then for the unwary boats.  I have seen flying fish, and water that glowed in the night with the passing of sea life.  We had dolphins swimming and jumping by our bow.  So when the Vivacia plows through water, or a sudden storm raises the waves, I remember what it is like to be in it.  And I remember what it is like to be coated in sea salt from the spray on very windy days, after sitting at the wheel for my turn on watch.   Reading this series is like being at sea again, only better, because there is magic and family drama that I'm only reading about, not part of !!  And I'm dry at home, eating cookies and drinking tea.

You don't have to have even seen the sea to enjoy this series.  I'm just sharing how real the life of Althea and Wintrow on the different merchant sailing vessels they are on, is for me. Hobb does such a good job capturing life at sea that you will feel like you've been at sea too, while reading this series.  In a good way, no seasickness like my sister Patricia suffered from, from day one.  Even she could read this series, there is not much about the heaving skyline or big waves (any motion made her sea sick).  Yet some of the story doesn't take place at sea, or on the boat, quite a bit of has to do with Althea's family in Bingtown, and the challenges they face as change comes as the ruler of their land begins to break the old promises to him, and threaten the delicate trading partnership between the Bingtown Traders and the Wild Rains Traders, and the secrets that bind them which include the secret of the liveships.

The trilogy also has:

- the possibility of dragons.

- And a heroine named Althea, who in true sea sailing lore, runs away to sea in disguise as a boy, when her family gives what was to be her liveship to her brother-in-law, in a bad mistake that might cost them everything.

I'm on book 2 now, Mad Ship.  I can't put it down.  I have been carried off by the series.  I hope to be back in time for New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, to finish my list of books of the year (yes ,sis, I haven't forgotten), and to talk about books I got for Christmas, and plans for the new year. 

The Liveship Traders is an excellent series, three books in all, and I hope to finish the series by the end of New Year's Day, since I have to go back to work on January 2.  It's very difficult to do anything else while reading them, as they are well-written, intense stories, with chapters that change view points and overall emerging slowly is a tapestry of a world full of wonderful lively characters, with good dialogue, and it just zips along, one adventure to another.  I have loved her other two series, the Farseer series and the Tawny Man series, and am delighted that I am falling in love with Althea and all the characters in this series too.  I am so happy I have nothing in my plans for the next few days, except to read.  All the parties are done except one.  And a deep freeze is descending on us once again. I can think of no better way to celebrate the end of the year, and this magical time between Christmas and New Year's day, than by reading.  And hide out from the cold, of course. 

Happy reading for the end of the year, everyone!!!  Back soon. I have to find out what Althea does when they learn the Vivacia has been captured by pirates......


Kailana said...

Did you hear Robb is going back to her Farseer roots with her next series hopefully out in 2014? I am so freaking excited!!

Susan said...

Kailana: No I didn't! I am so excited too. Her current dragon series is connected to this Liveship Trader series, I believe. I have two books in that series to start in the new year. More Farseer....yaaay!

Cath said...

For me, I don't think anyone writes like Robin Hobb. Her books are so readable, often very long, but I still whizz through them like nobody's business. I read this one for this year's OUaT and it was far and away the best book I read for it. I'm not sure if I'll get to a top-ten this year but if I do The Ship of Magic will be in it. I adored it. I'm planning to read the 2nd. book for this year's OuaT. I'm dying to know what happens to Althea and Wintrow... but the intriguing storyline for me is Malta's. Is she going to end up where I think she will???

I've read the three Assassin books so far, but not the Tawny Man. I also think there are three more in the Liveship Trader series aren't there? And I'm delighted to hear RH is returning to this universe! She can't write enough for me.

Alex said...

I'm so glad you like these. They were my introduction to her writing as well. However, if you want to be able to follow her new book, 'The Fool's Assassin' due out in August then you really need to read the two trilogy that bookend this one, 'Farseer' and 'The Tawny Man'. They are central to what is to come.

Eva said...

This sounds so fabulous! I've never read Hobb before.

Susan said...

Cath: I ended up reading all three of them, and have to do my post - they are fabulous all the way through. So very good. I hope you get to the second one this year! I will be reading the dragon series next, by her, I have the first two books already. They are kind of a continuation after the LIveship Traders series, you will see why :-)
They are so well-written, aren't they?

Alex: I have read almost everything by Robin HObb now! The Farseer Trilogy was my introduction to her, and I ended up giving book one to everyone that year when I read it, long ago. I love Fitz and the Fool. Tawny Man series was so good and different too. I'm so delighted you enjoy them too!

Eva: They are well-written fantasy novels with fabulous characters - so well drawn that they are realistic, if that makes sense for a fantasy series :-) I hope you give them a try. I don't know which series for you to begin - I started with Assasin's Apprentice many years ago, but many readers started with Ship of Destiny, it seems, here.

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