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Ship of Magic (1998)

by Robin Hobb

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Liveship Traders (1), Realm of the Elderlings (4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,123831,603 (4.08)1 / 163
Bingtown is a hub of exotic trade and home to a merchant nobility famed for its liveships-rare vessels carved from wizardwood, which ripens magically into sentient awareness. The fortunes of one of Bingtown's oldest families rest on the newly awakened liveship Vivacia.For Althea Vestrit, the ship is her rightful legacy unjustly denied her-a legacy she will risk anything to reclaim. For Althea's young nephew Wintrow, wrenched from his religious studies and forced to serve aboard ship, Vivacia is a life sentence.But the fate of the Vestrit family-and the ship-may ultimately lie in the hands of an outsider. The ruthless pirate Kennit seeks a way to seize power over all the denizens of the Pirate Isles...and the first step of his plan requires him to capture his own liveship and bend it to his will.… (more)
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» See also 163 mentions

English (76)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (82)
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
After all other fantasy series the books of Robin Hobb are a fresh breath. No one writes her characters so well, you actually live the story.
  Sumbul.Ali | Oct 19, 2021 |
This is the first book in Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders Trilogy and a continuation of the story of The Realm of The Elderings.

I am having a wild and wonderful affair with Robin Hobb. Her world building and characters have completely drawn me.

This books takes place in the same lands as the Farseer Trilogy, but the world we are in is fresh and new. There are pirates and serpents AND Liveships-the meat of the story. These ships are built from the rare woods of the Rain Wilds. Belonging to the families who settled these lands years ago. The Ships can speak, they have minds of their own and Hobb's writing makes you a believer of all these fantastical things. Each and every character, from the owners, to the pirates and Rain Wild folk, all have a story. It is wonderous how Hobb can connect them all and make you a part of their world.

I cannot rave enough about Robin Hobb and the world she has created. This is what Epic Fantasy is all about. If you are a fantasy reader and have not sampled Hobb's books, don't wait any longer or you a missing a truly gifted writer. ( )
  JBroda | Sep 24, 2021 |
Fun, dramatic, and mysterious! Like "Pirates of the Caribbean" in a more Fantasy setting with a more complicated and slower plot. The book's biggest flaw was that it really doesn't wrap up many of the storylines. By my count there are seven major plot threads set up in this book, and while two of them brought to a satisfying conclusion the remainder are hanging open and waiting for another book.

By far the best character in this book is its analogue to Jack Sparrow. He's not as silly or witty as Sparrow, the charming, self-centered, and fundamentally evil Captain Kennet is entertainingly forced by his circumstances to do heroic things. By the end of the book he has won the allegiance and even love of a handful of decent people without ever doing anything that wasn't motivated by selfishness, suspicion, and arrogance.

Fun vocabulary in this book:
asperity - Harshness
athwart - From the side of
attar - Essential oil of rose petals
avidity - Extreme eagerness or enthusiasm
bagnio - A brothel
benightedness - Intellectually or morally ignorant
chupped - An onomatopoeic exclamation (to make a sound like "chup")
clew - The lower or after corner of a sail
davit - A small crane on board a ship
lambent - Aglow
marline - A light two-stranded rope
marlinespike - A pointed tool used to separate strands of rope
prate - To talk foolishly or tediously about something
purl - A knitting stitch made by putting the needle through the front of the stitch from right to left
shimshay - A two-wheeled open horse-drawn carriage.
sinecure - From Latin "sine cura" meaning "without care", and referring to a position requiring little or no work but giving the holder status or financial benefit.
squamous - Covered with scales
transom - The flat surface at the stern (rearmost portion) of a vessel
weltering - To move in a turbulent fashion
( )
  wishanem | May 27, 2021 |
The book is laying an ok foundation for the when story. Of course I got to write this review when I am almost mid second book.

I wish there were a bit of more clearity on the new concepts included in the book eager than keeping all the new elements almost unknown ( )
  FirstSpeaker | Apr 16, 2021 |
I am hooked on this story now, it starts off a little slow but builds as it goes and now the plot lines are all into high gear. Ready to start Mad Ship, the second of three. ( )
  Rick686ID | Jan 27, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
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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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Epigraph
Dedication
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.
First words
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.)
Disambiguation notice
In the french edition, the book was divided in 3 volumes.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Bingtown is a hub of exotic trade and home to a merchant nobility famed for its liveships-rare vessels carved from wizardwood, which ripens magically into sentient awareness. The fortunes of one of Bingtown's oldest families rest on the newly awakened liveship Vivacia.For Althea Vestrit, the ship is her rightful legacy unjustly denied her-a legacy she will risk anything to reclaim. For Althea's young nephew Wintrow, wrenched from his religious studies and forced to serve aboard ship, Vivacia is a life sentence.But the fate of the Vestrit family-and the ship-may ultimately lie in the hands of an outsider. The ruthless pirate Kennit seeks a way to seize power over all the denizens of the Pirate Isles...and the first step of his plan requires him to capture his own liveship and bend it to his will.

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Book description
Bingtown is a hub of exotic trade and home to a merchant nobility famed for its liveships—rare vessels carved from wizardwood, which ripens magically into sentient awareness. The fortunes of one of Bingtown's oldest families rest on the newly awakened liveship Vivacia.For Althea Vestrit, the ship is her rightful legacy unjustly denied her—a legacy she will risk anything to reclaim. For Althea's young nephew Wintrow, wrenched from his religious studies and forced to serve aboard ship, Vivacia is a life sentence.But the fate of the Vestrit family—and the ship—may ultimately lie in the hands of an outsider. The ruthless pirate Kennit seeks a way to seize power over all the denizens of the Pirate Isles...and the first step of his plan requires him to capture his own liveship and bend it to his will....
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