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Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

Ship of Magic (original 1998; edition 2003)

by Robin Hobb (Author), Stephen Youll (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,523691,582 (4.07)1 / 145
Title:Ship of Magic
Authors:Robin Hobb (Author)
Other authors:Stephen Youll (Illustrator)
Info:Spectra (2003), Edition: Reprint, 832 pages
Collections:Kindle, eBook, Your library

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Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb (1998)



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English (63)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
I enjoyed the Farseer trilogy so much I decided that I wanted to work my way through the other books by Robin Hobb. This series is from multiple view points. Initially I was not sure I would be able to get into it because of the nautical setting and the premise seemed iffy. However, Hobbs manages to make the culture, port towns, merchant families, and the action onboard ship interesting. The sympathetic characters are more interesting than the villans because the are less predictable and better developed. The villans are one dimensional but they serve their purpose.

I listed to the audio book version from Audible and found the narrator, Anne Flosnik, horrible and annoying. For example, the way Flosnik would draw out words got to be like nails on a chalkboard. I am reading the second book in the series in hardcover. ( )
  KateSavage | Mar 29, 2019 |
When I want to be whisked out of this world and into fantasy land, I go to Robin Hobb. So far I've read the Assassin's Apprentice trilogy, and now this book, the first of a trilogy that takes place in a different corner of the same world as the Assassin series.

I think this book is nearly the equal of the Game of Thrones series in creative world-building, complex characters and inventive plotting. I hope the rest of the trilogy is as strong. I liked it a bit better than the Assassin series - the pacing feels faster, and women had more interesting roles. She does a pretty good job of downplaying the alpha male and alpha female trope, although it's hard to get rid of them entirely in a fantasy novel. Group consensus decision making doesn't make for a thrilling fantasy reading experience. Although I'd be interesting in finding some fantasy writing that does try to dispense with alpha heroes completely. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
The second start of the The Realm of the Elderlings series has very little to do with the first trilogy. The story focuses on a different area of the world on the sea and a port-town with magical ships called Liveships. The Ship of Magic starts off the series really well. Robin Hobb does a great job of creating characters that are unique and interesting, but also grow and change throughout the book. The plot is good with a lot of developments and worldbuilding introduced that I'm sure the following book will expand on. It is a well written book filled with characters you will care about. ( )
  renbedell | Mar 3, 2019 |
The Bingtown traders make ships from a special substance - wizardwood. When certain conditions are met, those ships quicken and become liveships - sentient vessels who practically sail themselves, including where no other ships can sail, making their owners very wealthy in the process.

But times are changing, new traders are colonizing the area after the Satrap eats his promise to the original settlers, without knowing what they're getting themselves into.

A highly readable drama about sea-faring, the frontier, trade, piracy, spiced with the usual mixture of romance, family affairs and politics.

The biggest downside is that it is not a well rounded story - all of the plots remain unresolved and are just a set up for the following books of the trilogy. Minus in my book. ( )
  matija2019 | Jan 8, 2019 |
This is the beginning of the second trilogy in Robin Hobb’s larger Realms of the Elderlings series. As with the first trilogy, this was a re-read for me. Unlike the first trilogy, my memory of the story and the characters was much fuzzier. I remembered a few of the characters and events and the rest of it slowly came back to me as I read.

These books are set in a separate area of the world from the Six Duchies of the first trilogy. They’re close enough to be aware of each other, but far enough that there isn’t much interaction between them. The main premise affecting this story is the concept of liveships. These are ships made out of wizard wood in the Rain Wilds, and they are sentient. They don’t truly come alive until three generations of the family that owns them has died on them, but they have an underlying awareness and connection with their family even before then. After the third generation dies, they become fully aware and can talk to people through the figurehead attached to the ship.

Unlike the first trilogy, this one is told in the third person from the perspective of a variety of characters. I enjoyed all the POVs, although there were some characters and storylines that I liked more than others. The over-all story is very interesting, and the different POVs allow for a variety of different types of storylines. There are adventures and struggles aboard a variety of ships including trader ships, pirate ships, and hunting ships, as well as adventures at port towns. There are financial, political, and parenting difficulties back home in Bingtown. And the world’s brattiest teenager. There’s Paragon, an abandoned liveship who still seems to get a surprising number of visitors, both malevolent and friendly. There are the mysterious serpents who are seeking something, but even they don’t really understand what they’re seeking. There’s a lot going on, but it’s all related and slowly starts to form a larger picture.

I really enjoyed this series the first time I read it, but I suspect I’m appreciating it more this second time around. The first time, I had been very anxious to get back to the characters from the first trilogy who also feature in the third. There’s definitely something to be said for re-reading a familiar story at a more relaxed pace.

The following spoiler tags contain spoilers for both this trilogy and the following Tawny Man trilogy. Please don’t read them if you haven’t yet read the first 9 books, unless you don’t care about spoilers.
I especially enjoyed paying more attention to Amber during “her” all-too-brief appearances. There are so many clues that I didn’t pick up on the first time I read this, and her somewhat cryptic conversations with Paragon have a lot more meaning when you know who she is. Since the Fool is one of my all-time favorite characters ever, I especially enjoyed it when she showed up on the page. From my vague memories, I think she plays a somewhat larger role in the later books so I’m looking forward to that.

When I read this the first time I did eventually figure out who she was, but I think it was toward the end of the trilogy. I had read some comments online indicating there was a major character in this trilogy from the other two trilogies, otherwise I don’t know if I would have ever figured it out. As it was, it took me a long time because I didn’t realize it was somebody in disguise. I kept waiting for them to show up in a more obvious way. I can’t remember exactly how and when I figured it out, but maybe I’ll remember when I get to that point.
( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Oct 14, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin Hobbprimary authorall editionscalculated
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This one is for
The Devil's Paw
The Totem
The EJ Bruce
The Free Lunch
The Labrador (Scales! Scales!)
The (aptly named) Massacre Bay
The Faithful (Gummi Bears Ahoy!)
The Entrance Point
The Cape St John
The American Patriot (and Cap'n Wookie)
The Lesbian Warmonger
The Anita J and the Marcy J
The Tarpon
The Capelin
The Dolphin
The (not very) Good News Bay
And even the Chicken Little
But especially for Rain Lady, wherever she may be now.
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Maulkin abruptly heaved himself out of his wallow with a wild thrash that left the atmosphere hanging thick with particles.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In the french edition, the book was divided in 3 volumes.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553575635, Mass Market Paperback)

Robin Hobb, author of the Farseer trilogy, has returned to that world for a new series. Ship of Magic is a sea tale, reminiscent of Moby Dick and Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series in its details of shipboard life. It is also a fantasy adventure with sea serpents, pirates, and all sorts of magic. The liveships have distinct personalities and partner with specific people, somewhat like Anne McCaffrey's Brain ships and their Brawns, though these are trading ships and have full crews.

Hobb has peopled the book with many wonderfully developed characters. Most of the primary ones are members of the Vestritts, an Old Trader family which owns the liveship Vivacia. Their stories are intercut with those of Kennit, the ambitious pirate Brashen, the disinherited scion of another family who served on the Vestritt's ship, and Paragon, an old liveship abandoned and believed mad. The sentient sea serpents have their own story hinted at, as well.

Though Ship of Magic is full of action, none of the plotlines get resolved in this book. Readers who resent being left with many questions and few answers after almost 700 pages should think twice before starting, or wait until the rest of the series is out so that their suspense won't be too prolonged. But Hobb's writing draws you in and makes you care desperately about what will happen next, the mark of a terrific storyteller. --Nona Vero

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:31 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Expecting to inherit her family's Liveship, Althea Vestrit now must defend this animate, intelligent treasure from both her scheming brother-in-law, who plans to use it as a slave ship, and a nation of ruthless pirates, led by Captain Kennit.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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