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Ship of Destiny, by Robin Hobb Book Review | SFReader.com
Ship of Destiny, by Robin Hobb Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Spectra Published: 2001 Review Posted: 7/1/2013 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 8 out of 10
Ship of Destiny, by Robin Hobb
Book Review by Joshua Palmatier
Have you read this book?
Ship of Destiny is the third book in the Liveship Traders
series by Robin Hobb. Like the previous two volumes, this one was good.
All of the various plot lines (and there were many) came together and a
generally believable way (I'll get to the hesitation here in a moment)
and I really think that the character arcs ended where they should have
ended. Nearly everything that happened in the previous two books was
set-up for this novel, which takes all of that and ties it all up. By
that I mean that there wasn't anything new introduced in this book.
It's the culmination of everything she began in the first two.
One of the things that I loved about this series, and it's something I
mentioned in the review of the previous book, is that the world--not
just the characters--go through significant changes. This doesn't
happen often in fantasy novels. Usually, something threatens to change
the world, and the characters are fighting to keep the world the same.
Here, nearly everything changes. The entire political structure of the
coast undergoes upheaval, and completely reorganizes by the end of the
series. The introduction of the serpents and how they are viewed by the
world at large creates its own upheaval (which isn't really resolved
here, only begun, which hints that there is more to come regarding this
area of the world).
Another thing that I really like about the books is that the characters
don't end up where they thought they would at the end. Typically, a
character starts out with a specific goal (and here I'm thinking of
Althea's goal in the book) and they struggle through the entire series
to achieve that goal, and get it in the end. That doesn't happen here,
but the characters end up WHERE THEY SHOULD, which is a major
distinction. And they realize that by the end. Overall, I don't think
any of the characters ended up where they thought they would by the end.
And the reason they end up in different places is because of what
happens to them throughout the course of the books. Life intercedes and
changes them in ways they didn't expect, which changes their ultimate
goals as well. That kind of fluidity in a fantasy novel, based on
character, is rare. Pulling it off believably is more so.
I did have a few quibbles. The first regards one character in
particular, Serilla. I became intensely interested in Serilla in the
second novel, where she comes to the fore, and wanted to know what
happened to her in the third book. For the first half of this novel
though, I felt that her character's actions were . . . off. They didn't
feel like the Serilla from the second novel, they felt manipulated
instead. This only happened for the first half of the book. After that
halfway point, it felt like the "real" Serilla appeared again.
My other quibble came with the convergence of all of the characters at the end of the book. Typically, the plot lines and characters all
converge in a novel like this of course. You're expecting it. Getting
them all to converge in a believable manner is the trick. I have to say
that I was impressed with how all of the characters ended up in the
same location in this novel. Nearly all of it felt perfect . . . except
for how Rehn showed up. His appearance felt a little forced and not as
natural as all of the others.
But both of those were quibbles. Overall, I felt this was another
strong series from Robin Hobb. I'll miss these characters, but I do
like where they ended and can imagine in my head their lives continuing
on beyond this.
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