Group read: Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb - The Liveship Trilogy
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Link back to the main group read organisation thread with a full series listing and timetable.
I wasn't planning to set a timetable for reading certain chapters by a certain date but I would say to use the spoiler tags (<spoiler>spoilery comments</spoiler>) and perhaps also include the chapter in bold so people who are reading along know whether it's safe to read the spoilers.
I’m not sure when I’ll get to it, but it’s on the pile. Are we sticking with the original timetable of July-August or are we going with August-September?
>3 quondame: Would you say more violent than the Farseer trilogy Susan? Although I suppose that trilogy it wasn't the violence that bothered me so much as how bleak things seemed to get for Fitz at times.
>4 humouress: Let's say August-September as that gives more people a chance to catch up or join in. I will probably start and finish in August but will try to keep an eye on the thread for people reading in September.
It took me a while to get into this one - I think because of the multiple POV. I was also frustrated by how long it took the Vestrit family
Sorry, forgot to report back here to say I finished Ship of Magic and enjoyed it very much. It took me a while to get into the multiple viewpoints after just seeing things from Fitz's viewpoint in the Farseer trilogy. I felt that this story was less bleak than Fitz's (so far) anyway and am intrigued by the serpents and their search for
>15 rretzler: Kyle was one of my least favourite characters from this book. But Malta was also incredibly frustrating to read about.
>16 HanGerg: 'But the characterisation is just so strong, and the dilemmas they face are so involving, I always end up coming back for more.'
Yes, I feel the same!
Yes, agreed. I think they are both frustrating for the same reason, which is that they are deeply flawed but cannot see their own flaws, and instead blame everyone else around them for their mistakes. Unfortunately that rings very true to life. We all know plenty of people like that, or can see them in the news on a daily basis! Having said that, we do get some insights into how both are feeling. Kyle really has no redeeming features, but I think we can see with Malta that she is just a confused young girl at heart. Obviously she grew up in a slightly toxic environment where her mother was emotionally absent, her father domineering, and her grandfather worshipped whilst doing very little for the family.( I have real issues with Ephron Vestrit. I think one could successfully argue that all of the family's current woes could be laid firmly at his door).
I find pirate Captain Kennit a very hard character to be around too. He seems to have no redeeming features and learns nothing along the way. Quite why Etta and Sorcor are so smitten with him, and why Etta in particular is so fiercely loyal, I don't know, and find quite annoying. There's that awful line about Etta and Vivacia preening and proudly showing that they are the kept women of powerful men or something that felt like is set the feminist movement back about 5 years all on its own. Hard to take from a female writer. And Malta could be read as your classic Lolita type character, the seductive 13 year old that wilfully entraps poor hapless men. Her grandmother calls her a "predator" at one point. So, from a grooviness perspective, this book gets a definite "could do better" rating.
As far as the feminist movement, I think the reader must take that in context somewhat. I feel that these books are meant to take place in the past - now I realize that an author could do anything in a world that he/she wants, but I think Hobb is trying to put a little realism in them with regard to character's actions and other plot elements - wooden sailing vessels, pirates, etc., late 17th-century stuff. So of course, women would have little place in that sort of society, and some would act the way Etta and Vivacia and others did. I think by making Althea as strong a character as she is, this is an indication that Hobb really thinks women have an equal place in society. Althea is our heroine, and she has a non-stereotypical place in this society that is clearly male dominant. Too many dominant women might not ring true in a late 17th-century setting and would certainly make Althea's plight much less compelling. Plus it makes Etta's personality interesting - she is indeed a kept woman, which may have had a certain status in that society, but there is a strength about her that belies her kept status. This is just my opinion, so please feel free to disagree.
I think there are lots of ways this book 'could do better' in terms of feminism but I think overall I felt there were enough positive depictions of strong women (Althea, the Vestrit grandmother whose name I've temporarily forgotten, Ophelia) that I was willing to give the negative elements a pass. Maybe I should be more troubled by them and probably I would be with a more recent novel.....