39. THE MAD SHIP, BY ROBIN HOBB (Book 2 of The Liveship Traders, Book 5 of The Realm of the Elderlings)
I would normally read a few more books by other authors before reading another one by someone I have already read, but I just REALLY wanted to know what happened. I’ll try to restrain myself before I read the last one.
Synopsis: Picking up where Ship of Magic left off, Bingtown is in turmoil. News of the livehip Vivacia being taken by pirates prompt the Vestrit family to mount their own rescue expedition, with the help of the old, long-abandoned, blind, and mad liveship Paragon. A visit from the Satrap sparks rebellion and announces war against Chalced and possible independence from Jamaillia. The serpents struggle to find their own destiny.
Overall enjoyment: GGAAAHHHHHH!!! It will be a tough task, waiting before I can read the last book... At this point, I would easily say Hobb is one of my favorite writers. She’s amazingly imaginative.
Plot: Just like the first one, it kept me glued and manically turning the pages. It’s more than 900 pages, and I finished it in a couple of days. She does an amazing job of foreshadowing things without actually giving them away: while you’re reading, you have no idea what will happen next, but when it does, you nod your head and go “Of course! How could I not see it?”
Characters: Superb, as always. She makes them live out their lives in front of your eyes. Their development is subtle and inexorable.
World/setting: Wonderfully described and engendered. She pays a lot of attention to detail, and it pays off.
Writing style: Amazing. That’s all.
Representation: Once again, I have to point out that this is her weak point. It’s really hard to believe she couldn’t find a way to be more inclusive. I also consider it the only flaw in her world-building: it’s really hard to believe in a world where everybody is straight and white.
Political correctness: Apart from the lack of representation, it’s pretty fair.
Up next: The Second Duchess, by Elizabeth Loupas