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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 1 March 2006
Robin Hobb is one of the fantasy genre's Good Guys. She may not be doing anything vastly original or profound - but, man, she does it so well. For pure entertainment, there's none better: intricate plotting, knife-edge tension, a sense of place so real you can smell it, and emotional engagement in spades with characters well worth caring about. I haven't turned 900 more enjoyable pages since ... (you can see this one coming, can't you?) the previous instalment.
The setting, slightly outside the normal run of high fantasy, is clearly inspired by colonial America. The pioneer Trader families have prospered for several generations in the bustling entrepot of Bingtown, thanks in large part to commerce undertaken with the Liveships - magical, self-aware vessels built of a particular wood only found upriver from Bingtown, crafted for the Traders by their mysterious kin who live there. But theirs is, naturally, a precarious existence in a frontier land. They are dependent upon trade for much of their food and other supplies, and remain politically subordinate to their former homeland; the society that has developed in response to the challenges is a deeply conservative one; and there are other opportunists who desire the same chance at making their fortune, who are willing to use slave labour to get it.
The concerns, then, are familiar ones; this is all about a society in the painful throes of transition, forced to confront issues of privilege, hierarchy, and access to power. This is played out in a number of ways, one of the most pointed and nuanced being the status of women, as expressed through a diverse range of major characters. There is Althea, who dreams of captaining her family's new Liveship, but finds herself out in the cold when the inheritance goes to her brother-in-law, the new man of the house; her sister Keffria, torn between being a good Trader wife and the desire to protect her children; her mother Ronica, struggling with the loss of status brought on by widowhood; Etta, a former whore who finds a whole new world opening up to her as she learns to read; and many others. All of them are beautifully-drawn, fully-rounded individuals, filled with dreams but mired in mistakes; they are individuals with their own compelling stories who each embody a facet of who women are and can become in this world.
Leaving aside the specifics of the plot, the third and final volume is a more than worthy conclusion to a complex, magical, multi-layered saga - and confirms again my belief that nothing can quite make my heart and my imagination soar like well-written fantasy!
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on 23 April 2016
I've never been such a fan of Robin Hobb's writing as others are but the first book in this trilogy, 'Ship of Magic' was on offer, so I thought I would give it a whirl. The premise was interesting and reminiscent of Anne McCaffrey's brain ships, which I love. The storyline was interesting, although it was a bit on the slow side for me and I confess I skimmed a lot of the first and second books. It did make me want to find out what happened to the liveships, so I kept on reading. I didn't like the character of Kennit at all, despite his story being central to the whole series: something which finally became apparent in this, the third book. Halfway through 'Ship of Destiny' the pace suddenly picked up and I found it had become 'un-put-downable' and it was quite a rip-roaring finish, though with plenty of loose ends to pick up for the next series 'The Rain Wild Chronicles'. I see that this has mixed reviews but no doubt I will read it in due course, to find out what becomes of the dragons. If you are a Robin Hobb fan I'm sure you will love the Liveship Traders books. I still don't quite care for the protracted build-up to half a book of excitement but it is worth reading.
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on 24 April 2016
I am blown away by these books.
They are so well written and they keep you wanting to keep reading. It's difficult to put them down. I just love them they fired the imagination and you feel you are there with them. That's how they make me feel any way.
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VINE VOICEon 26 April 2008
The final instalment in Robin Hobbs wonderful Liveship Traders trilogy does not disappoint, not that it was ever likely to. The characters, are of course, by now vividly defined but its the way that the author ties all the disparate plot strands and by proxy the characters that makes this such a pleasure to read.
Anybody reading Ship Of Destiny would surely have read the previous novels and be familiar with the characters. Anyone reading this book who has,nt read the other books....what are you playing at? The plot draws together the multiple members of the Vestrit family as they struggle to survive . Ronica and Keffria are still in Bingtown , a place under siege and falling apart. Malta is stranded on a tiny boat on the Rain Wild River with the arrogant Satrap of Jamellia while her possible husband to be Reyn is trapped in the mud of the sunken city destroyed by an earthquake with Malta,s little brother Seldon.
Meanwhile Althea is aboard the Liveship Paragon still confused about her feelings for Brashen but determined to find the families Liveship Vivacia. The ship herself is exploring her long hidden identity , exacerbated by the serpents that follow in her wake. Would be pirate king Kennitt , the arch manipulator , is still attempting to coerce Wintrow and Etta into a destiny neither envisage . On top of all this the freed but arrogant Dragon Tintaglia views the humans as mere pawns to be used in the propagation of her species.
The way Robin Hobb draws all the characters together for the sagas conclusion is completely believable , free of contrivance and masterfully paced. It is also hugely satisfying without resorting to sentimentality and cliché though it does,nt have quite the lump in the throat effect of the end of the Farseer series.The link between the serpents and the dragons is finally revealed and there is a tantalising hint as to who the mysterious Amber might really be. You would be a fool to miss it. That.s my less than subtle hint there.
Ship Of Destiny is the conclusion to another tremendous fantasy series.Imaginative, wonderfully written with memorable characters and a serious sub-text involving the evils of slavery . Every bit as good as the Farseer series and as anyone who has read those will tell you , that's some achievement.
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on 27 March 2016
This is a grand series. I loved the characters - their development and progression were skilfully handled - and found some of the concepts thought provoking. The humbling of some characters felt justified; the sense of things coming full circle was satisfying. The importance of memories is a strong theme and I was enthralled by the 'tangles of sea serpents' as sentient, ancient beings. Although set in an imaginary context, there is a sense of our own world history here - and liveships are simply the coolest idea ever! Dragons are also a personal favourite for me, and her name when revealed was a 'cherry on the top' moment. I loved it all.
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on 22 April 2016
I have read all three of the Liveship Traders trilogy of which Ship of Destiny is the third book. Robin Hobbs creates an amazing and fascinating world of living characters (human and otherwise) who grow and develop as the story progresses. She does this with a skill and apparent ease even exceeding George R R Martin. Unlike George R R Martin, however, she does not kill off the best characters but is able to weave an engaging and surprising story line in which all the characters and plot strands ultimately come together into a satisfying resolution. Fantasy story telling at its very best!
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on 2 August 2003
Robin Hobb seems to take the characters within her books and breath life into them making them seem as if they are in the room with you while reading, as opposed to just words on a page. This trend flows through all three books, although at times I wanted her to stop telling the story of one character and move to another as I wanted to know what had been happening to them, we all have our favourites!!
The multiple storylines that began with the first book are brought together in the final few pages of this, which does lead to some frantic reading. I only hope we are to see the return of these characters in future books as I felt that their possible futures were dangled tantilising before me. What of the dragons??
The comedy that is written within these books will bring a smirk to your face, this element of fantasy fiction is often forgotten as I am sure comedy exists everywhere, including the unforgiving seas of the Pirate Isles.
Great epic, I will never look at a snake the same way again.
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on 6 June 2016
Third in the trilogy, when I started it I thought it wasn't as good, although I couldn't really pinpoint why, but it soon picked up. Just coming to the end now ( clever weaving together of the various story lines) and all seems to be resolving satisfactorily
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on 14 June 2016
A good trilogy that keeps you alongside all the characters. The only problem which depends on what you enjoy reading is that there is too much descriptive text. As long as you don't mind flipping through multiple pages of words and not activity, then this is a good read.
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on 16 April 2016
These are fabulous books. Worth reading the series. One thing you don't notice when buying books on kindle - is how thick they are. These are wonderfully thick books and a you really become interested in every aspect of the journeys within.
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