Robin Hobb

Ven ven at
Wed Apr 4 22:15:10 EDT 2001

Erin said
> While I'm feeling so uncharacteristically communicative.... Has this list
> discussed Robin Hobb yet?  I first saw her books while working in a book
> store, and I dismissed them as silly fantasy novels based on title and
> cover art alone.  WRONG.  I finally picked one up last fall (five years
> after the bookstore) and read all 850 pages in on weekend reading-orgy.
> Interesting, imperfect characters who change and grow over the course of
> the two trilogies.  Imagine that!  And no simple Hero Saves All plotlines,
> either.  The Bad aren't simply evil, the Good aren't always right.... wow

I finished Ship Of Destiny a couple of weeks ago and I've been 
meaning to enthuse ever since. SoD (lol) is the third of the Liveship 
traders trilogy after Ship of Magic and Mad Ship. This trilogy 
follows on from the earlier Farseer or Assassin series insofar as 
they share a world and some common history. however like Steven 
Brust she modifies her style between them to take account of the 
very different societies involved. The earlier is, to appearances, set 
firmly in the  medievalish corner of fantasyland  and concerns the 
genre staple plot of a country and monarchy beset by both 
enemies and an inexplicable loss of their magical virtues. Except 
there's more going on, as Erin says the characters are way above 
averagely interesting, their dilemmas genuinely moving and behind 
all that is the slightest suspicion that its not so mainstream genre 
fantasy after all. That brings me to the Liveship books, which 
strengthen that suspicion considerably. 

I didn't enjoy Ship of Destiny much at first. The heroine was 
"obviously one of those know it all types, who is always right, and 
unjustly persecuted by those in authority over her". Then I realised 
that we weren't supposed to think she was right, even though what 
was happening was wrong.  This second trilogy is set a few years 
later than and a couple of countries away from the first. Its a more 
sophisticated civilisation, there's a fair cross section of its society 
in this book but its essentially concerned with the bourgeoisie, the 
eponymous traders. There follows a


One of the things I liked was the way in which the trilogies play off 
each other. The device of using contrasting styles and the different 
point of view employed (the Farseer books are told in the first 
person and the Liveships have multiple POV) means that you do 
not always recognise places, persons or events that you have in 
fact encountered before. It was a great moment when I got round to 
comparing maps and realised that the source of the mysterious 
Rain Wild's River was somewhere in the mountains where Verity 
was carving his dragon. I love it when an author does something 
like that to you. 

Evidently there is one more trilogy to come out of this world.
Its still not clear exactly what Hobb's great plan is, but she 
obviously has one. I guess that Fitz will be compelled from  his self 
imposed exile. I assume there are further revelations about the 
nature of the world, its inhabitants and its history. I think its going 
to have something to do with that very high technology that is 
indistingushable from magic. Can't wait. 


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