|Submitted by Blake Hyde|
(Jun 23, 1999)
There are, in the fantasy genre, very few books which break through the
stereotypical molds of "travel far and kill the bad god," "rescue magic,"
"kill the bad king," et cetera. Thankfully, this book (which weighs in
at a hefty 809 pages, all of which are used well) breaks through all of
those molds to give us more of Hobb's wonderful, character-driven writing.
I cannot say the book is perfect; it has its boring spots, as do all
books. However, I will say that even the boring spots are used to further
the characters along in their very believable lives.
As others have noted, Robin Hobb seems to have some sort of complex that
makes her WANT to write about misery. Once again, in Ship of Magic, we
have a main character (one of many, thankfully) whose every movement seems
to bring him bad luck: Wintrow Vestrit. We watch as he is pulled from
priesthood to serve aboard the liveship Vivacia, where he is miserable,
having sought to be a priest of Sa. Various other bad things happen to
him, each one hammering him into a different person from the naive (and
rather intelligent) priest who came from the monastaries of Marrow.
The other characters, such as Althea, Brashen, Kinnet, Ronica, and the
unlikable Captain Kyle, are all developed to a point where you will feel
that you know them as your neighbor; at about page 600, you begin to dread
the end of this book, simply because it will sever your ties, for a time,
with the Vestrits and their friends/enemies/connections/worm food.
I most heartily recommend this book to ANYONE who enjoys a nice, atypical
fantasy read. Rating: 16/20. Keep up the good work, Ms. Hobb!