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Ship of Magic

(The Liveship Traders #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  71,933 ratings  ·  3,632 reviews
Wizardwood, a sentient wood.
The most precious commodity in the world.
Like many other legendary wares, it comes only from the Rain River Wilds.

But how can one trade with the Rain Wilders, when only a liveship fashioned from wizardwood can negotiate the perilous waters of the Rain River? Rare and valuable a liveship will quicken only when three members, from successive gener
Mass Market Paperback, 880 pages
Published March 1999 by Voyager (first published March 1998)
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Vivienne Hart The majority of 13 year old girls are pre-occupied by boys and clothes, just like Malta. However, as misfortune and hardship beset herself and her fam…moreThe majority of 13 year old girls are pre-occupied by boys and clothes, just like Malta. However, as misfortune and hardship beset herself and her family, she matures into a fascinating and uncompromising young woman. The development of her character is one of my great joys in the next 2 books. Then again, I loved the first book wholeheartedly but accept that I cannot like all the characters ... just like in real life.(less)
Nick Borrelli No way this is a book that a 10 year-old should be reading. The themes are very adult-oriented and there is an abundance of graphic violence. Also som…moreNo way this is a book that a 10 year-old should be reading. The themes are very adult-oriented and there is an abundance of graphic violence. Also some sex scenes. Robin Hobb writes about heavy issues and somewhat depressing topics. These are books that even adults have a hard time dealing with. She is an excellent writer, but these are not "feel-good" books by any means.(less)

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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  71,933 ratings  ·  3,632 reviews

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Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly one of the best books I have ever read
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Character driven fantasy fans
Shelves: favorites
4.5/5 stars

Color me impressed, just the first book in the Liveship Traders trilogy alone is already better than the entire Farseer trilogy.

Don’t get me wrong, the Farseer trilogy certainly has its charm but the third book of the trilogy, Ass Quest, was a massive disappointment for me. Fortunately, that didn’t stop me from giving Hobb another try because this was just utterly fantastic.

Ship of Magic, the first book in the Liveship Traders trilogy—which is also the second out five subseries within
Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders,#1 Realm of the Elderlings,#4)
As a big fan of Hobb's writing, I wasn't disappointed by this book at all!
Ship of Magic is not just one of the best fantasy books I've read but one of the best fiction books I've ever read. I was reluctant to leave Fitz after finishing the first trilogy. But it turns out that I enjoyed Ship of Magic even more. As this is only the first book of a trilogy, it makes for even higher praise. Now I would surely look forward to finishing t
Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews
Feb 28, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Possibly the best pirate book ever written

Check out my new youtube channel where I show my instant reactions to reading fantasy books seconds after I finish the book.

I was sad to learn upon finishing the Farseer Trilogy that the next trilogy in the Realm of the Elderlings moved on to entirely different characters in a distant part of the world. My sadness was quickly dashed when I realized that this book exceeds everything I previously read in the series and left me ravenous for more
Em Lost In Books
**Reread - Loved it more this time around specially all those small things that I let slip first time enhanced the reading experience. And there were so many moments "Ah! You shouldn't have done this, you fool!! Now be ready to face consequences."**


I can't believe she wrote this masterpiece after that messed up Farseer finale...

I read Assassin's Quest back in 2016 and lost every hope of getting back to Realm of Elderlings. But then I wrapped up Twany Man in August this and now I am a faithfu
Sean Barrs
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 4-star-reads
This was good, but it wasn’t as good as Robin Hobb's Farseer books.

Fitz is an excellent narrator, and an excellent focal point for a series, though this uses several point of view characters. Some are great and some are, unfortunately, as dry as dust.

Wintrow was by far my favourite character in this series. He is torn between two lives. As a young boy he was sent away from home and raised as a priest; it’s a life he has gotten used to, but circumstances demands that he returns to his former li
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
DNF at 50%.

I think I'm officially giving up on Robin Hobb. I wanted to love her and her books but after reading the Farseer trilogy and half of this book... I'm not enjoying myself.

Nothing in here is gripping me. Not the writing, not the story, not the characters, not the world... nothing.
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
This book was awesome! I love the concept of the liveships!!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Final verdict: a great antidote to A Game of Thrones, with brilliant, complicated characters.

My friend introduced to me to Ship of Magic because I'd been complaining about annoying stupid characters. She recommended Robin Hobb in general, but Ship of Magic especially, primarily for Althea Vestrit, our primary protagonist.

One thing I want to point out is that I would have never picked this up on my own. Not for the title, not the cover (yes, I'm disproportionately attracted to pretty covers--the
myo (myonna reads)
robin hobb has no right to be this amazing at storytelling
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is now one of my all time favorites. Hobb was already an accomplished writer when she produced her last trilogy, and the characters of Fitz and the Fool rank with some of the most engaging and rounded characters I have seen in literature.
Then along came this book. Wow. The books in this trilogy run around 200 pages longer than those in the last series, and the author needs every single word. Typically, when something is this large there are at least some segments I skim. (I have deve
ELLIAS (elliasreads)
Mar 15, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own, 2022-books
asdfghjasdgfajsldfhajk!! I'm conflicted......

On one hand, the whole world, writing, and the expansion itself in this universe felt more connected and majestic to me, moving on from The Farseer Trilogy. On the other hand, however......

Imagine adult Fitz's naivety and stubbornness in being open minded- all split between all the characters in this book....well the main ones anyways. There were some good moments for sure and the lore behind the story, as well as the explanation of a different ki
Sheyla ✎
After finishing The Assassin's Quest, I was ready to put a brake on the series and squeeze a few other audios before I resumed it. That thought lasted about 3 minutes before I dived back into the world of the Six Duchess and now Bingtown.

At the core of the storyline, we have the Vestrit family. They own the ship Vivacia which is made of wizardwood. In order for Vivacia to quicken, three successive generations have to die on board the ship.

Althea, the youngest daughter, dreams of inheriting the
Library of a Viking
Feb 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing

Last year I read The Farseer trilogy and fell in love with Hobb’s writing, character work and world-building. The Liveship Traders trilogy is one of my priority series to read and finish in 2022. I have frequently heard that The Liveship Traders is even better than Farseer, which made me excited to read it. So what did I think?

Firstly, let me start by saying that judging only from Ship of Magic, I can’t see any reasons why this book couldn’t be a good starti
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
Step aside Pirates of The Caribbean, Robin Hobb is the crowned queen of maritime fiction and she's here to stay!
Allow to say that I can't believe I've been putting off starting Robin Hobb's work for the last couple of years just because it's a little bit on the heftier and slow burning side. OH MY GOD I'VE BEEN SUCH AN IDIOT! Well, better late than never and all that rot..
I was thinking about saying that getting to this book was worth the time it took me to read through the Farseer trilogy, but
4.75 ⭐️


Greatness. Absolute greatness.
Christina Pilkington
Hands down, this is going to be one of my favorite books of 2022. Although I've heard that books 2 and 3 are even better, so it will probably be the entire series.

Oh. My. Goodness. From the very first chapter I was in love with Hobb's writing. I had read the Farseer Trilogy, so I already knew Hobb could write and deliver a 5 star read.

This book was way beyond 5 stars.

The prose is exquisitely beautiful while never feeling like purple prose or overwriting. Hobb writes in a way that completely s
James Tivendale
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The Liveship Traders is the second trilogy in Robin Hobb's The Realm of the Elderlings saga. After a couple of false starts, I ended up loving The Farseer Trilogy. I adored the tale of The Fitz and the Fool so much that I carried on following their narrative, probably incorrectly as this chronologically is set before those events. I read The Tawny Man trilogy next and I don't imagine that I am the only person who has followed this route. I was then ready to jump straight into the final The Fitz ...more
Deborah Obida
The man who worries about what will next be happening to him loses this moment in dread of the next, and poisons the next with pre-judgement.

If there was ever a book that exceeded my expectations due to its uniqueness its this book, this book is one of those books you didn't know you needed till you read it. There is a praise by The Times written on the cover of this book As addictive as morphine, and I couldn't agree more.

I know its wrong to compare but I just cannot help myself, this book
colleen the convivial curmudgeon

I'm about 75% through with this book, and I'm finding it frustrating.

As others have said, it's very much a character-based book, and I can dig character-based books if I like the characters, but I'm having a hard time really latching onto anyone that I don't want to smack upside the head.

Actually, no, I do like some characters (Brashen and Paragon, for instance) - but the ones I do like we don't seem to spend enough time with, while we spend far too much time with the likes of Kyle and
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was a huge fan of Robin Hobb ever since I read her story Homecoming in Epic.

And while I loved her Farseer series, this has surpassed those as my favorite books.

Vivacia is a liveship, a boat made of wizardwood, that after three deaths of family members on board comes to life. Liveships are the only ships that can make the journey up the river to the Rain Wilds in order to do trade, and are extremely valuable.

This book follows several points of view, including a pirate named Kennit, Althea the
Kitty G Books
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-sff-faves
This book was fabulous! I read it as a part of the #TBRTakedown Readathon and as a Buddy Read. It's a little bit on the slow side for sure, but actually it's a very interesting story and the characterisation and development of this was seriously fantastic. It's a slow story which is made up mostly from the introduction of various characters (mostly Traders) and developing our understanding of them and their ways. It's set in a different part of the world from the Farseer Books and it's set on th ...more
A very, very character-driven book. It reads almost like a classical family drama ala The Buddenbrocks. Despite the plot being rather on the back-burner I pretty much enjoyed all the characters and their development.
Maybe not a book for everyone, due to its slow pace but I really enjoyed it, which was surprising, cause I normally prefer plot heavy books.
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It started slow for me until I realized that nothing much was going to happen until the extended family all had their say.

That being said, the plot started weaving and the world started blooming. So many bad things started happening to everyone so slowly that I wondered if I, too, was slowly being boiled alive.

That's the effect this novel had on me. It's very long, and its very detailed. If you like immersive fantasy and especially nautical fantasy, then you'll love this.

Edit 7/5/16

Looking back
Maisha  Farzana (on hiatus)
“One must plan for the future and anticipate the future without fearing the future.”

“As long as you believe it is impossible, you close your mind to understanding it.”

Pirates, talking ships, magic, mythical creatures, wonderful characterization and a brilliantly plotted storyline - "Ship of Magic" is a slow paced character-driven story that blew my mind away. I, now, sincerely regret my decision of giving up on this author earlier in 2021. However, I am enthusiastically back to complete what
Victoria Rose
JEEBUS I love you Robin ❤️ Full review to come when I have the time to flail properly!

Reasons to love Ship of Magic:
+ Talking ships
+ Mean, handsome pirate captain who sets his skin on fire for angst reasons
+ Almost cried 20% in
+ Character development like a boss
I just cannot COMPREHEND how Hobb is able to make each and every character so multi-faceted?! Like even vile Kyle is doing what he thinks is right.
Mar 11, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2022-faves
I did not want to put this book down! The way Hobb excels at every element of her craft is just stunning. World-building, intricate plotting and revelations, deep characterization of characters who make you want to cheer, cry, rage, or pull your hair out, beautiful prose....everything you could want really. I'm usually a hard sell on books set at sea but this completely swept me away, immersed me in this world of sentient ships, creepy sea serpents, pirates, magic, toxic patriarchy, dumb young t ...more
2.5 stars

Not as good as the Fitz books, mainly because bar a few characters there was hardly anyone to properly root for or to even feel mildly connected to. There were way too many characters and POVs, and it felt like ages before things really kicked off, it was a really slow start.

Pretty much everyone was unlikeable, even the characters that were meant to be likeable were mostly unlikeable. And they were quite a few boring characters as well, mainly Wintrow, Althea and Brashen.. they did get
Amy | littledevonnook
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
I think this could be the one of the best fantasy books I've read so far this year - I can't wait to see what the rest of this trilogy holds!

This series is set in the same world at the Farseer Trilogy and so far I am enjoying it a lot more! Unlike the Farseer books The Liveship Traders follows a larger group of characters - from land to sea we are given a whole host of exciting people to share adventures with.

One of our main characters is a young lady named Althea. She lives aboard her families
Jake Bishop
Ship of Magic takes everything I loved about The Farseer trilogy, and ramps it up to 11, somehow Hobbs writing shines even brighter in this expanded setting and PoV.

To start I am going to preface this with things that may cause you to not enjoy this book as much as me. None of these things are cons, more just the style of book it is. Be warned if you want a fantasy book with action, this is not the book for you. There are maybe 2 or 3 action scenes in the entire book, and the first one is more t
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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

Other books in the series

The Liveship Traders (3 books)
  • The Mad Ship (Liveship Traders, #2)
  • Ship of Destiny (Liveship Traders, #3)

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