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Publisher's Summary

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.

Spend some more time with the Liveship Traders.
©1999 Robin Hobb (P)2010 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Lore
  • SAN JOSE, CA, United States
  • 07-26-13

Book 2 starts to bring it all together.

In my review of Ship of Magic, I wrote that it was "80% set-up and 20% interesting fantasy." This book really springboards off of that set-up work and brings the interesting fantasy to the forefront. All of the various threads start to weave together and the connections keep the story moving.

Once again centered on the Vestrit family, this book skips most of the tiring squabbles that dominated book one and instead brings the fantasy world to life. The details of the Rain Wilds, the future of Bingtown, and the fate of the dragons dominate the story telling and keep things entertaining. Once the facts start to be revealed, you will not look at the liveships in the same way anymore.

All the main characters are back including Malta. Although she was selfish and immature in book one, she abruptly morphs into a young adult with a decent understanding of how the complex world around her works. I feel she changed far too abruptly, but it was a welcome change since the family fighting really dragged down the first book.

Anne Flosnik is once again the narrator and provides more of the same. Like her or not, I see no reason your opinion of her narration from book one will change with book two. If you finished Ship of Magic and wanted to know more about the characters, as well as the dragons, serpents, and liveships, then you should definitely pick this one up. Of course, being the middle book of a trilogy much is left unresolved at the end, so you will need to go one step further for true resolution.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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listen to it at 1.25

Is there anything you would change about this book?

the narrator.

Would you be willing to try another book from Robin Hobb? Why or why not?

i will finish the series and try the rainwild one. i'd like best to hear tawny man, since i liked the assassin series. this series is greatly inferior, but i'm hanging in.

What didn’t you like about Anne Flosnik’s performance?

she sounds adenoidal. do try to listen at 1.25 speed, it's not nearly so bad then. this seems to be a series one has to get through in order to contine, so get through it quickly at 1.25speed!

Could you see Mad Ship being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

probably, but i won't watch.

Any additional comments?

i liked the farseer series, but found the soldiers son one unlistenable. apparently hobb only occasionally appeals. but there are huge and i like loooong listens, so i persist.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Reliably great.

Hobb is wonderful. The narrator's voice annoys me, but she does a good job nevertheless.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Time to adjust, then basically perfect.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

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.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Alvin
  • SAINT LOUIS, MO, United States
  • 09-04-12

Some what entertaining

What did you like best about Mad Ship? What did you like least?

The idea of a ship's metamorphosis into a being.The concept of an honorable pirate, and Malta I find her character to be unbelievable an tiresome.The story jumped from one character to the other or one incident to the other leaving the reader frustrated and confused.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Disappointed it did not go far enough building the story of the Mad ship itself.

Which scene was your favorite?

Can not recall one

Could you see Mad Ship being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Carl
  • Creedmoor, NC, United States
  • 03-16-11

Unfortunate choice for narrator...

After listening to Paul Boehmer, Anne Flosnik just doesn't make this series come to life. Her style of reading is less than optimal... Slow pace with words clearly enunciated. Would be a great childrens book narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Worst narrator ever

Seriously! She is so bad! Everything ends in an excessively dramatic exhalation. It's so bad that every time she does it I mimic her. "Althea" is pronounced "Altheaaaaahhhhhhh". She ruins these books.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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More greatness from Hobb + Flosnik

Robin Hobb's swashbuckling fantasy adventure continues at pace, gradually revealing more and more about the fascinating world and its complex characters. Anne Flosnik's narration continues to be incredibly versatile and affecting, highly recommended.

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Even better than the first.

The depth of the tale continues to grow. Each character becomes more, and the possibilities only become more vast. Great story, very well read.

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great sequel!

A new spin in the fantasy genre. Great character development. You feel like you know these people.
Narrator was very good, just a little overdone on the voices of the males.