Robin Wiley's Reviews > Ship of Magic

Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
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Apr 03, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy
Read in March, 2012

This was good and I enjoyed it. Following up Wise Man's Fear is a tough thing. I probably can't LOVE anything else right now. My heart is not mine, and probably won't be mine for awhile. At any other time, I would probably would love this book. So, with that qualification...

Unlike her Forest Mage series that follows just the one character, this follows about eight, which I enjoyed much more. Our heroine is stubborn and spoiled, but she is smart, capable and has good intentions. Our hero is a boy training to be a priest. He is naive and kind hearted. They both have plenty of room to grow into their roles over the course of the series.

The pirate is a likable bad guy. I liked him, hated him, then found myself liking him again by the end.

Malta - now that's a perfectly hatable character. As hatable women go, she is definately at the Cersei Lannister end of the spectrum. I've read that Robin Hobb likes to torture her characters. Torture away! Whatever bad things happen to that girl, I shall read them with a smile on my face.

The religion is simple and familiar. The magic seems more natural, rather than wand and wizard fare, in spite of the fact that the live ships are made out of a wood called "Wizardwood".

Speaking of names, Robin Hobb is not very good at them. I would like to say she is a terrible namer, and that my kids could come up with better stuff - but I did just finish "Wise Man's Fear" and we all know Rothfuss is fantastic at naming. So, I'll say it's not her strong suit. Fantasy names are tricky. I don't know why the good ones are good, I just know when they are clunky and don't work. But that's being picky. It doesn't ruin the book or anything. It's just something I noticed.

The other thing was the liveships. I'm not a big fan of talking animals. Although the movie versions of Narnia worked it out, I couldn't get past it when I was a kid reading the books. When I think liveship I was thinking more like Farscape's Moya, present and able to communicate, but not a speaking character. These liveships have animated mastheads that talk and move their arms and heads. I guess I got over it enough, because I'm reading the second book, but I'm still frowning about it.

Action - OK. Hoping for more in the books to come.
Magic - still vague. Again hoping for more as the series develops.
Cool places - There was a forbidden, magic island that was pretty cool.
Creatures - really big sea monsters
Characters - a fair amount of likables, and a couple that could potentially make a favorites list

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Duffy Pratt I'll be interested to hear what you say about the talking liveships when you discover more about them. I'd make some comments about other things you've said, but I don't want to spoil anything for you. For me, this series got better and better as it progressed.


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