Fantasy Book Club Series discussion

Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders, #1)
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Realms of the Elderlings Series > Ship of Magic - Planning to Read, First Impressions **NO SPOILERS**

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message 1: by Jon (new) - added it

Jon (jonmoss) | 706 comments Post with your first impressions or intentions. :)


Traci I read this within the last six months so I probably won't read it again. But I liked it. And will join in on the discussions. It had a little more of an historical epic feel than Hobb's other works. Distinctive characters. Some I loved. Some I just hated. Really!
Looking forward to sharing. Lol.


Amelia (Narknon) | 523 comments I plan on reading this, but I might be slow to start it. I enjoyed the Farseer trilogy and am looking forward to this next series.


message 4: by Helen, So many books... (new) - rated it 5 stars

Helen | 748 comments Mod
Read this trilogy years ago and remember bits of it. Intending to read and am looking forward to it, have to read City of Bones, Honor book 4 (can't remember title!) and Fortress of Ice first.


Wastrel | 49 comments I'm reading it. I'd forgotten just how more ambitious it was compared to Farseer, and almost all other fantasy. In the first 60 pages, we get character sketches of seven different viewpoint characters. I'm now 205 pages in, and we've had another two viewpoint characters introduced. In total, as I recall, there are at least twelve viewpoint characters (3 of them non-human). And virtually nothing has actually happened - most of the characters are introduced with chapters of them thinking about things. I know that there's plenty of plot going to kick off, but I'd forgotten just how slow it was.

Between the long descriptions of thoughts and the social system it's set in (and resulting tendencies in plot), it feels like a very Victorian novel almost.

It's also the apotheosis of 'grey' fantasy. I've met 7 POVs and a couple of other major characters, and not one of them is wholly likeable. On the other hand, none of them are wholly unlikeable either. [Again, it feels like Hardy or something]. There's even a clear theme - pride and prejudice. All the main characters are immensely proud and arrogant and to varying degrees bigoted. I think most readers would be predicting that this could lead to many misfortunes down the line.

Finally, it's worth noting how bold Hobb is being in terms of multiple storylines. There are four parallel stories going on here - one in the prologue, one about Kennit, one about the Vestrit family, and one about another POV who's only had one chapter so far (cryptic so as not to spoil anything). 200 pages in, that last one-chapter storyline has a character tangentially in common with the Vestrit storyline, but no clear connexion, while the Kennit and Maulkin stories have absolutely nothin to do with the Vestrits. It's a bit like how A Game of Thrones follows both Dany and the Starks - except that that's easier, because Dany is 'far far away' rather than 'just next door', so it's easier to accept the disconnect, and because ASOIAF is so much bigger in scope (an entire world, compared with a small stretch of coast - I don't have scales to hand, but I'd guess it's the equivalent of the distance from King's Landing to the Eyrie, and it's a line rather than an area) and scale (five massive books and counting compared with three large books and no more) that it's more comfortable accepting that 'oh that'll probably become relevant later on somehow'.


Sandra  (Sleo) | 1059 comments I started this a few years ago but never got very far. I'm going to give it a try as soon as I finish some other things.


message 7: by Martha (new)

Martha (tilla) | 3 comments read Fortress of Ice when it first came out; loved it but want more. Is Ship of Magic part of the Live Ship series? Takes place in the same world as Farseer?


Sandra  (Sleo) | 1059 comments Martha wrote: "read Fortress of Ice when it first came out; loved it but want more. Is Ship of Magic part of the Live Ship series? Takes place in the same world as Farseer?"

Yes, it's the first book in the Live Ship series. I have started it and it seems to be in a different world than Farseer so far, but it's related from what others say.


Traci Same world. Different country. One of the characters from Farseer shows up here but you might have some trouble spotting him or her at first. I don't remember too much mention of anything from Farseer in this series. But both series are connected to the third Tawny Man.


Leighann | 5 comments I just read these a few months ago and really enjoyed them. Actually enjoyed more than the Farseer - I think I liked all the different POV's that were involved. These are on my list as a potential re-read in the future!


Wastrel | 49 comments Traci wrote: "Same world. Different country. One of the characters from Farseer shows up here but you might have some trouble spotting him or her at first. I don't remember too much mention of anything from Fars..."

Every so often people talk about the wars among the 'barbarians' of the north, and how they've closed down the trade along the Buck River. More prominently, they constantly talk about Chalced, which is mentioned tangentially in Farseer quite often - basically, it's the land southwest of the Six Duchies and north-east of Bingtown. So if you pay attention it's clear they're the same universe. But there's very little direct cross-over. One character is in both series, but they're in disguise (or at least not immediately recognisable) and it's not confirmed that they're the same person until the Tawny Man series. There are also a few more subtle connexions - iirc, some of the mysterious items discovered in various places in Liveships (most immediately on the beach on the island of the Others) can be seen in the Fool's hallucination in Assassin's Quest, and there's a wood carving that appears later that's suspiciously similar to someone (or something) we've met in Farseer - but unless you pay close attention, you might not notice it.

So, they're in the same world, but they might as well not be. At this stage, anyway - they're tied together more closely in Tawny Man.


Suzanne | 193 comments I'm planning on reading it but haven't started yet - have a couple other books I need to finish first.


message 13: by Martha (new)

Martha (tilla) | 3 comments looks like Hobb has another series in the rainforest - Dragon Haven, City of Dragons?


message 14: by Helen, So many books... (new) - rated it 5 stars

Helen | 748 comments Mod
I've bought the first two. I'm going to go right through her catalogue!


Cadiva | 3 comments Loved this series, I read them all when she first published them. They have a quite different feel to the Farseer Trilogy imho. I found these to be more of an expose on how the world worked, the trading, the importance of the Live Ships, the slow gradual awakening of something being wrong within the world they're travelling in.
As has been said, they tie in much more closely to the Tawny Man series than they do to the Farseer one but I enjoyed them just as much. They are a bit slower to get going but, once they do, the pace picks up rapidly and you're sent on a bruising journey through the wilds and into long lost regions.


Sandra  (Sleo) | 1059 comments I've read the first five chapters and am quite enjoying it.


Serenity | 11 comments Read this series a couple of years ago, and have been worshipping at Robin Hobb's alter ever since haha. I was mostly in a hurry to read this trilogy when I found out about the recurrent character from the the Farseer trilogy that Traci mentioned above. I absolutely adore some of these characters (and passionately despise others) and they are the reasons why I loved the series so much. Each trilogy adds layers upon layers to the world, plot, and characters.

I haven't read the 2 new Dragonhaven books, but if this group gets that far, I will definitely jump on the wagon.


Lindsey | 61 comments Read this one a few months ago and enjoyed it; won't be reading it again now because I'm trying to finish #3. IIRC, my first impression was that it felt a little slower than the Farseer Trilogy but it does pull one in.

I think this set is more typical fantasy: multiple POV, 3rd person, big reveals done by plot rather than the narrator's limited knowledge. And I agree with others who have said that there's no clear hero character; every character in this trilogy is flawed in at least one important way. I admire that Hobb is willing to let her characters grow, fail, and learn, rather than presenting some as fully developed.


message 19: by Sam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sam | 13 comments I know I am late starting but only recently joined the group and have been reading Theft of swords. I read this years ago but am looking forward to re-reading it. Hopefully will catch up to the rest of you before you finish the series.


message 20: by Helen, So many books... (new) - rated it 5 stars

Helen | 748 comments Mod
Enjoy the read, it's great.


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Books mentioned in this topic

City of Bones (other topics)
Fortress of Ice (other topics)