Friday, January 29, 2010


Finished the "Liveship Traders" trilogy last night (well, actually, this morning at 5). I dragged out the last 50 pages over a few night, reading a bit here and there and setting it aside. I really didn't want the book to end. As I finished it I had a sudden sense of loss, and then, a just as sudden feeling of freedom. Surfacing from underwater and taking a deep breath. The books had an astonishing hold on me. Hardly a minute past without my thoughts drifting to the story. Now I feel somewhat liberated and content.

I certainly didn't feel content last yesterday when I was some 50 pages away from the end. Too many things bothered me and seemed forced and unnatural. Like Kennit's death, the fact that what he did to Althea didn't seem to matter in the end, Kyle's death. On the last few pages the loose bits finally came together and the story was completely complete. Hobb was amazingly subtle in tying up loose ends. No major action or revelation, just the plot flowing it's natural course.

So how do "Liveship Traders" compare to the "Farseer"? They don't. For me at least, the two series are very different and can't be easily compared. I still feel stronger about the "Farseer" books, but only marginally so, than "Liveship Tradres".
The two series are great in their own way. I think, however, that I favor the "Farseer" because of the sentimental value. "Liveship Traders" have more action, the many points of view from many different characters make the story more rich and interesting. The epic scale of the "Liveship Tradres" leaves the "Farseer" in the mud. I suppose the plot did drag at a few points, but ultimately it was entertaining and had me staying up till 4am reading for longer than I care to admit.

Liveship Traders /Farseer character sketches by me. Top: Davad Restart. Middle: Wintrow Vestrit. Bottom: Kettricken and the Fool

Favorite character

The most effing amazing moments in the books
Kennit’s Mother - I bow my head to Robin Hobb, go on my knees and kiss the ground she walks on. I completely forgot about Kennit's mother and even though I suspected she will play some role eventually, I never expected what actually happened.

Amber begging for her life - I felt some strange satisfaction watching a scalded Amber crawling in soot and water, crying the begging for her life.

The launching of Paragon

Vivacia's "death" - it was hear-wrenching and powerful. I could clearly see her wooden futures frozen in anguish and despair. Her eyes empty.

Wintrow, the pirate king and the epic battle

A whore and a priest. AKA Etta and Wintrow. By me.

Biggest WTF moments
Amber to Paragon: I have to keep my secrets to myself. My secrets are my armor.
Amber to a crowd of slaves: I’m a prophet. I’ve been sent to save the world.

Kennit's death. I'm still divided on that. Unlike Igrot, Kennit died as a hero, or at least he gave his life defending someone else. Granted he didn't do it out of love or loyalty, but his own interest, but still. He's achieved what he wanted, he made life better for the people of the Pirate Isles, he creaeted a kingdom and became a loved and solute king (even if it was in his death). So that combined with the fact that he's gone through unimaginable abuse as a child at the hands of Igrot somehow makes the fact that he raped Althea less significant. I know there's deep meaning in there somewhere, and i almost understand Hobb's message in this, but still. It just doesn't feel right.

Wintrow's tattoo being removed. Didn't seem right. He was supposed to wear it for the rest of his life. Somehow I always imagined Amber giving him Fitz's Chalcedean freedom earring in the end, so he could move around freely without fearing being recaptured into slavery.

Amber missing all the major action. I just though it was funny. She obviously was where she was supposed to be and did what she was meant to do, but she still missed the nine-fingered slave boy :)

The languages of Jamallia, Cursed Shores, Pirate Isles and Six Duchies
I'm not quite clear on this. What I really want to know is if the Six Duchies language is different to the Jamallia, Cursed Shores, Pirate Isles region (which obviously has one language, since everyone there originally comes from Jamallia). Chalced obviously has a different language. The few Six Duchies characters speak with an obvious accent, but Hobb doesn't specify if it's just their pronunciation that's different or the whole language. another thing. Noone suspected that Amber spent most of her life in Six Duchies. Does that mean that she speaks without an accent?

Inconsistencies and possible mistakes
How come Jek is blonde? Jek is from a coastal duchy of the Six Duchies. Probably not from Buck, or she would've recognized Paragon's new visage as the bastard. Hobb has always described the people of the six Duchies (particularly coastal) as dark-haired and dark-eyed. So how come Jek is blonder than a Mountain Kingdom's chick.

Skill river / Rain river. So it turns out that the skill river Verity took a dip in at the end of "Assassin's Quest" is actually the Rain river running down from the Rain Wilds. So how come Verity wasn't itching all over and shedding skin and hair after frolicking in the supposedly acidic waters of the Rain river? We can assume that the river only becomes a Skill river in the Elderling city - the city being magical and all. So why didn't Tintaglia feel that she landed in a goddamn pool of magic when she flew to the ruins a few years later?

Malta Vestrit by me

Malta Vestrit by me

Kennit's homecoming. By me

Amber is sad I didn't like her as much as the Fool. By me

So what's next?
A note from 5am, 30/01/2010:
It's amazing how merely looking at the book (Fool's Errand) fills me with absolute dread. I'm afraid to open it and start reading, but I fear I won't be able to resist much longer.

I started reading the "Liveship Traders" after the "Farseer" because I was afraid to rush into the "Tawny Man". I was distraught after finishing the "Farseer", and I though that since I needed a distraction I might as well read the books chronologically. However, now I'm dreading reading the books more than ever. Go figure. I dawned on me today that I, quite simply, don't want to read the "Tawny Man" trilogy. Why? I feel like I'm setting myself up more a major disappointment, that this trilogy will fall short, juts like many critics said it had, that the rest of the books will be ruined for me (sounds meticulous, I know, but still). I roughly know how the "Tawny Man" ends, and I don't approve.

All these thing considered, I want to see how long I can go without succumbing to my duty and starting "Fool's Errand" which is sitting accusingly on my shelf right now. I want some time to maul over the "Liveship Traders" and do some art. Perhaps I'll read something else...

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