The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb

Rating 9.9/10
A spell-binding story full of wonderful characters and intrigue.

The Liveship Traders series continues with the second book, The Mad Ship. Althea Vestrit continues her quest to reclaim her rightful inheritance, the liveship Vivacia. The Vivacia has been seized by pirates led by the enigmatic Kennit, a man who believes that destiny leads him to become King of the Pirate Isles. The Vestrit family are nearing financial ruin which leads them closer to the mysterious Rain Wild Traders who own the ship. Amidst these events the mad ship, Paragon is once again launched despite the history of death and despair that surrounds him.

The Mad Ship is another wonderful book by Robin Hobb; it builds upon the excellent Ship of Magic and further develops the storyline and the characters whilst adding exciting new plot lines. Robin Hobb is arguably one of the finest exponents of fantasy literature around today and the attention to detail within her books is highly impressive.

The reasons that I hold Robin Hobb’s work in such high regard are the multi-dimensional characters, staggering consistency and her complete understanding of how beautiful the English language can be when used correctly. The Mad Ship sees major developments in both the characters and storyline and in particular the greater detail offered on the Rain Wild Traders and the Satrapy of Jamelia. A refreshing aspect of these books is the strength and status of the females within the stories, no longer are they relegated to the roles of support players but are now major characters, pivotal to the story as a whole.

The Vestrit family, Wintrow aside can be somewhat irritating but this is yet again due to the quality of the writing that these characters are so believable and have the same flaws that make people unpopular in real life. I know that Robin Hobb herself grew up in a fishing community and I wonder if her real life experiences have aided her in making everything so realistic. Robin Hobb must be a great people observer and she gets behaviour spot on, if she means for them to be annoying then they are.

‘Pirates.’ Paragon’s voice was almost dreamy save for the terror in it. ‘I know about pirates. They kill and kill and kill on your decks. The blood soaks in, deeper and deeper, until your wood is so full of lives you cannot even find your own. Then they chop off your face and open your seacocks and you go under. The worst part is, they leave you to live.’ His voice broke into boyish treble before it tremored into silence.
The Mad Ship: Taking Charge

Mystery plays a large part in the Liveship Traders books, unanswered questions keeping you hooked till the very last page – Who are the sea serpents? What is there history, what are they and what can they become? The Rain Wild Traders, what is there story? Why are they disfigured? Why has Paragon had his face chopped to pieces? What happened when his entire crew died? These are the questions that kept me reading, looking forward to the answers. The answers do come, but not all in the same book. This is why Ship of Destiny is a must read when the reader expects everything to become clear.

Then, with a sound of wet canvas unfurling, she raised her wings. Mud smeared them. She flapped them awkwardly, and a heavy reptilian odour wafted over Reyn and the boy. Pulsing veins were outlined briefly in the stretched membrane of her wings. Then, like dye spilled in water, colour flowed through them. Her wings went from transparent to translucent to a rich sparkling blue. As she waved them slowly and unevenly, Reyn could see the strength building in them. She unlidded her eyes suddenly; they glinted silver. She looked at herself. ‘Blue. Not silver, as I dreamed. Blue.’
The Mad Ship: Dragon Rising

Robin Hobb is fantasy writer right at the top of her profession. The Mad Ship builds upon the Ship of Magic and improves the trilogy even further, a spell-binding story full of wonderful characters and intrigue.

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Have you read The Mad Ship?

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The Mad Ship reader reviews

from Australia

10-stars

Amazing characters and settings for the mind to imagine.

from Kent

10-stars

I would recommend any book written by Robin Hobb, they are all superb in every way.

from N. Ireland

10-stars

This is another fantasy masterpiece from Robin Hobb. Even better then the Ship of Magic, even better than the Farseer Trilogy. A must read, highly recommended.

10/10 from 4 reviews

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