The Mad Ship
Althea Vestrit has found a new home aboard the liveship Ophelia, but she lives only to reclaim the Vivacia as her rightful inheritance. However, the Vivacia has been captured by the pirate, 'King' Kennit, and is acquiring a keen bloodlust. Meanwhile in Bingtown, the fading fortunes of the Vestrit family lead Malta deeper into the magical secrets of the mysterious Rain Wilds Traders.
Reviewed on 31st August 2011
Book two of the Liveship Traders trilogy is my favourite book I've read so far this year. The continuing adventures of the Vestrit family see Althea planning to rescue their ship from pirates, amongst a range of other complex plot-lines.
I find it impossible to find fault with this book. I know many people claim that this second trilogy is not as good as the 'Assassin' books that preceded it, but I disagree. In this one, Robin Hobb manages to build and maintain an entire web of complex lives rather than just one, and the richness of the detail is breathtaking. It's clearly a step up, although it is different and I can see how readers expecting something closer to the first trilogy would be disappointed.
The characters all grow in this story and my feelings about almost all of them have been shifted around. In my review of 'Ship of Magic' I singled out Malta as a particular favourite and I think she is again the strongest of the characters in this book.
The plot has developed in interesting ways. Some of the things that were hinted at in the first book have come through, and surprising new elements and twists are added. There's plenty of foreshadowing and one hint in particular that I can't wait to find out more about in the final instalment in this series.
A wonderful book that I've really enjoyed reading, and I'm very much looking forward to picking up the third book in a couple of weeks.