ven at vvcrane.fsnet.co.uk
Wed Apr 4 22:15:10 EDT 2001
> 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
DIRTY GREAT BIG SPOILER WARNING
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.
You are trapped in that bright moment where you learned your doom.
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