The Liveship Traders book series is a trilogy of books (Ship of Magic – 1998, The Mad Ship – 1999, and Ship of destiny – 2000) created by Alaskan author Robbin Hobb, also renowned for her other book series (The Tawny Man Trilogy and The Farseer Trilogy), all considered to fall into the genre of epic fantasy. The real surge of epic fantasy as a genre came along with George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones”.
Order of The Liveship Traders Series
|1||Ship of Magic||1998|
|3||Ship of Destiny||2000|
The Liveship Traders series achieved its own cult status among the lovers of all fantasy lovers. Loosely set in times that are complimentary to those of the American Revolution it is a story of what could be called family grit and emerging nationhood placed in a fantasy setting. But it is this fantasy setting that dominates: through the three tomes, you can encounter sea serpents, talking ships, pirates a lost race and a host of other mysteries that make an extraordinary saga and a compelling read.
The Liveship Traders Awards
The Liveship Traders as book series did not receive any awards, butt its author Robin Hobb, has under her born name of Margaret Lindholm. In 1981 she received the Alaska State Council of the Arts prize for her short story “The Poaching”. Under the same name she was the finalist to receive the Nebula and the Hugo awards and was a winner of the Asimov’s Readers Award.
Readers themselves are quite enamored by the Liveship Traders trilogy themselves. For example the readership that decided to review it through “Amazon” in 64% of the cases gave it five stars, and 20% gave it four stars.
Best Liveship Traders Books:
In a book series, usually not all sequels or separate parts turn out to be of equal quality. With The Liveship Traders trilogy it seems that the quality of writing, story plot and the ability to hold the attention of the reader and tickle their imagination seems to be equal. Most of the reviewers, particularly those that are versed in epic fantasy rate the quality of this Robin Hobb series above average, usually giving it an 8/10. It is the ending book in the trilogy that sparked most controversy, some calling it too pat, while the others characterized it as having the needed optimism. The main characteristics most critics see as the elements which should attract the readers are the intricate plots Hobb sets throughout the series, as well as her detailed characterization and very engaging prose.
The story in the first instalment, Ship of Magic, evolves around the southern city of Bingtown, “renowned for trade in rare and magical items”. What really makes the “Ship of Magic” an engaging read is the introduction of Liveships, ships with animated figureheads, that become novel characters in themselves. This initial book in the series is an adventurous read, has a very interesting ending and a cliff hanger, but some critics consider it to be a bit too long.
The second installment, The Mad Ship usually gets the best reviews. Maybe it is because it is darker in its tone and has some additional elements of brutality. Also, “The Mad Ship” uncovers the true nature of Liveships and the fates and destinies of many characters introduced are given a very hanging in the balance treatment by the second parts ending.
The third installment, Ship of Destiny gives the trilogy’s major theme, morality a full-blown treatment over more than 900 pages it is presented in. The morality issue is among other things presented through a quite a number of rape or close to rape scenes, which might be a bit hard to swallow for some readers.
All in all, most epic fantasy readers will enjoy this Robin Hobb trilogy, particularly those that are patient readers and like their stories to develops slowly with a lot of twists and turns and a myriad of characters particularly with a large dose of magic and fantasy thrown in.
Other Book Series You May Like:
If you like the Liveship Traders, the other two book series by Robin Hobb, should definitely be on your reading list. Apart from the above mentioned “Game of Thrones” almost everybody knows about, the other fantasy series and books you may be interested in include:
– “Chaos Seeds” Series by Aleron Kong
– “Steel and Fire” Series by Jordan Rivet
– A.G. Riddle’s “The Origin Mystery” Series by A.G. Riddle
– “Lord of the Black Tower” Series by Jack Conner
– “The Joined Realm” by Robert Vane
– “The Magic Mines of Asharim” by Pauline M. Ross