The Ship of Magic | Robin Hobb | Review

“Look forward, not back. Correct your course and go on. You cannot undo yesterday’s journey.”





Wizardwood, a sentient wood.
The most precious commodity in the world.
Like many other legendary wares, it comes only from the Rain River Wilds.

But how can one trade with the Rain Wilders, when only a liveship fashioned from wizardwood can negotiate the perilous waters of the Rain River? Rare and valuable a liveship will quicken only when three members, from successive generations, have died on board. The liveship Vivacia is about to undergo her quickening as Althea Vestrit’s father is carried on deck in his death-throes. Althea waits for the ship that she loves more than anything else in the world to awaken. Only to discover that the Vivacia has been signed away in her father’s will to her brutal brother-in-law, Kyle Haven…

Others plot to win or steal a liveship. The Paragon, known by many as the Pariah, went mad, turned turtle, and drowned his crew. Now he lies blind, lonely, and broken on a deserted beach. But greedy men have designs to restore him, to sail the waters of the Rain Wild River once more.


After finishing The Farseer Trilogy, I was so so keen to continue to the next series. I love Robin Hobb and I love her writing so I knew that I would also love The Ship of Magic. I was not wrong. What a start to the a series.

I must admit, it did take me a bit of getting used to, I loved the characters in the previous series and making myself understand that they would not appear in this one took some getting used too. However, once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading this book.

What I will say is that this book is very complex. There are a lot of different perspectives which takes a lot to get your head around. The perspectives link in with completely different parts of the story so you do really have to concentrate whilst reading this book so that you identify where you are and what is happening. One fault I will pick with this book is the fact that it isn’t very obvious when perspectives change. Sometimes they will change in the middle of a chapter and you don’t realise straight away as they are not clearly identified. I have found myself numerous times having to go back a couple of pages to understand what part of the story I am reading about.

The characters, Robin doesn’t half know how to create a diverse and complex character. I absolutely love Althea, from the start I was routing for her and throughout I continued to do so. She is such a wonderful brave soul and I can’t wait to find out what happens with her story next. Wintrow was also another character I enjoyed, he has had a bad start to life, no support from his family but he still manages to be a wonderful character. I really enjoyed reading about him.

I love the sense of pirates in this book, I haven’t really read a book like this before but I will be definitely looking for more. I am also very intrigued by the serpent element of things which I feel was kept very quiet in this book so I am intrigued to find out what happens next. I gave this book four star just based on the difficulty I had reading it in some parts. I thoroughly enjoyed it, whilst it is very different to the much loved Farseer trilogy, I cannot wait to see what happens next.

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