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Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders, #1)
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2016 - ARCHIVED > Ship of Magic - Prologue - Chapter 4

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message 1: by John (last edited Jul 03, 2016 12:47PM) (new)

John | 219 comments There was a couple of things that stood out immediately for me in Ship of Magic.

One, this book is much higher on the continuum of high fantasy than The Farseer trilogy. That series often reads like historical fiction because the main magic systems we encounter there( the Skill and the Wit) are often not visible or not manifestly obvious to onlookers unless they see the tell tale signs of overly coordinated behavior between human and beast, for instance; or perhaps see or experience repelling.

In this setting, though, and even more obvious because of the switch to third person omniscient narration, we now get telepathic and intelligent serpents; fish-man like creatures that oversee a beach that mysteriously attracts valuable trinkets and bricbrac from the ocean; and wizardword jewelry and liveships that are matter-of-factly accepted magical objects.

Two, religiosity is more obviously a factor in this geographical area than we saw in Farseer, which deserves its own comment.

Among the characters we are introduced to:

Kennit, a completely amoral pirate who scruples at nothing where his own desires are concerned; Wintrow, a very conscientious and mature young teenager training as a priest at a monastery; his barely older aunt, Althea, who may be the main protagonist: a tomboyish free spirit who is impulsive and spoiled, a complex heroine that sort of combines Fitz and Molly from the Farseers into one character;and Kyle, her brother-in-law, who is vicious and mean-spirited, and her rival for the Vivacia, the soon-to-be liveship.

Kyle is closest to Regal in temperament; Kennit is more cool and calculating; it's not so clear who will be a bigger villain yet.

This area of the world doesn't feel very much like the medieval one of the Farseers though it takes place just a few years after AQ. It seems more like anywhere from the Renaissance to the New England whaling period of the 19th century.

Abner | 90 comments So, right away it feels a lot different than the Farseer trilogy, with a vast cast of characters and a different tone as is not in first person (and past tense).

Kennit is presented as the ruthless pirate, who would kill a man just to keep him from speaking of the charm he carved for him. I'm still trying to understand the concept of the charm and how it "quickens", I'm sure this will be explained later. But we also get to see the other side Kennit, he is depressed and he has a lot of self hatred. I though the making and burning of the tattoos was cool, shows that he is kind of a superstitious guy. Also those artifacts found on the beach where not made by humans and not for human use then from who and for who??

I see that Hobb explores the role of women i this society, in the old times they where free to do whatever they wanted and not be looked down upon, but is guess the society around Bingtown has gotten a lot more patriarchal.

I really think that sea serpents used to be human, could they have been carved like Verity's dragons?

Althea seems to be getting weaker like the Vivacia is sucking the live out of her, she goes into daydreaming and she lost weight.
When her Ephron dies there's gonna be a cluster f**k and I think she won't be in the Vivacia is anymore and Wintrow will.

All in all I'm enjoying the number of characters as I come from ASOIAF and I like books like this.

message 3: by John (last edited Jul 03, 2016 01:45PM) (new)

John | 219 comments It's obvious from the start that religion is going to play a larger part in this book than in the Farseers trilogy. Winslow, a major character, is a priest in training at a monastery that espouses the theology of Sa, a religious figure that is often mentioned in the first several chapters of this book, both piously and blasphemously; at any rate probably spoken about more in the first four chapters than El and Eda are ever mentioned in the entirety of the Farseers.

In that part of the world(which is more or less contemporaneous with the Liveship Traders trilogy), the Farseers deities of El and Eda seem to be merely mythological figures that inspire no priestly class; no churches or major religious practices, and seem to be there to give lip service to the Six Duchies having some sort of half-hearted token religion at all.

This is problematic as it doesn't seem likely that a medieval type of society( that in real life history had widespread, pervasive religiosity, through and through) could conceivably arise with such a tenuous religious sensibility being nowhere seen when both major decisions are made( like king's counsels with archbishops, for instance) and when simple prayers are performed in every day settings. The concept of chivalry( not the character) probably has its roots in Judeo-Christian ethics and probably couldn't have arisen as a purely secular practice.

It's a pretty significant gap in the world building of the Farseers, not to have this stronger religious-based moral-ethical infrastructure; and I think the author came to realize some necessity of giving the Liveship Traders a larger presence of religiosity to better realistically portray the moral and social lives of people in this fictional but somewhat historically inspired society.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Just as Abner already said, I see a HUGE difference in the writing style of this book and I am enjoying it so much.

First, I love that we have differing points of views. Specifically, that we have a POV from a "bad guy" (Kennit). Villains are my favorite thing because they're often so interesting! So far, Kennit is already one of the most gripping characters I've seen from Hobb.

I'm enjoying the concept of the liveships. This brand of magic is so different from anything I've ever read and I'm really looking forward to seeing how the awareness and personality of liveships influence the lives of our main characters.

I like the idea of Althea, her family and their connection to Vivacia. There's clearly some tension there and I love the father/daughter relationship between Althea and Ephron. I enjoyed the way Hobb describes how her relationship with her father is shaped by her interest in sailing.

As I'm typing this, I've already read through to Chapter 12 because I cannot stop reading this book. I'm compulsively drawn to it. This is Hobb writing I've been waiting for.

Michelle (topaz6) | 26 comments I love the characters we've met so far! I really hope Kyle doesn't turn out to be another Regal figure, and I want to see more of Kennit's character! The whole concept of the liveship is fascinating!

Lisa Evans | 2 comments As much as I truly enjoy Fitz and the Fool characters, the writing style of The Ship books is to me so much more developed. I love the multiple points of view. I love how the story reads like a history of the area and the people who are a part of this world. I am really enjoying the story so far, and I can't wait to see how it all unfolds.

message 7: by John (new)

John | 219 comments Lisa wrote: "As much as I truly enjoy Fitz and the Fool characters, the writing style of The Ship books is to me so much more developed. I love the multiple points of view. I love how the story reads like a his..."

The multiple storylines kind of mimics the benefit a lot of people get from reading multiple books at once; it keeps the individual story arcs from getting stale or losing momentum.

message 8: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy Welham I am so far behind in my reading of this book but I am enjoying it when I pick it up. I'm not sure if I prefer this writing style of that used in the Farseer trilogy though. Characters like Althea and Kennit I want to read more about but the chapter on Ronica was just something I had to get through to get to the next kennit chapter.
But this book seems to have a much wider scope so I guess that is the approach that's needed.

message 9: by John (last edited Jul 19, 2016 12:50PM) (new)

John | 219 comments Amy wrote: "I am so far behind in my reading of this book but I am enjoying it when I pick it up. I'm not sure if I prefer this writing style of that used in the Farseer trilogy though. Characters like Althea ..."

I'll admit I didn't care much for Ronica early in the book, but she's grown on me. I like the fact that she is a contrast to Althea's impulsiveness, and always conscientiously and deliberately tries to do the right thing. Her chapters dealing with the Rain Wild Traders and members of her own family, though very dialogue-driven, are psychologically very interesting!

Anita Reads | 22 comments I'm so far behind, but finally working actively on this one. I had to get used to the multiple point of views having become used to only seeing the farseer trilogy from Fitz' perspective. I am really starting to enjoy it, since I'm starting to understand the characters a little bit. I'm very interested to see where this is going.

As mostly every one else. This book reads a little faster than Farseer trilogy. I guess because of the changing of point of views.

I'm currently shifting between the audio and ebook of this book, and this trilogy has a new narrator. I'm not sure I'm completely hooked on her, she's definitely very different from the farseer one.

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