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2016 - ARCHIVED > Ship of Magic - Chapter 31 - End

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message 1: by Geetha (new)

Geetha | 3 comments Absolutely loved it! i can't wait to start the second one. As many people have noted earlier this one is much much better than the Farseer trilogy. The multiple POVs make the book an earlier read than only having one character's narrative throughout. I love the character arcs that this book has. In the Farseer series, I felt like the character arc was not as quick or sophisticated as in this one.

Almost all of the characters here are coming-of-age in their own way. All of them need to find themselves in a newer reality and adapt to it, including the ship Vivacia.

The best thing about Hobb's magic systems are how really they feel, how wary people are of them. There is always a cost associated with anything magical. Be it the cost to quicken a live ship or the cost of trading with magic in Rain Wild or Amber's form of magic. Nothing comes for free and nothing is easy. You always pay something to get some form of magic.

In short I am loving it!! And I am glad I stuck through Farseer to read this trilogy - based on your review of Hobb's book Sam. Thanks!


message 2: by Amy (new)

Amy Richey Enjoyed this much more than Farseer Trilogy.

The liveships are probably my favorite characters.

Malta is such a brat and I think I'd have sold her to the Rainwild family if I were her mom lol.

I'm really excited to find out the mystery of the serpents and how they fit in with Vivacia. I think they were dragons but I'm not completely sure either


message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 52 comments I loved this book and at the same time I now feelreally frustrated and emotionaly drained. It seems to me like the whole book was just a series of tragedies and bad decisions.

In some ways Vivacoty and Malta have a lot of character traits in common and at the same time Vivacity' cruelty and pettyness is excusable by what she had to go through. I don't think it shpuld be that way and I definitely like Vivacity a lot less now at the ending.

Kyle of course didn't die. Sadly.

I was impressed in the way Wintrow stepped up in the end. He really found his confidence and I hope it is in time to still keep Vivacity away from Kennit.

I felt like the last chapters pf this book asked the question where the fault lies and what excuses people will make to not be the ones responsible for horrible things. Gantry and Wintrow showed this the best. Gantry removes himself from responsibility by saing that he's not the one to make decisions on the ship, something that has enabled a lot of horrible stuff in history. Wintrow, on the other hand, struggles with the question, whetzer or not he is responsible for the deaths of the sailors, even though he didn't personally kill them.

Malta is still annoying and I want her gone. I don't want her to marry into the Rain Wilds because it scares me what she might be able to do. She might destroy their respect for the Vestrits, which she has kind of already started. She just always refuses to see the cosequences to her actions.

Basically the only character I still truly like is Althea and finally everything seems to be going well for her.

The serpents and liveships seem to have some kind of connection and I'm sure the answer to that is the answer to what wizardwood is. I am also stull certain that there is a connection between serpents and dragons because they appeared a lot toghether. Wintrow's stained glass window, Amber's earrings as well I think.

All in all I liked this book a lot better than the Farseer ones.


message 4: by John (last edited Jul 17, 2016 07:48PM) (new)

John | 219 comments Why did Wintrow and Gantry try to bring that dying slave to the deck of the ship, when it was completely obvious that unlocking a central communal chain to do this might free several slaves at once and trigger a jailbreak ( which in this case led to a mutiny and got nearly all of Wintrow's crewmates killed, including Gantry)?

The fact that Wintrow and Gantry and nearly all the sailors aboard were becoming heartsick and disgusted with the degradation and suffering of the slaves; and having to treat them like animals just to preserve their personal safety, it's likely they wanted just to express one gesture of human decency in allowing at least one person a measure of dignity at so near death.

But what probably compromised their own sense of self-preservation and common sense, was Vivacia and the overwhelming sadness and despondency she absorbed from the slaves in their holds. Because of their bond, Wintrow's mind was unsettled by her feelings as well. This emotional distress left her in a state of extreme agitation to the point of wild unpredictability in how she sailed( especially worsening because of a storm bearing down on them).

She, in fact, personally entreated to Gantry on Wintrow's behalf to go retrieve that slave, which persuaded Gantry that Vivacia might settle down if he did so.

Their judgment so affected by her emotional state, Wintrow and Gantry failed to think practically and acted in haste, to a bloody result.


message 5: by John (last edited Jul 18, 2016 06:33PM) (new)

John | 219 comments Ship of Magic is the best Robin Hobb novel we have read so far!

What is has over Assassin's Apprentice and Royal Assassin is the choice of third person narration, which leaves the author freedom to switch storylines between different characters in different locales if one story plays out or gets stale.

If Fitz's storyline in the Farseer trilogy paints itself into a corner, then because of the use of first person narration, the reader is also trapped in Fitz's perspective, and the narrative tends to spin it's wheels until the author can work out a solution( this is what happened so often in Assassin's Quest).

Also because of third person narrative, Ship of Magic can develop several more characters, which plays to Hobb's strength in creating character arcs.


Of the characters: I like Althea, but she starts out so callow and immature that it takes her awhile to be deserving of respect.

Brashen seems more solid than her early, but he may have clay feet.

Kyle is way more despicable than Regal, but he's even more self-destructive, and ultimately less potentially dangerous than the more charming Kennit( whose plotline should have been more interesting but petered out and left him without much to do until the obligatory capture of the Vivacia).

Wintrow has the most compelling storyline in the book, but like Fitz he often feels like damaged goods and you wonder if he'll ever get his life back.

Ronica was my least favorite character in the book early, but now I think her plight in dealing with the Rain Wild Traders and Malta and Keffria is the most psychologically interesting in the book.

I've compared Paragon's scenes with Ourtown, but at other times it also reminds me of the island of misfit toys from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, or even Waiting for Godot, as he seems stuck seemingly for eternity, with no prospect for relief.

The storylines seem like they are coming together nicely for Mad Ship, but I wish they had fixed Kennit's leg before ending things here.


message 6: by Abner (last edited Jul 20, 2016 04:45AM) (new)

Abner | 90 comments First of all,I don't know if I don't understand this or it's not clear yet, She who remembers should be another serpent but instead is the Vivacia, tha's why Maulkin is confused and doesn't know what to do? I figured this when he said "Food that she doesn't want" which i guess is the slaves they throw overboard? Also when Maulkin touched and connected with Vivacia she says is not Vivacia and she doesn't belong to the Vestrids this makes this whole ordeal of the live ships incredibly complicated (this is a good thing, not complaining).
I never understood why do families go into debt for generations just so they can trade in Rain Wild goods, these ships must be more special than that, maybe is a secret that only the ships and their captain know about.

I like how the ships are willing to go on strike to prevent what happened to Paragon to happen to any other live-ship.
So Kennit gained control of the Vivacia, this was my exact prediction from the beginning, (check my earlier comments). Now the second book is goonna be Althea trying to get her back and finally having her, even if it was an pirate act, but let's see how this pans out.

All in all the book was enjoyable for the most part, it also had a lot of setting up and what seems like pointless chapters (aka Malta), but I can easily see how they will become an important part of the trilogy as a whole, this still doesn't make them un-boring butt it may be worth it at the end. Still I like the Farseer trilogy better (for now).

List of observations on amber (ever-growing):
1. She wants to guide Althea on her fate.
2. Shes not from Bingtown.
3. She is a master wood worker/carver.
4. She has honey skin and golden eyes.
5. Amber is not her real name, so we are dealing with someone who changed her identity.
6. Amber was an actress .
7. She says "my curiosity has always been greater than my wisdom" that brings back memories of someone...
8. She wears gloves, all the time.

(I don't wanna say more, so I don't stir everyone's observations on her)


Kailey (Luminous Libro) (luminouslibro) | 3 comments My overall thoughts on the book...
Pirates, sea serpents, and magical ships that talk; what more could you ask for?!
Robin Hobb has such amazing character development, and her plots always surprise me. I never know what direction the story is going to go next!

Although the narrative bounces between about 7 different characters' storylines and perspectives, to my mind, the main characters are Althea and Wintrow. The only character that I completely love is Wintrow. Everyone else annoys me just a tiny bit, but that is part of their reality, what makes them such true and complex people!

Althea gets on my nerves a little. She's not so quick with the thought processes because she's swept along on this wave of emotion. Why doesn't she just ask for help?! But I suppose that's where her development as a person will come in. I DO admire her courage and determination though. She is purposeful and full of energy, but not always sure where to direct that energy.

Wintrow is a soul after my own heart! Sensitive and caring, generous and kind, with a heart that cannot bear any sort of cruelty, he reminds me of myself a lot. I've never understood why practical jokes are funny to some people; they just seem cruel to me, and Wintrow is the same way. He's also a very introspective, spiritual, and analytical person. He looks at the world around him, and asks, "Why is it that way?"
He analyzes people, and finds it difficult to understand why people deny the goodness inside of themselves and choose to do evil. He himself is such a good-hearted person, without an evil thought in his head, that he cannot comprehend the wickedness and stupidity of the world around him.
I love this kid, and seeing him deal with the difficult circumstances he is placed into was so hard to read about! His attempts to be accepted by people with whom he has nothing in common, his gradual loss of childish innocence, his frustration at never being understood or taken seriously, and his constant stretching to find spiritual truth; all these reflect my own life journey, so of course I related to Wintrow's story very closely!

There's a lot of suffering in this book. The poor characters get one shining moment of beauty and then it is snatched away from them and it's back to the suffering. Emotional suffering, physical suffering, mental suffering... It's all there in exquisitely painful detail, and so well written that I FEEL their struggles and their stress and frustration! And then when that next shining moment of contentment happens, I also feel their relief and joy. Brilliant writing. It really drags you in!

Robin Hobb really has a talent for writing horrible villains that get under your skin. Kyle is a truly awful villain because his evil is so subtle. At first he's emotionally abusive and manipulative, and then he moves on to domestic abuse and worse. He's spiteful and vindictive, and his wickedness actually has it's own mad reasoning behind it that makes sense to him. Kyle truly believes (or has deceived himself into believing) that he's doing what is best for his family. But actually he's just a petty bully who wants to control everyone's lives, and be the big man on top. You can't reason with him or explain to him that his way is wrong, because his view of reality is utterly distorted to his own foolish desires. He's unreasonable, petty, and stupid. He makes me so frustrated!! Excellent writing to make me feel so strongly about this villain that I want to jump into the book and punch his ugly face!

The best part of the writing is the reactions of his family to Kyle's increasing abuse. They are confused and doubting the truth of their experiences because he has twisted the truth so much. They're shocked and paralyzed in a way, unsure what to do. This is EXACTLY the way that real abuse makes people feel. This was difficult to read because it so perfectly mirrors a real abusive situation.

The story switches perspectives between 7 or 8 different characters. Usually I hate it when the POV changes, but since the story is told in 3rd person by an all-knowing narrator, then it's not quite so jarring to switch storylines all the time. I wish it didn't switch so often though. It IS always clear who the POV is though, and with so many characters, that is a must.

Another thing that I did not like was the sex and drugs. Farseer trilogy did not have so much of all that, but I guess this is a story about sailors, so there's more of it. I could've done without any of that nonsense.

The book could have been about 200 pages shorter, I think. The story is wonderful, but there are bits where there's just so much detail, and we have to go into every single characters' thoughts and motivations and wishes and dreams and on and on. I mean, I love to have some character detail that shows their development, but seriously... not EVERY character in EVERY scene!
(In Farseer, this was kept in check b/c we only had Fitz's perspective and perception of other characters thoughts and motivations.)


message 8: by John (last edited Jul 20, 2016 03:13PM) (new)

John | 219 comments Abner wrote: "First of all,I don't know if I don't understand this or it's not clear yet, She who remembers should be another serpent but instead is the Vivacia, tha's why Maulkin is confused and doesn't know wh..."

The thing about Rain Wild goods is that they're magic; and as such are premium trade material in this world. It's the most commercially desirable and lucrative cargo to have( the fact that Ephron Vestrit eventually came to believe that there is something wrong with this magic( and so quit trading in it), is still a minority opinion and not widely held among other traders or consumers), and a trader could get rich off of it.

But a regular ship cannot go on the Rain Wild river without the acid waters eating up their hull; a liveship made of wizardwood is not vulnerable to this toxic bath.

Also, liveships have the ability to navigate the River Wild river by themselves(even before the ship quickens), so navigational maps aren't necessary( which Kyle didn't understand).

Finally, a liveship can maneuver and take advantage of wind and water conditions with an efficiency that is completely superior to ordinary human guided ships, so they're almost piracy proof( unless for instance a mutiny is taking place on board!).


message 9: by John (new)

John | 219 comments Kailey wrote: "My overall thoughts on the book...
Pirates, sea serpents, and magical ships that talk; what more could you ask for?!
Robin Hobb has such amazing character development, and her plots always surprise..."


Yes, absolutely Kailey. Likewise, Wintrow is also the character I most identify with in this trilogy! Even when he makes mistakes, I keep thinking that he is making the same mistakes that I would.LOL.

The thing about Althea asking for help is, that's exactly what she cannot do. In a male dominated profession like sailing, that would be taken as a weakness, a sign that she can't be strong and independent; that's why her time on the Reaper was so important in her development.

I think one of the reasons everyone was in denial about Kyle in chapter 10 is that he apparently kept his true nature in check for the nearly 15 years he had been married to Keffria, until the will changed the balance of power in his favor; now, with Ephron gone, his base hostility can't be checked.


message 10: by Amy (new)

Amy Welham Well that was amazing. Absolutely loved it. I cannot wait to move on to the next book to see what happens between Wintrow, Vivacia and Kennit.
So many great characters but I think Wintrow is my favourite so far.


message 11: by John (new)

John | 219 comments Amy wrote: "Well that was amazing. Absolutely loved it. I cannot wait to move on to the next book to see what happens between Wintrow, Vivacia and Kennit.
So many great characters but I think Wintrow is my fav..."


Yes, Amy! GO TEAM WINTROW!


message 12: by Anita Reads (new)

Anita Reads | 22 comments Finally got around to finish this one. That was an awesome conclusion to this book. I can't wait to see where this goes in the next book. My favorite characters are the live ships. I also really like Althea and Brashen. Amber is a super interesting character as well.

but then there are also several characters that I really don't like at all.
I have heard that opinions about some of them might change during 'Mad Ship'. I'm planning on starting on that book, maybe even tonight. This time I'll read it however in stead of the audio. It takes a lot more time to get through it with the audios.


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