From the author of the classic Farseer trilogy, Ship of Magic is the first part of the Liveship Traders. Set in a land bordering the Six Duchies, Robin Hobb begins her epic of pirates, talking ships, magic, sea serpents, slave revolts, dashing heroes and bloody battles.
Wizardwood, a sentient wood. The most precious commodity in the world. Like many 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.
©2012 Robin Hobb (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
“Hobb is one of the great modern fantasy writers … what makes her novels as addictive as morphine is not just their imaginative brilliance but the way her characters are compromised and manipulated by politics.” (The Times)
“Assassin's Apprentice:A gleaming debut” (Publishers Weekly)
“Assassin's Quest: 'Assassin's Quest achieves a bittersweet, powerful complexity rare in fantasy” (Locus)
“Robin Hobb writes achingly well” (SFX)
“Praise for The Liveship Traders series: 'Even better than the Assassin books. I didn't think that was possible” (George R R Martin)
“Hobb is a remarkable storyteller.” (Guardian)
Great book, Great Story, Great Writer, Pity about the narrator. It would be nice if they stuck to one Narrator for an author, I would have been very pleased to continue with Paul Bohemer, and I am disappointed with the change, I will make sure I listen to samples before I buy any more books from audible.
Anne Flosnik has an incredibly annoying voice, she seems to lisp, slur, speaks her words around the sides of her tongue and is almost sounds like she is trying to cast a spell with every sentence. I had intended to work my way through the Liveship traders series before I started the Tawny man series, but I have decided that since I read the series about 10 years ago, I will pass on buying the other two books and skip forward.
It has just occurred to me that there are other sites that do audiobooks, I have been happy having Audible as my sole provider, but I really don't want to listen to Anne Flosnik butchering any more of these books so I will have to look to see if this book is availiable from anyone else with a better Narrator.
The story is engaging, however the recording skips words continually...
It looses meaning in some sentences
After reading the Farseer trilogy, I really wanted to skip The Liveship Traders and go on to the Tawny Man Series but all the reviews I read indicated these books should be read in the order they were written because some of the characters from here are brought into the Tawny Man. While not directly connected to the Farseer story, it is set just outside the boarders of the Six Dutchies.
I liked the characters and the idea of the liveships but dont understand what is going on with the sea serpents. It has taken quite a long time to start enjoying the story as I don't care for the narrator's voice/accent. We have Trader families in debt to RainWild families for their liveships, children used as bargaining chips, pirates, slaves and politics and an interesting mix up of characters.
Try increasing the playback speed. I listened to this book at 1.10x and it made a world of difference. That is a tip to remember for any audiobook that you are not enjoying, try increasing the playback speed before giving up on the book.
As for the trilogy, I'm now well into the second book in this series, and it's ok. It's not as gripping as the farseer trilogy, but it is good enough to listen too. I look forward to returning to Fitz & the Fool, but this is proving to be entertaining enough, and the magical ships are wonderful.
It is frustrating how even when someone has been proven to be wrong in this book, they still stubbornly refuse to change their mind/opinion about something. (Very true to life though, just look at politics.) Like the whole Vestrit family, none of them ever seem to change their mind. It does make it a struggle for me to like any of the characters very much.
Anyway, give the series a go, the ships are wonderful, and if you find the narrator difficult to listen too, try increasing the speed. I honestly wonder if someone messed up the recording, and it's playing slower than it should.
I purchased this book, but was finally very disappointed. The person reading this book is not very good.
In comparison, Nick Taylor, who read "Fool's Fate" from the same author, was much much better.
The tone of voice employed by Anne Flosnik is very monotonous and slow. Sometimes I even struggle to understand the text. For these reasons, I was not able to finish listening to the book.
The story is stunning and impossible to lay down. The reader is really very good, although she does take a few minutes of getting used to after listening to the farseer books.
The scale of the story is vast and it is one of those books that is impossible to put down once you pick it up.
The introduction of the live ships
This was the first performance by Anne Flosnik I heard
Stick with this one, you wont regret it!
I am sure the book is quite good but I will be asking for a refund for this one. The Narration is just terrible. I am really sorry Anne Flosnik but this is not your calling.
There is no depth to the characters, she is incredibly slow even at 1.25 times the speed. its very mono tone so the book doesn't develop any real feeling as to what is going on. The spacing between sections in chapters is almost non existent and its really hard to follow from one part to the next. And all the characters sound the same boy or girl, old or young.
Looking at other reviews of this narrator this is a common feeling so its really disappointing that the entire series is read by this one lady. She just doesn't give the book justice.
Will be reading this one myself thanks!
I'd certainly read a book from the same author, but not the narrator unless for a very specific reason.
The story is good, the narrator almost made me give up.
Talking ships, Sea Serpents, Pirates....
This book is not my cup of tea, but it has enough elements to intrigue me and get me to consider buying the next book.
"great story, disappointing narration"
I love Robin Hobbs books, I have read them all and Ship of magic is no exception. However, the narrator does not do it justice. Maybe its a technical flaw in the recording or she simply swallow the ending of words but repeatedly through the reading the last letters in a word just disappears. Also, the "voices" she uses leaves me untouched, and sometimes annoyed. But the story is great and because of that i give it 3 stars; 1 for narrator and 4 for the story.
"Good book, poor narration"
Like the previous reviewer, I like Robin Hobb's books. Her style is flowing and characters accessible. However, the narrator is not a good match. There is little emotion in her reading, which sounds like a newsreader at times. I've not finished yet, and I'm open to her style growing on me, but at the moment it's actually getting in the way of the words. I suggest starting with one of Hobb's other series on this site.
my god. i love robin hobbs writing. shes a genius. just finished the entire farseer tilogy. but the narrator is horrific in this book! why change! it sounds like someone doing silly voices to mimic someone like children. please god audible take this book away from me. ill read it i swear but dont make me listen to another word from Anne Flosnik. thank god for the returns policy as i bought the entire liveship tilogy in one go! such a bad idea.
"Good book but the ends of words are clipped off"
I love Robin Hobb's writing and the story in this book is as good as others I have read, but I agree with previous reviewers that a good book is let down by the narration. I am not keen on the reading style or the character voices, but that is a matter of personal taste and you can get a flavour of that from the sample, what caused me to stop listening after several hours is the way the ends of words are missing, you forgive the first few as a technical glitch, but it keeps on happening and each time it is more grating. Where have the ends of the words gone? I tried downloading the full quality version but the problem was the same. This is a poor quality audiobook for a good quality site such as Audible, wish I had read the reviews before buying.
Having enjoyed the Farseer trilogy audiobooks I was shocked at the quality of narration. The narrator has a very odd and distracting cadence and the character voices are not great either. It made it completely impossible for me to get beyond the 1 hour mark in a book I know I like.
I will definitely avoid anything from the same narrator in future. Its the first thing I've regretted purchasing from audible and the first time I've felt driven to post a review.
"Truly awful narration. Such a shame."
I've just finished listening to the farseer trilogy which were brilliantly written and well read by Paul Boehmer. I was therefore really looking forward to the next trilogy by Robin Hobb. Unfortunately after only 45 mins of attempting to listen to 'Ship Of Magic' I found myself forced to return this audio book. At first I thought I was listening at the wrong speed - but no! I spent the next 20 mins trying to decipher if the narrator was a real person or a computer generated voice. I was so fixated on the narrators lifeless delivery and in some instances bizarre pronunciation, that I was completely unable to follow the story. By far the worst narration I have encountered from Audible (and I have downloaded a lot of books). Robin Hobb deserves better. Mystifying decision to change narrators, and even more mystifying to allow this narration to be put into production.
"If only they had a better reader"
These books are great stories but this reader is the worst I have ever heard. She needs to be sacked, her voice seems to be on slow speed and in an effect voice that you can not tell the difference between the different people. Cone on Audible you have mush better readers than this....Just look at the other books by Robin Hobb.
"Maybe the paperback is better?"
This was my first contact with the Liveship Traders and sadly, it's probably going to be my last. The narration was awful - I just couldn't follow the scene breaks and was horribly confused within the prologue alone. I also found the narrator's tone and pronunciation odd (at best)
I am so frustrated with the narration that I didn't get very far through the book at all. Robin Hobb has always been someone I wanted to try, but this experience has really put me off trying other books.
I hadn't read any of the reviews of this production, or listened to the sample before purchasing. BIG mistake! Anne Flosnik's voice grated from the start, with a strange unnatural rhythm and unbelievable voices. Perhaps English is not her native tongue, but Audible could easily have found a far better narrator from amongst the many it can choose from. I hope that I can return this title, as I will never listen to it again.
Sadly I was forced to allocate one star for 'Performance. Too high in my opinion.
I love all of robin Hobb's stories but the lady reading put me off. It was like having mystic meg reading, so much so only did about an hour and realised I wasn't following rewound a couple of times but still couldn't get into.
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