There's something to be said about ships. You know, the ones with the billowing sails in the afternoon sun, the ocean's deep blues dazzling around it,...moreThere's something to be said about ships. You know, the ones with the billowing sails in the afternoon sun, the ocean's deep blues dazzling around it, the figurehead turning around to have a quick conversation with you. Wait, what? Okay, so Ship of Magic is an 800-odd page whopper. Yup. Took me three moths to get through it. I have to start off by saying that the writing isn't bad. In fact, it is meticulously beautiful - that trademark Hobb we have come to love. I will, however, comment on the length. Everything is long. And for someone like me, who needs to imbibe every little detail of a book, it can be a lot of seawater to swallow. Having cleared the air of that little complaint, let's get into the actual review. Ship of Magic is about many things. What you need to know is that it is, first and foremost, about Liveships. These bad boys and girls are ships that cost a fortune. They are made out of wizardwood, a magical kind of wood only found in the Rain Wilds, and the ships themselves are magical, or more - sentient. Once a member of three generations of the same family die on board a liveship, it quickens (it wakes up, starts talking, and has a will, personality and emotions of its own). Ship of Magic focuses mainly on Vivacia, one such recently quickened liveship, and on Paragon (to a lesser exent - I believe we'll see more of him in the other novels). There's a host of main characters in Ship of Magic (I'm not calling anyone a protagonist or antagonist, as there are multiple story lines, with multiple end-goals, with multiple ways to see the world - that's left up to reader to decide).
The notable main characters are: 1 Althea Vestrit, ostracized daughter of the Vestrit family, and self-proclaimed heir to the liveship Vivacia 2 Wintrow Haven, a young monk-turned-sailor - and next in line for the captaincy of Vivacia 3 Captain Kennit, a mysterious, charming pirate captain of the Mariette 4 Amber, a mysterious woodsmith who becomes fascinated in Paragon 5 Paragon, an abandoned liveship, thought to be an insane murderer 6 The Tangle, a group of sea serpents searching for their forgotten destiny 7 The Vestrits, a Trader Family trying to keep their heads above water in financially turbulent times 8 Kyle Haven, married to Keffria Vestrit, new captain of the liveship Vivacia 9 Vivacia, the Vestrit family's liveship. Phew, that's a lot. And it ain't all of them.
Ship of Magic took a while to sink its claws into me (almost 600 pages), but when it did, gods, I was fascinated. It's also important to remember that Hobb is setting the scene in this book; it's the first of a trilogy, and she's preparing us for what is to come. Alright, so I've been keeping you busy with background, characters and wizardwood. What's the book about? I'm not giving you the answer. This is the kind of book that you have to read yourself. I can't do the author justice by trying to retell this story. All I can say is it makes you hate people, love people, feel sorry for people, and in my case, makes me desperately want to be a sailor.
When one ventures into the primordial ooze known as the interwebz, one realises rather soon that one is not as well-read as one should be.
Okay, enough...moreWhen one ventures into the primordial ooze known as the interwebz, one realises rather soon that one is not as well-read as one should be.
Okay, enough of the one-ness. My point is, I'd never even heard of Hobb before I joined an awesomenessly leet place called Fantasy-Faction.com. So, I found out about Hobb - and the fact that many fantasy lovers hail her to be one of the best fantasy writers EVAR (sic).
I'll admit, the beginning was tough. Not very sword and sorcery, and not very action packed. But Hobb manages to establish an interesting world, with a loveable protagonist. Though sometimes I'd like to slap him.
Assassin's Apprentice is the first in a trilogy called The Farseers. The book is the first-person narrative of Fitz, a bastard son of the King-in-Waiting of the Six Duchies - a country made up of, well, six duchies. Fitz is a peculiar carachter because he possesses something known as the 'Wit' which allows him to communicate with animals (Eragon stole an idea, anyone?). But he also has the potential of the Skill, which is like the Wit, except you use it on humans and distance doesn't matter.
Once I got into this book, it was awesome. I didn't want it to end, and yes, I cried. Maybe twice. Or once. You'll have to guess though.
And now, I'm on to the second in the trilogy, Royal Assassin. Hopefully I won't die. (less)
I think the universe is trying to tell me something.
When I pick up a book (or virtually "pick it up" - bad pun) these days, it's about assassins. No,...moreI think the universe is trying to tell me something.
When I pick up a book (or virtually "pick it up" - bad pun) these days, it's about assassins. No, I'm not saying assassins are old news - I'm saying they're throwing all their potions and ninja-stars and shit at me.
I'm quite liking it - however, I can come to only two possible reasons for this. 1) I'm destined to become an assassin, or 2) I'm destined to be killed by one.
Regardless, both are seriously cool options. Anyways, on to the review!
"Forged in Blood" acts as an entrée of sorts - it introduces us to important characters, important concepts, and starts off with the world-builiding.
It's a not-too-long short-story set in the Lands of the Inner Sea. I haven't read Zidar before, but I liked Forged in Blood. It introduces you to three characters (Tallow, Atilen and Bran) and basically is about how their paths meet [I would like to add here that I think Tallow is such a hot name, and that I might have a mini-geek-crush on him. Just maybe.]
It's clear that Zidar loves his world very much - even in this short story there are many underlying hints of a well-developed world. I think this short story is a prelude to Zidar's upcoming novel (titled The Grandfather's Blade on his website) - I wish the best of luck to him, and commend him on a light, yet entertaining read.
[Forged in Blood is available in the Kindle store here] (less)
Charlton makes a wonderful debut with Spellwright - without sounding too much like an echo of other reviews, his magical system is unique and refreshi...moreCharlton makes a wonderful debut with Spellwright - without sounding too much like an echo of other reviews, his magical system is unique and refreshing, and I love his writing style.
If you look at Spellwright as not only a fantasy novel, but also a tome that plays around with language, you will come to see that it is profoundly allegorical of Charlton's own struggle with dyslexia - which is beautiful and powerful, to use cliché terms.
Definitely a must-read for any fantasy lovers, and I can't wait for Spellbound.