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….
Awesome Readers, you have to buy Ship Of Magic, by Robin Hobb . It has a great plot, great characters and pirates. Pirates!
Whether you are imagining the bustling markets of Bingtown, the sea-spray lashing during a sea in storm or the stink of a slavers hold, this book grips, and doesn't let go.
It's quite hard to avoid spoilers in this review. Simply because the characters are so multi layered, the world so vibrant and lush, the plot so gripping. I yearn to have a fan boy moment and dish the dirt, but that would be the heinous crime of spoiling. On we go!
The woman shine in this book! A lot of fantasy books lack, sad to say, strong female characters. In some cases not particularly likeable, but all of the females are three-dimensional characters and are riveting in their motivations and character arcs. My personal favourite was the Matriarch of the Vestrit family.
Now the males are riveting characters. The characters are balanced with both good and bad and the result is that you will swing from loathing to admiration within a few chapters. Seriously, the characters are really something to look out for, and I don’t think it’s farfetched to say that Captain Kennit is one of the best written characters in modern, and not so modern, fantasy.
This book is set in the world of the Seven Duchies explored in Robin Hobb’s The Farseer Trilogy. The world detail in this book is awe-inspiring. You can imagine, taste and even smell the land in this book. Old age meets more modern, but not that modern, age and each is shown to be blemished. I particularly like the conflict the New Traders slave trade brings to the story. How would cheap labour affect the economy? Trust me when I say this: Robin Hobb holds no punches when describing the slave trade, which she shouldn’t. Also, the New Traders are ignorant of the dangers of the Rain Wilds and the culture of the country they’re in. When you add in the conflict caused by blatant sexism and racism, then you have a town that’s like a powder keg waiting for the match.
This is definitely a book to buy or borrow for Fantasy readers and writers alike. Hell, even steal it if you have to...just don’t mention me if you get caught.
Total Score: 24/30
If you have read it, or would like to read it, sound off in the comments!