The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: March 1999

Genre: Fantasy

Adventure Rating: 4.5 Stars

Amazon

“The Farseer trilogy continues the dramatic tale of piracy, serpents, love and magic. The Vestrit family’s liveship, Vivacia, has been taken by the pirate king, Kennit. Held captive on board, Wintrow Vestrit finds himself competing with Kennit for Vivacia’s love as the ship slowly acquires her own bloodlust. Leagues away, Althea Vestrit has found a new home aboard the liveship Ophelia, but she lives only to reclaim the Vivacia and with her friend, Brashen, she plans a dangerous rescue. Meanwhile in Bingtown, the fading fortunes of the Vestrit family lead Malta deeper into the magical secrets of the Rain Wild Traders. And just outside Bingtown, Amber dreams of relaunching Paragon, the mad liveship … “

I think more often than not second books fall into that “sophomore slump”. Not this one! It could be because this is technically the 5th book that Hobbs wrote. This second installment of The Liveship Traders was, in my opinion, better than the first! It introduces so many new elements and plot points that I loved!

Characters. I hated Malta in the first book and the first half of this book. However, and I have no idea how this happened, but a switch went off and she became my favorite plot line to read about! She really developed into a strong young woman instead of a whiny brat. Speaking of whiny brats, Althea. Ugh. She was still so annoying. She literally would never accept help from anyone because she wants to be “independent”. That’s not maturity. And she is hurting those around her by acting like that. Brashen straitens up a little bit. I was unhappy with the direction he was going but happy where he ended up! Amber is still so mysterious and I now have a pretty good idea of who she is. Reyn, I think, is my favorite! I ship him and Malta so hard! Kefria is slightly annoying. She won’t change even though everything else is changing. Kennit is my other favorite character to read about! He’s so intriguing! He is doing good things but with the wrong motives. Wintrow, next to Reyn, is probably the most honorable character. He always tries to do the right things no matter the cost. Ronica is who I want to be when I “grow up”! Serilla makes me nervous. She went through something horrible but then used that as an excuse to be horrible. And poor Vivacia and Paragon!!

Plot. I am going to try to not say spoilers so I won’t spend much time here. Let me just say this, DRAGONS. Oh. Yes. There is still a lot of high seas adventures, crazy talking ships, a bit of romance, mystery, backstabbing, and plot twists. Kennit is still bent on taking over the pirate isles and we still don’t quite know why. Althea, Amber, and Brashen are outfitting the insane ship Paragon (that’s definitely going to go well…) to sail after Kennit, who has the Vestrit family ship and Wintrow. Ronica, Malta, Reyn, and Kefria are battling the people who are trying to take over Bingtown and some threats within. And meanwhile we are still following the tangle that is the sea serpents and what they are up to. There is a lot going on in this book and I love it.

Final Thoughts. This might become one of my favorite series. It is the exact adventure I love. I am already deep into book 3 and can’t wait to finish! I want to read everything Hobb has written!

Have you read anything by Robin Hobb? What is your favorite? OR what is your favorite high seas adventure?

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