As the ancient tradition of Bingtown's Old Traders slowly erodes under the cold new order of a corrupt ruler, the Vestrits anxiously await the return of their liveship - a rare magic ship carved from sentient wizardwood, which bonds the ships mystically with those who sail them. And Althea Vestrit waits even more avidly, living only to reclaim the ship as her lost inheritance and captain her on the high seas. But the Vivacia has been seized by the ruthless pirate captain Kennit, who holds Althea's nephew and his father hostage.
Althea and her onetime sea mate Brashen resolve to liberate the liveship - but their plan may prove more dangerous than leaving the Vivacia in Kennit's ambitious grasp.
"The novel is tightly written, with few passages not devoted to characterization, world building or action. Again, Hobb gives high fantasy a salty nautical spin that will please a great many [listeners]." (Publishers Weekly)
"Each volume in this series is a major undertaking, but those who enjoy original, epic fantasy, characters who grow and change believably, and fine writing will not want to miss The Liveship Traders. (Amazon.com review)
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Book 2 starts to bring it all together.
Time to adjust, then basically perfect.
I would absolutely recommend this audiobook to a friend, with the caveat that they may need some time to adjust to the narrator. I accustomed myself to the narration about 1/3 of the way through Ship of Magic, and I've been incredibly pleased with the performance - and the story - since.
This book develops a character who is truly one of the most annoying in the series, and slowly begins turning her into a worthwhile person. Her development is one of the pieces in this trilogy that has always impressed me with Hobb's writing, and the narrator does the character - and her development - justice.
The story and characters make me laugh, make me cry, and horrify me with the implications of events and the world Hobb has created. There are some truly monstrous (and creative) elements to this series, and they evoke the emotions they should.