Hobb-A-Long Read-A-Long discussion

The Mad Ship (Liveship Traders, #2)
This topic is about The Mad Ship
note: This topic has been closed to new comments.
41 views
2016 - ARCHIVED > The Mad Ship -Chapter 16-20

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Sarah | 52 comments I love the parallels that are drawn between Malta and Althea. Earlier in the book Althea said that she can't desire a man who askes he before a kiss and no Malta also complains about Cerwin in much the same way. And again I am astounded how selective she is in the things she notices. She sees everything about Brashen and Althea and at the same time she manages to just completely ignore everything that doesn't fit her view of the world.

I also like Malta more and more. The ast few chapters proved that she can be sensible and at the same time I still think that she is just as egotistical if her father isn't involved. I was shocked that Keffira actually told her that Kyle isn't worth throwing away her life. I feel like Keffira was just the weaker one all her life and was never given the opportunity to develop a true sense of self so now she is practically helpless when it comes to standing up for herself (or her family). Althea on the other hand has had the freedom to be herself from the start and after the last book she now showes that she can grow even more when times are difficult. This book (and series) definitely have some "feminist" vibes. especially when it comes to the conversations between Althea and Amber. That is probably the part I enjoy the most. Althea owning up for her desires and accepting that she played as much of a part as Brashen in the time they spent together.

Taking the Paragon to find Vivacia is an interesting idea and I honestly didn't think that the story would go in this direction. I really want to know if Amber is going to restore Paragons sight.

Davad annoys me to no end and I really don't think that he deserves the Vestrits' loyalty, he might have helped them buy the Paragon but I don't think he would turn around and stab them in the back if that helped him.

The struggle between Kennit and Wintrow is so tense. I think Kennit does think fondly of Wintrow but in that last chapter he talked about killing him if he isn't useful.

I hope Kyle stays in that cellar chained, it's what he deserves.


message 2: by John (last edited Aug 03, 2016 07:27AM) (new)

John | 219 comments Right about Chapters 15&16 is where I started feeling a little disconnected with the story, mainly because it feels the demands of the plot are overwhelming the integrity of character development.

Specifically it looks like the author is trying to quickly accelerate the moral and developmental maturity of Malta so she can become almost a second Althea and play the heroine's role in other storylines while Althea herself can continue to pursue regaining the Vivacia. Simultaneously, the author seems to want to promote Malta as being emotionally grown-up enough to make important life decisions about marriage and sacrifice as well.

But Malta's character arc is so firmly entrenched in her being a very immature thirteen-year old, who is a selfish, willful and hostile "Bad Seed" sort of character that it seems false to suggest that the news about her father's fate is going to be sufficient to turn her around 180 degrees from being basically a minor villain in the story.

If one wanted Malta to become more sensible, cooperative and compassionate, how can she accomplish this without dishonoring her father and becoming a mature and socially responsible woman that he would naturally despise; especially as Kyle, by word and example has taught her to be calculating, arrogant, unfeeling and domineering of others?

Doesn't this most likely lead to confusion and bewilderment in an adolescent; and a need for painstaking self-examination, which wouldn't come quickly or easily to a thirteen-year old, and might take many months or years( and not just a matter of weeks over the summer, which is what we are asked to believe here)?

Trying to speed up Malta's transformation into a mature, responsible person in short order feels like inconsistent character development, as we get a nasty, petulant Malta acting like a five- year old in one section, and speaking like a full adult in other passages in the same chapter. She starts to sound so differently that I can't reconcile the character being represented as being Malta.

It's like changing the label of a bottle of wine; the wine doesn't taste like what the label says it is. This amounts to being like a personality transplant, in that it just doesn't feel like the authentic Malta, and I am having trouble suspending disbelief.


message 3: by John (new)

John | 219 comments What exactly does Kennit accomplish by marooning these particular four people and killing Sa'Adar in Chapter 17? I think that first of all Ankle is crippled and apparently brain damaged ;and to the amoral Kennit would be a pitiable nuisance on board a pirate ship; Dedge and Saylah the ex-slave couple can look after Kennit's aging mother, and have children there(again, another distraction to Kyle he'd as soon avoid).

Kennit would know full well that Sa'Adar would balk at being marooned on that island, and cleverly contrived a situation where Sa'Adar would tire himself out rowing and thus be an easier target for Kennit's treachery(the whole idea of getting Sa'Adar and the two slaves to disembark on the pretext of seeing "justice" done to Kyle was clever, particularly doing it at night while Wintrow slept and who wouldn't know his father was missing till afterwards).

Sa'Adar had been demanding on principle that Vivacia belonged to the ex-slaves and wouldn't relent, so he represented a serious threat to mutiny had Kennit allowed him to remain( but he had to be killed and not just marooned so he wouldn't attempt to harm Kennit's mother or Kyle).

And even though Wintrow didn't get along with Sa'Adar(because Sa'Adar somehow tolerated a predisposition to violence and retribution within his interpretation of Sa's teachings; something Wintrow found perverse), Kennit probably didn't want Wintrow swayed in the slightest by someone who had such a similar religious background to Wintrow; that might interfere with persuading Wintrow to see Kennit as "a tool of Sa".

Finally, as long as Kyle remained on board, Wintrow, for all the hatred he had for him, would always explore avenues for the two of them to escape; removing him to an island ensures that Wintrow will not attempt to escape by himself, fearing that Kennit will exact revenge on his father. This helps secure Wintrow to service on the ship, as Kennit needs a Vestrit on board to help keep Vivacia emotionally stable.


message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 06, 2016 07:44PM) (new)

I'm trying to come to grips with how I feel about this book right now. I feel like so much is happening and it's a lot to take in. I'm enjoying the storyline of Althea returning home and the Vestrit family trying to work out their problems. I love all of the strong personalities in the Vestrit women. Even Keffria is starting to come into her own. I feel as though I've connected with each of the characters and I'm enjoying almost everyone's storyline.

However, I think the plot is moving a bit slower than is necessary. There is so much subtlety to the story right now that it's verging on boring. This is a fantasy series, but I feel the heavy-handed focus on each of the characters' agendas is bogging the story down and turning it into literary fiction.

Is all of this excessive detail about Paragon's personality really necessary? I feel like we've quite gotten the point that he is conflicted, lonely, and confused. Why does Hobb keep belaboring the point? Also, what was the point of the whole scene with Kennit's mother and the island? Why are we backtracking with Wintrow and Vivacia's relationship? Why are they at odds once again?

There seems to be a lot of repetitiveness with certain plot points and I wish we could move forward with the story a bit more swiftly. I am hungry to know what Paragon is going to accomplish in this series. I also want to know who Malta is going to pledge herself to. There are so many loose strings that are dragging along and I want to get on with it already!

I thought Wintrow had learned a valuable lesson from Etta regarding resisting his life. When will he stop this over-the-top self-righteous behavior? When will he accept his surroundings so he can actually make something happen? I predicted early on that WIntrow would become the Fitz of this series, and I think I'm right. He is so caught up in an unrealistic idea of right and wrong as black and white that he can't get out of his own way.

I'm actually on Chapter 22 as I write this and I can see some of the plots starting to pick up steam again. I'm hoping we can get back to more action soon and bring more of the fantasy elements back into the storyline.


message 5: by John (last edited Aug 07, 2016 09:18AM) (new)

John | 219 comments FrankieReads wrote: "I'm trying to come to grips with how I feel about this book right now. I feel like so much is happening and it's a lot to take in. I'm enjoying the storyline of Althea returning home and the Vestri..."

The re-emphasis on Paragon is there because Brashen and Amber are actually talking about taking that PTSD-ridden, borderline psychotic liveship back on the water with a full crew, and considering Paragon's track record with past voyages, just imagine how this might turn out!

Wintrow's new problem with Vivacia is she has gone head over heels in infatuation with Kennit, while Wintrow is still very skeptical of the motives behind Kennit's altruistic endeavor's.

These chapters are going a little slow because Hobb is setting the table for everything to be upset later. All hell is going to break loose in the later chapters of the book, and there is going to be the most spectacular action sequences that we have seen in any of the Hobb books so far - and I mean several of them, one right after the other, in different settings and situations. You won't want to make time to breathe or go to the bathroom! LOL


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

John wrote: "FrankieReads wrote: "I'm trying to come to grips with how I feel about this book right now. I feel like so much is happening and it's a lot to take in. I'm enjoying the storyline of Althea returnin..."

OK AWESOME!!! This is good to know. I have been loving The Liveship Traders series so much, so it was a little rough to hit a dry patch in The Mad Ship. But I'm glad to know the action is going to pick up soon!


Abner | 90 comments I really hate Malta for now, but I see that at least shes trying to help, if only to try and safe her father, not for the sake of their family, it seems to me that Althea is the same, she will do anything to get Vivacia back and not necessarily is trying to help for the sake of the family. It reminds me of a saying from my childhood, "todo el mundo jalando pa su lao" which means "everybody pulling to their side".

Getting to see Kennit's mom was unexpected, but I guess it was a good place to put Kyle since no one knows about this island. I'm not sure if Vivacia is really gullible or if she believes Kennit is saying 100% truth, maybe she can know if hes lying or not, that's why she is starting to believes in his cause.

When the priest didn't want to stay I knew Kennit would kill him, he gave him an order he disobeyed even if the priest said he was a free man when it comes to Kennit he doesn't give a tiny rat's ass, the priest wanted to be a free man well he dies a free man.

Although I understand Althea's intention in the council, the way she said it sounded so selfish "I need a ship and money to go get MY ship from the pirates" if she explained the situation better and asked and pleaded instead of demanded she maybe had convinced some more people.

Man, every chapter I hate Althea more, she wants to be at the front of everything even if she is far less capable than the people offering her help, sorry but you cant be the super hero all the time, Brashen is a lot more fitted to be the captain and everybody but Althea knows this, she will have her moments in the future but right now she is not the right person. Besides she is too emotionally invested in this and prone to make rash decisions and this is a search and rescue mission that involves a hostile enemy (more than one if you count Vivacia and the Marietta), and i highly doubt that Althea has much experience in ship to ship battle exerience


message 8: by John (new)

John | 219 comments Abner wrote: "I really hate Malta for now, but I see that at least shes trying to help, if only to try and safe her father, not for the sake of their family, it seems to me that Althea is the same, she will do a..."

You're right, Abner! Althea blew it by diverting from the original discussion on Bingtown's complaints with the Satrap, and selfishly asking for money and a ship to go after what she considers to be her liveship( That probably should have been requested in a quiet, dignified manner by Keffria, the ship's actual owner, who might have gained the sympathy of the room by also mentioning her fears for the safety of her husband and son; then Althea could speak on behalf of the Teniras and Ophelia).

Keffria was certainly still angry in the next chapter about how Althea had spoken.


Michelle (topaz6) | 26 comments Samantha wrote: "Abner wrote: "I really hate Malta for now, but I see that at least shes trying to help, if only to try and safe her father, not for the sake of their family, it seems to me that Althea is the same,..."

Samantha, I noticed the same thing about Brashen. He seemed to automatically assume that Althea needed his protection and influence, whereas that was actually the opposite of what Althea wanted!


Abner | 90 comments Michelle wrote: "Samantha wrote: "Abner wrote: "I really hate Malta for now, but I see that at least shes trying to help, if only to try and safe her father, not for the sake of their family, it seems to me that Al..."

Totally true, but remember this is a world that has become patriarchal in nature and protecting the women only seems the right thing to do and Brashen (good intention-ed) can't fathom anything else, even if Althea didn't needed it, but after the Reaper trip I think he sees her more of a stronger woman than he though and she also has grown stronger.

I think Brashen felt a little sense of responsibility because Ephron asked him to watch over her and help her in the times to come, so it's a mix of things.

I say all of this because I like how Hobb interprets and presents a patriarchal society in a fantasy setting and how this would work. Specially since patriarchy was gradually introduced in this society and I think she really wanted us to grasp the effects of this type of society.


message 11: by Abner (last edited Aug 12, 2016 08:23AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Abner | 90 comments Samantha wrote: "Oh I totally agree! And that is why Brashen has that sense of duty to Althea....well that and the fact that he fancies her ;)

I was just saying: I don't think Althea is incompetent. I think she is..."


Totally, she could be a great captain, at the beginning of the trilogy hell no, she was being thrown around like a rag doll on deck, but after she got some experience on the reaper and Ophelia, she could totally nail the captain role on Paragon, specially since she seems to have a connection with liveships, far better than Brashen imo. She is very willful and will find a way to succeed in w/e she wants, at this point if she stays with Brashen I'm guessing she will captain the Vivacia with Brashen as 1st mate (IF we get a happy ending) which I'm hoping for.


back to top
This topic has been frozen by the moderator. No new comments can be posted.