Review of The Liveship Traders Trilogy

Ship of Destiny (Liveship Traders, #3)Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

 

What a great read. I need to sit and dwell on the series then I will review. I’m actually a little sad, not because of how it ended, but because I was so engrossed in the story that I don’t want to come back to reality. I want to stay aboard the ship.

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Updated Review – Review of all three books in the Robin Hobb The Liveship Traders Trilogy 3 Books Collection Set.

I’ve read the The Farseer Trilogy and throughout the years since I read it parts of the story would keep coming back to me and I couldn’t quite remember what book I was recalling it from. Then I would remember it was the Farseer Trilogy and think “I must re-read that someday.” That is how this latest trilogy, Liveship Traders, will stay with me as well.

I don’t think there was anywhere in the trilogy where the story lagged in any way. I was never bored, never skipped sections and unless interrupted by my kids, did not re-read any sentences or paragraphs. Each chapter was engrossing. Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger moment that made you want to skip ahead to find out what happens, but the next chapter was just as good that you forgot all about skipping ahead. The point of views throughout the books changed often and while I like stories told from one or two point of views, there was so much going on and so many connections in this story that I actually enjoyed the multiple POV’s. I was so invested in each of the characters that I wanted to hear each and every one of their points of view. Robin Hobb did not disappoint and the various POV’s ran seamlessly together never leaving a gap or leaving you stumped. On the edge of your seat? Questioning? Yes, absolutely. Every unanswered question gets answered; every piece of the puzzle comes together nicely at the end.

When I started this series I wasn’t sure how I would feel about reading a story of ships but it was that and so much more. I commend Robin Hobb on her writing. It is so detailed but no overly so that you become lost. She writes like your eyes see things if that makes any sense. It’s like watching a movie when you read her books. I even heard the exciting music you hear in movies (LOL) during some of the scenes and goosebumps broke out on my arms. The little details that I think many authors overlook, like how the rain washes over their faces and brings their hair to points on their head, drips running from their eyelashes and chin. Amazing. The other thing I loved about this book; when you think that you know how it’s going to end, Robin Hobb takes you in another unexpected direction. You think it’s going to be predictable and it’s not. Oh, and there are dragons. Very cool dragons and a buried city where once dragons reigned.

The book begins by introducing you to the little town of Bingtown and the Vestrit family. The Vestrits are Traders and have been for a long time. They trade with the River Wilds and their family ship, a Liveship, originates from the River Wilds. The Vestrit’s ship has not yet quickened. The ship does not quicken until three generations have died on their decks and along with their deaths, their memories. Althea Vestrit’s father, Ephron, is the captain of the Vivacia and the third generation. Althea has been raised on the ship alongside her father and has a strong connection to the family ship. The story starts with Ephron’s death and the quickening of Vivacia. Quickening in a short sense is the figurehead on the ship coming alive. The Liveships can only be guided with a member of their family on board and so it is that Althea believes she will be the next captain of her family ship. Only that is not how it goes. It is then that you are taken on a very long journey that weaves through the lives of many and connecting them all in a way that can only be destiny.

I could not possibly outline every aspect of the story that follows, even if I were to do it in short snippets. First, it would do it no justice and second the story is too long and so good you need to read it for yourself, if you haven’t already. The books cover a rather short period of time, maybe 2-3 years from my interpretation. I absolutely cared about almost every character and even the ones I despised (not because of the writing but because of their portrayal), I still was completely invested in each of them. My list of characters I despised is not a long one. I despised Kyle Haven. Not much else to say there, you will agree with me if you read the book or you will agree with me when you read the book. Towards the end, I despised the pirate, Captain Kennit. Kennit and I had a love/hate relationship. While he had some qualities and made decisions I didn’t like, for the most part I understood him and somewhere deep down I felt there was good in him and I liked him. Then he does something that made me hate him and I couldn’t wait for him to meet his end. Luck was on his side it seemed for a long time but it caught up with him eventually. Finally the Satrap Cosgo I really didn’t like but again, not because of the writing or anything the author did. I didn’t like him, a whiny, weak, child of a man which is exactly what the author intended for that character. Well done.

The rest of the characters (in no particular order), Althea, Brashen, Wintrow, Etta, Ronica, Keffria, Grag, Amber, Paragon, Vivacia, Tintaglia, Reyn, Jani, Selden, Malta, Sorcor and all the other fine people in this story, I adored and I will miss them. This was the kind of book that you wanted to just keep going so you could live their lives. I want to keep reading to see where their lives will take them, but I can’t and as they say all good stories must come to an end. While this came to an end for me, it will live long in my memory. Even a re-read I am not sure would be as good as the first time around, where everything was unknown and captivating.

The only negative I could find with this book, and I use the term negative loosely, were the serpents and their tangle. The serpents in the beginning and at least through the first book, maybe the second, I didn’t entirely understand what they were doing, what their terminology meant (the Lack and the Plenty) and what their purpose in the story was. Sometimes, when I got to the chapters with their POV’s I felt less engaged in the book. I blame that on my lack of understanding. By the end, however, it all fit together nicely and it all made sense and takes away from the negative I found in the beginning book. Truly, this was the only negative I could find.

Well, that about wraps up my review. I could keep sitting here typing all the things I loved about this story and about the writing. However, I find myself a little melancholy as I come to grips that the story is over and I need to let these characters dissolve in my memory. Truly grateful that these three books grace my shelves. I will be reading a lot more of Robin’s books.

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The Finish Line…

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Hi!

I am nearing the finish line of the third book, Ship of Destiny, in the Liveship Traders trilogy by Robin Hobb.  I read at least 250 pages yesterday and I have about a third left.  I am anxiously trying to get through the end of this book by day’s end or tomorrow morning at the latest.  I will then post a review of the trilogy as a whole.

I am actually using this week as a vacation week and I am trying to catch up on some much needed reading.  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that you got everything you wanted, material or immaterial.

Start thinking about your 2017 reading goals!  Hop over to Goodreads early in the New Year and set your goal.  My goal last year I started with 35 books and when I was fast approaching 35 I upped it to 50.  I met that goal about three weeks ago and I am up to 54 books read for 2016.  Definitely going to round it off to 55 when I finish this book. Hey, while you’re there, send me a friend request so we can keep in touch about all things books. Just click this link and it will take you to my page. Friend Me!

Keep reading!

Twas the Night Before Christmas…

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Merry Christmas!

I wanted to post a quick blog  before the Holiday begins and while Sunday is the day I seem to have the most visitors, I will be spending this Sunday not on my computer nor my nose in a book (wipes away a tear) but with my children and family.  My girls are still young and living the wonder of Christmas through their eyes is so fulfilling for me. Giving people gifts and watching their eyes smile with surprise also gives me great joy.

Christmas Eve for me is almost as exciting as Christmas morning, and this dates back to when I was little.  The excitement that built between me and my brother and sister the night before Christmas was intoxicating.  We couldn’t sleep, couldn’t stop smiling and we couldn’t stop thinking about Santa and all the great gifts we would receive.  Would I get that Whitney Houston cassette tape I wanted?

I remember staring out our bedroom window after we were long in bed, scrutinizing the sky for the blink of Rudolph’s nose.  We wanted so badly to see it that we imagined it and took any little glimpse of red, even that of an airplane’s lights, as Rudolph leading Santa’s sleigh.  We would cover our mouths to keep from screaming with joy and then we would scramble for our beds thinking that Santa was just over our house and would be landing on the roof any second.  Every bump in the night, every rattle of paper, any tiny sound, our hearts would race and thump so loudly in our ears believing that Santa was in our living room, carefully placing our presents under the tree.  We would pinch our eyes tightly shut and try to pretend we were deep in sleep.  Eventually sleep came and at the early crack of dawn, and likely before then, we were up and racing out to see what awaited us.  There was just nothing better than that feeling on Christmas morning, the warmth of the wood stove, the dimness of the morning light, the twinkling Christmas lights reflecting off of the packages with wrapping paper we had never seen before.  It smelled like Christmas and I always thought as I held my gifts that I could smell Santa’s workshop on the paper.

The wonder of children and the wonder of Santa and Christmas. To go back to just one Christmas morning with my mom and dad and my sister and brother all gathered around the tree in our pajamas, tearing open gifts.  To hear my dad say “no one opens anything until I’ve had my coffee!”.  To this day, I still come down the steps and tell my girls, “mama needs her coffee before anything gets unwrapped” and they roll their eyes and for probably the first time all year race to do my bidding.  Motivation 🙂

So, on this Eve of Christmas, wherever you are in the world or however you celebrate the Holidays, I hope that you will take a minute or more and reflect on the yesterdays of your childhood and relive for a second the wonder that you felt.  If you would like to share a childhood Christmas memory with me, leave a comment.  I would love to read them.

To you and yours, I wish you peace and joy.  I wish you health and happiness.  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

P.S. I don’t go back to work until January 3rd…so I expect to do some serious reading! 🙂

 

Red Sister

Well, unfortunately I was denied an advance reader copy of Mark Lawrence’s new book Red Sister. Boo…

I know it was largely because I’m a new blogger and I don’t have a lot of followers. It’s ok. I appreciate each and every follower I’ve gotten and someday I’ll land a highly anticipated advanced reader copy! 

Is Christmas over yet? 😀

Review of The Iron Ship (The Gates of the World Book 1)

The Iron Ship (The Gates of the World, #1)The Iron Ship by K.M. McKinley

Goodreads Description:

An incredible epic fantasy begins!

The order of the world is in turmoil. An age of industry is beginning, an age of machines fueled by magic. Sprawling cities rise, strange devices stalk the land. New money brings new power. The balance between the Hundred Kingdoms is upset. For the first time in generations the threat of war looms.

In these turbulent days, fortunes can be won. Magic runs strong in the Kressind family. Six siblings strive – one to triumph in a world of men, one to survive murderous intrigue, one to master forbidden sorcery, one to wash away his sins, one to contain the terrible energies of his soul.

And one will do the impossible, by marrying the might of magic and iron in the heart of a great ship, to cross an ocean that cannot be crossed.

My review:

DNF at 35%. Actually I made it to 40% but the last 5% was me scanning the pages. I really do not like having to post a DNF. I actually feel guilty and disappointed in myself. At the same time the mere thought of picking up that book again…ugh. I also very much do not like writing a negative review, let alone a review on a book I didn’t finish. However, the point of reviews is to receive both good and bad feedback. If I had to rate this, just on what I read I would probably give it 1-1/2 stars, maybe two for the potential this story could have had.

The worst part about this is that I really wanted to like it, even more so because I received the second book, The City of Ice, on NetGalley and I have to do a review on it. The covers of these books are amazing and they make you want to read them.

I will say that I didn’t not finish this book because it was bad or poorly written. The first chapter sucked me in and I actually closed the book the first night and smiled. I couldn’t wait to read more. Then little by little, somewhere, I got lost. Between the numerous characters and their names and the numerous places/cities/towns most with names I couldn’t pronounce and a very, very slow plot, I got lost. I found myself re-reading sentences and then re-reading paragraphs. I found myself paging back a page or two to remember where I was when I picked it up again. Then, to only be at 35% after 4 days…I called it. This was a very sleepy read, not bad, just boring. Another reviewer said “nothing” happens in this book and that’s exactly what I found.

As I said this book takes off right in the beginning starting with the Prologue. There’s this girl that goes into this cave and bathes in this pool (fountain of youth) that heals her wounds and makes her young. Then she goes further into the cave and performs some ritual before a statue, the statue comes alive and gives her some sign about something she has been chosen to do. Couldn’t wait to read more about her. But…

Chapter One, The Haunted Marsh, was just as good with one of the five or six Kressind brothers (Aarin) who is a Guider and his assistant, Pasquanty crossing a haunted marsh on the Path of the Dead. They are followed by two dead zombie like people who are carrying a chest. They are confronted with a ghost, Hollow Anika, looking for her children. They are taking the chest to The Stone of Passage to perform a ritual that will call upon a ghost or a spirit, Mother Moude, who is called from the chest from a pile of bones and a skull. She’s a bit pissed off when she comes out of that chest and wants very much to be set free. The Kressind brother brings her out of the chest to ask her why the Rite of Passage is changing. She tells him “You will see, you will see! The layers in the Earth hold the answer. The lights in the sky know! Go ask them!”. When he tries a second question she basically tells him to go fuck himself (sorry for the language) unless he will free her, which of course he refuses to do and sends her back in the box.

I know, I know…you’re thinking what in the hell did that all mean? I was too but I thought my answers were coming in the following chapters. I may not know what was meant by the Rite of Passage was changing nor did I know what it meant by the layers in the Earth hold the answer but I was patient, I would wait to find out.

It was in the chapters that followed that I began to lose interest because none of the following chapters had anything to do with the Prologue or Chapter One…or maybe they did and I just didn’t put it together. All I can honestly tell you from 5% to 40% is there is a hanging, a wedding, there’s a big Iron Ship being built (duh!), there’s a bunch of brother’s all going in different directions, one of which has a little thing that lives in his hair and talks to him (a Tyn) and the one engineer brother is trying to find this lost city, which I think is in the ocean somewhere? Oh and there’s this other guy Boskovin and a slave he bought, that are going someplace too but unfortunately, I just didn’t care enough. I think the story itself is a good one and it has potential. It just took too long to get there.

It is with regret that I have to decline to review City of Ice because I didn’t finish book one and I’m not interested in reading the second book in a series without having read the first.

Even when you get a DNF, keep reading! 🙂

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The Last Wish (Introducing the Witcher)

The Last Wish (The Witcher, #1)The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am editing my original review of The Witcher because I want to post something a little more detailed on my blog.

First, let me start by saying, I have not played the video game that I would think was derived from the books. Maybe the other way around, I’m not a gamer. Secondly, I saw in a couple reviews that people saw this as a series of short stories which I did not get at all. I thought that it was a series of flashbacks although even that was a little confusing but the only explanation I could come up with. However, looking back now after writing my review, I definitely would agree. Finally, it’s also said to be a weird spin on the retelling of fairytales…ok, I saw that. That aspect alone made this a fascinating read. Don’t let the word “fairytale” dissuade you to pick this up. These are in no way the fairytales you remember from childhood. They are messed up (but awesome) spinoffs of those childhood fairytales. There’s also a little love/hate story mixed in there. What more could you ask for?

Anyway, we follow this loner, Geralt, who is both a sorcerer and an assassin through a land plagued with monsters some of which I’ve never heard of. His only companion his mare, Roach. The Witcher seeks out, hunts and kills kobolds, spriggans, werewolves, vampires, leshys, fairies, strigas and rusalkas, just to name a few. Some he doesn’t kill but rather tries to reverse curses or spells that were set upon them and return them to their human selves. This is his job and he travels the land looking for work. He’s got long white hair, muscled and probably a little arrogant but he deserves that. He’s a powerful sorcerer who seems to know no defeat. I guess that allows for some arrogance.

The Witcher reverses a spell on a King’s daughter; he reverses a curse placed on a gigantic, hairy beast who is in love with another equally disturbing creature known as a bruxa; there’s wicked Aridea who comes to possess a powerful ancient artifact, Nehalenia’s Mirror and sends her mutant stepdaughter, Renfri, into the woods to be killed by a huntsman, who then eventually comes to live with seven gnomes that rob merchants. All of this in just the quarter of the way through book! There’s more stories with werewolves, elves and devils. Don’t forget the love/hate relationship that The Witcher has.

Well, you don’t need me to go through each of the stories…read the book! It’s interesting and I think after having read my review and not going in to this book cold, you may enjoy it all the more. I’m definitely going to move on to the next book.

Happy reading!

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Scavenger Hunt…

So I saw on Facebook that Mark Lawrence (Prince of Thorns) was running a scavenger hunt contest with the winner receiving a signed copy of his newest book, The Red Sister.  Which I wanted very much and which I have been trying to get an ARC on and have not yet been successful.  How the scavenger hunt worked was there was a list of things you needed to find on the cover of books you had at home ranging from easy things earning 1 point each (sword, dragon, etc.) to impossible things earning 5 points each (monsters making out, monster eating someone, monster wearing a hat, etc.).

My 11 year old daughter and I set to work.  We gathered up all the books we own and were able to come up with a whopping 56 points which would have put us in the lead! We had about 22 books all set.  We took the picture of the books laid out on the floor and went to the website to upload our entry.

Well…..you should probably read the directions and the rules for entry before you spend two hours scouring your book covers to find the impossible.  Here was the fine print…well okay maybe it wasn’t fine print but I’m trying to make myself feel better.  LOL.  You can only use up to SIX books.  Really?!

Needless to say with 6 books we wouldn’t have even come in a close second but…it’s ok.  We chose not to enter (the thought of going back through that list and all of our books was too painful) and we grudgingly began putting our bookshelves back into some semblance of order.

Lesson learned…read the rules before you start!  But you know what? We had a blast and we got a good glimpse of all of the great books we own and the details in the covers.

Here’s a look at our “would be” entry.  In our minds, we still win.  🙂

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