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Mad Ship
Robin Hobb
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Mad Ship (Liveship Traders #2)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  20,698 ratings  ·  391 reviews
Fantasy master Robin Hobb delivers the stunning second volume of her Liveship Traders trilogy, returning to the timeless city of Bingtown, where pirates now plague the coasts and the dreaded slave trade flourishes. Althea Vestrit doesn't have time to be afraid, for her family's newly awakened Liveship, Vivacia, has been seized by the ruthless pirate Kennit. So Althea hatch ...more
Published by Turtleback Books (first published 1999)
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Let’s rescue the poor bugs!
That seems to be a recurring theme in this book with the identity of those ‘bugs’ varying immensely. There are plenty of people and other creatues at the edge of their existence, or just at the edge of life as they knew it.

Second books in trilogies are always a bit weird. They don’t have the big rush to the finish the last book has, but neither do they have the excitement of a new world. Once in a while there is an exception though, and this is one of them: this book b
David Sven
Excellent character development, evenly paced plot, interesting world building and some jaw dropping revelations. As a storyteller, Robin Hobb really knows how to engage the reader and make them care deeply for her characters.

This book continues straight on from the previous without missing a beat. Its the second book of a unified trilogy so in that regard it does suffer a little from being the middle book in that it doesn't have the same novelty as the first nor the resolution of the last. Havi
Executive Summary: I really enjoyed this book. I rated book 1 in this trilogy as a 4 as well, but on a scale of 10 book 1 would be an 8 and this would be a 9. There was a lot of setup in the first book that wasn't necessary in this one so the over-reaching story really started to pick up steam.

Full Review

This book does suffer a bit from "middle book syndrome", but not that much for me to mind. The ending of the book seems reasonable for a book boundary, but would leave me frustrated if I didn'
A very good second book in a wonderfully inventive series. I've read Ship of Magic and this one in one go, so I find it hard to review them separately. Hence, a copy of my review for 'Ship of Magic' also applies to Mad Ship:

I've read this series before, but after watching some movies with ships in them I suddenly felt the need to read books about ships. These came to mind, so I picked them up again.

The first time I read them, I was a bit disappointed because they are quite different from the Far
The continuing adventures of the pirate who would be a king; the girl who would be a ship's captain; the ship's boy who would be a priest; the wicked spoiled daughter who is forced to grow up; the sea serpents and magical living ships with provocative memories of incredible former lives.

I am most intrigued by the pirate's story. He's a ruthless, cold-hearted bastard but for reasons of ambition he spends this book doing good works. He frees slaves, helps people re-build their lives after disaster
Andrew Obrigewitsch
Hobb's stories a a little on the slow side, but her character development is quite good. In fact she has some of the best characters you will encounter in fantasy. As I've said before, the more I read her books the more I like them. Too bad the Tawny Man is not available in Audio format, a real shame, as I finish this I want more, and that is the next series in the sequence.
This is the second book in the Liveship Traders trilogy and the story is really starting to come together now. There are so many different threads running at the same time and so many established characters but somehow it all seems to make perfect sense, things don't get overly complicated or perhaps it's because this is my third time of reading the series. There are little nuggets of information (essential for future books!) hidden away in the Liveship series and I really believe it's essential ...more
What a terrific book! I was spellbound the entire time. From the characters to the settings to the drama, it was all amazing. There was not once that I found myself bored and not once did I want the adventure to end.

What I really loved was that the book didn't have to rely on action scenes to drive it forward like in some other books I've read. In fact, there were but a handful of fight scenes through out the entire book. What really drove the book was the character development. Like in the Far
Barbara ★
I must say that I'm liking these huge books more and more. I love getting to know in depth all these characters and anticipating how they will react to certain circumstances (usually I'm wrong). I find myself cringing when bad things happen and cheering when they prevail. To me that is the mark of an excellent book, and author. A book that keeps you reading 6-7-800 pages at a clip and keeps bringing you back for the next monstrous installment, yup that says it all!

I love the intertwined plots. F
Brilliant, for all of the reasons why I loved the first so much, and then some.

Captain Kennit finally has his hands on a liveship, and though Wintrow has his doubts Vivacia is both thrilled and enamoured with her new captain, while at home Althea embarks on a rescue mission on our other favourite liveship, and Malta is forced to grow up.

As engrossing, compelling and emotional as its predecessor (including one part where I nearly threw the book across the room), this entry also gives us more of
This review is really for the whole trilogy, which I read back-to-back, and so think of as one longer story than three individual books.

So-so at best. In the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies, Hobb had created not only a great, realistic world, but a fantastic narrator in the protagonist. In this new series, she went from first person to third, which I have no problem with, but also shifted from having just on point of view, to having far, far, far too many! There were AT LEAST SEVEN different reg
This series just gets better and better. It is so addictive and wonderfully written. I am drained - the lives of this book have followed me in waking and in sleep., I feel that I may too be drowning in memories. Off for a short easy read break to give my mind a break, but cannot wait to delve into the third book. Frigging awesome!
James 'Eagle'
A fantastic middle section of what is an increasingly impressive trilogy. Robin Hobb writes to a mature audience in a world filled to the brim with believable, complex, and vivid characters. The stakes get substantially higher as war brims, sea serpents seek their identities, and dragons haunt dreams with a vengeance.

This is the first time I've rated a Hobb five stars. People who know me might think that rather surprising after the amount of times I have raved about the brilliance of this autho
Full Review:

As much as I love all of the Fitz books, I have to admit, this series feels more ‘epic’. I love love the world building in this in a way I never quite did with her other books. Not that I missed it in them, I actually quite liked the world in the other books, but in these, it seems to be more front and center and it is just something unexpected.

And the number of strong female characters is applaudable! I love that their is such an array of “st
Matt Schraeder
The Ship of Magic was a great book, but this was far better. It felt like it told more of a full story, and the various plots seemed more cohesive and came together much better than in the first book. It's not often I like a second book in a series more than I like the first/last. The character growth throughout the book was amazing. I thought I knew the characters after the first book, but now it feels like the first book was just the introduction and that this really showed who they are.

That w
I'll start out by saying that the second book in the Liveship Traders trilogy was very well-written. Hobb's story-telling ability has very few equals - Goodkind and Martin are really the only two epic authors that come to mind when I think of ways to explain Hobb's ability to weave stories in and out of overarching plot lines so elegantly. This series, as said before, is reminiscent of ASoIaF mainly due to the fact that there are multiple POVs from the various characters. A main difference, agai ...more
Quite a bit better than the first book. The plot is more solid, without the many draggy sections of the first. Hobb also takes advantage of the characters she has so carefully built up. Similarly, the world she has constructed has benefitted from the slow but steady expansion. Perspective characters from outside of Bingtown were a welcome addition. Some of the plot twists were predictable, but even they were often well-written enough that I didn't mind. One of Hobb's strengths, I think, is in he ...more
Joshua Palmatier
I finished this book on my way back from Kansas City this past week. It's the second book in the Liveship Traders series by Robin Hobb, and yes, that means I'm woefully way behind in my Robin Hobb reading. But I'm making inroads.

This picks up the story from the first book, Ship of Magic, pretty much right after the ending of that book. Really, this isn't so much a trilogy as it is one long extended book, so I'll be doing a little bit of comparison between it and this one. First off, I felt that
Decorrido mais de um ano desde que li o primeiro volume desta trilogia, decidi aventurar-me no segundo. Optei por ouvi-lo em audiobook, pensando nas tarefas domésticas e nas caminhadas, mas depois de ter demorado quatro meses a terminá-lo cheguei à conclusão que o audiobook não foi a melhor opção. De facto, caminhei menos do que seria desejável e com um bebé não é fácil aproveitar as tarefas domésticas para ir lendo mais um pouco. E assim a leitura foi-se arrastando, arrastando... até que decidi ...more
Mad Ship, by Robin Hobb, continues the saga of the Vestrit family, impoverished merchants struggling to keep their heads above water. Their previous novel ended with them in a bad way. Their sentient “liveship,” Vivacia, had been stolen by the pirate Kennit, deriving the family of its livelihood and its future prospects and prosperity. Two family members remain aboard as hostages. A great deal of this novel is taken up with the preparations of the Vestrits to mount a rescue, which they do by ref ...more
Maria M. Elmvang
I hadn't actually expected this, but I think I might like this series a teeny-tiny bit more than the Farseer trilogy. Mostly, I think, because I'm more interested about more characters in this one. In Farseer is was really only Fitz' story I cared about. Here I'm equally interested in Althea's, Malta's, Wintrow's and Kennit's.

I do think it's a good thing that I know what to expect of a Robin Hobb trilogy. This was very much a transitional novel, which would usually have bothered me, but because
Robin Wiley
Better than the first book! I really actually enjoyed this one.

Still following about 8 characters. Most of them I grew to like more than before. Malta, in particular, but she was so hatable in the first book she had nowhere to go but up.

More action, more political intrigue, and the liveship/serpent/dragon WTF cleared up considerably. I don't think it's going to blow anyone's mind, but it certainly gets more interesting.

We get to go up the river to the Rain Wild Forest and that's pretty cool. The
Towards the end of the previous book I was completely hooked, and when I started this one the story just kept getting better. The characters got more interesting, and even the ones I hated eventually grew on me.
It's astonishing how the world keeps expanding in this book, and we now realize how little the Six Duchies' people knew about this land, its history and its magic. I find it fascinating that as we learn more about the Elderlings, we realize how wrongly some of the characters have interpre
This book is a great example of one of the big things I love about Robin Hobb: excellent characterization and development. Even my least favorite character, Malta, becomes fascinating in here, and while her storyline is the one that captures my attention the least, I still love seeing how much she's grown between the previous book and this (and knowing where she'll go in the future),

Definitely a middle book of a trilogy, but there are a lot of really satisfying moments in here--some that have st
Kat  Hooper
This review refers to the whole Liveship Traders Trilogy:

I would never have picked up Liveship Traders if I hadn’t already read been a Robin Hobb fan. The thought of sentient ships just didn’t appeal to me. However, I really enjoyed this series for the same reason as I like her other works. Some of the characters overlap, also, which is nice. I had become attached to the characters in The Farseer Saga and Tawny Man Trilogy, so it was nice to see them again!

Read more Robin Hobb book reviews at
Thomas Arvanitis
This is the 2nd book of the trilogy, and it;s just as good (and in some aspects even better) than the first. I can't wait to see what happens in the 3rd! :)
Richard Houchin
Captain Kennett is one of the most interesting ethical figures I've ever encountered in fiction. He embodies the consequentialist principle that intentions do not matter. Kennett's actions are motivated by the most self-serving, petty, revolting ambitions, but the consequences of his actions are almost universally saintly. If we did not have access to Kennett's inner monologue, we should think him a crusading superhero.

Great fantasy, this!
So many questions are finally getting (or getting close to) answered! And more information on mysteries left over from Farseer as well. This is becoming a tense read as I wait for everything that has been set up to come to a head. Also Hobb is very skilled at reeling me back in to feeling for characters that I thought myself without sympathy for. Oi!
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** I am shocked to find that some people think a 2 star 'I liked it' rating is a bad rating. What? I liked it. I LIKED it! That means I read the whole thing, to the last page, in spite of my life raining comets on me. It's a good book that survives the reading process with me. If a book is so-so, it ends up under the bed somewhere, or maybe under a stinky judo bag in the back of the van. So a 2 st ...more
More about Robin Hobb...
Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1) Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy, #2) Assassin's Quest (Farseer Trilogy, #3) Fool's Errand (Tawny Man, #1) Fool's Fate (Tawny Man, #3)

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“Everyone thinks that courage is about facing death without flinching. But almost anyone can do that. Almost anyone can hold their breath and not scream for as long as it takes to die.

True courage is about facing life without flinching. I don't mean the times when the right path is hard, but glorious at the end. I'm talking about enduring the boredom, the messiness, and the inconvenience of doing what is right.

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