“She wondered what it would have been like to be perfect.”First line in Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb
Author: Robin Hobb
Published: March 2000
I finished the Liveship Traders! So much pain has been endured, so many characters have stolen my heart, and Ship of Destiny finally gave me all the answers I’ve been craving. There was so much action from start to finish, and the characters saw their arcs come to an end. Character development truly is the reason to read Hobb, and I’m in awe of what she did here in Liveship Traders. My tiny but still relevant complaint is that I expected more from the ending. Which was also my complaint about Assassin’s Quest, unfortunately. Overall, I’m still left with a very positive experience after reading this trilogy.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“Do not pull back from the pain and imagine that makes you strong. Look at it, you dolt! It’s trying to tell you what is wrong so you can fix it.”
“When you fear to fail, you fear something that has not happened yet. You predict your own failure, and by inaction, lock yourself into it.”
“Perhaps people have a right to their pain,” he hazarded. Reluctantly he added, “Perhaps they even need it.”
The rest of the post will include SPOILERS as they are the thoughts I had while reading the book.
🐲 Ronica Vestrit is starting to grow on me.
🐲 I mean the first two chapters were great and it’s not that I don’t want to know about Ronica and Malta, but did Hobb know how desperate I was for any word on Wintrow that she just straight-up named the third chapter after him? Thank you for that! Not that he’s doing super great, but thank you.
🐲 I LOVE that whole political game that’s going on in Bingtown! Serilla isn’t just one to root for anymore because she’s too obsessed with power and thinks she knows more about Bingtown than the people who live there. I noticed an interesting contrast between her and Ronica in how they go about rebuilding the town. Serilla planned to go among the people, who she expected to be in full swing repairing their homes, so she could praise them for it and earn some cheap points. Then you have Ronica at their meeting hall, just starting to clean it up without anyone else there and that inspires the rest of the traders to do the same. She’s leading by example in a way Serilla never would have done.
🐲 EXCUSE ME! DID VIVACIA JUST DIE??? WE’VE BARELY STARTED THIS BOOK! But now the “dead” dragon has taken over? That shouldn’t matter much to Kennit, maybe it’s even an advantage for him since he no longer needs Wintrow and an angry dragon probably shares his sensibilities more than Vivacia did. But oh no, what about Althea?
🐲 That city Tintaglia went to… is that the same one Fitz visited in Assassin’s Quest? I don’t pay much attention to descriptions of places but those wide streets made for dragons sound familiar to me, but I guess there could be more of those cities.
🐲 Malta’s situation with the Chalcedeans isn’t that great. Am I hoping she will be saved? Yes. Am I also feeling slightly satisfied by seeing her suffer just a little after all the pain she has put me through? Also yes. It’s just karma!
🐲 GIVE WINTROW A MOMENT OF PEACE, PLEASE!! Is he going to die? He said the healing felt like it took years from him. Was that Bolt’s plan? Wintrow can’t die. He just can’t. He needs to get off that dragon ship!
🐲 Oh, Keffria who can’t be a mother to Selden because she thinks he’s her last surviving child, so there’s no point in loving him too much. That’s kind of heartbreaking. They’re still alive, Keffria!! Barely, I’ll admit, but they’re not dead yet.
🐲 Paragon is freaking scary, okay! I would not be brave enough to be aboard him. I can’t even theorize about his madness anymore because is he remembering being a dragon like Bolt? Sometimes? All the time? Is that what made him mad? Anyway, they’ve reached Divvytown and I’m sensing a clash.
🐲 Hold on a minute! Paragon was Kennit’s ship?!?! OMG! Paragon specifically said that he’s was Kennit’s family’s liveship, so he’s a Ludluck and he’s from Bingtown. He must be, right? But what about Igrot? Was he Kennit’s abusive father? I feel like we’ve gotten so many hints that I just can’t remember right now, so Paragon, care to explain some more?
🐲 Just for the record, I don’t ship (lol) Wintrow and Etta. He really needs to get over that little crush of his because I will not accept those two ending up together. I don’t know, there is also just something about Wintrow that makes it hard for me to believe that he’s straight but that might just be wishful thinking.
🐲 I think I’ve lost interest in Bingtown again. Apparently, the Chalcedeans invaded and killed a bunch of people but we’re only told about it afterward and the next minute, Tintaglia comes in and drives them out again. Storytelling-wise it just felt a little awkward to me. I’m also a bit sick of everyone being 100% sure Malta is dead when they’ve never seen a body. But hey, Selden finally matters. Why he is suddenly turning silver, I have no clue.
🐲 Okay, so the whole Paragon/Kennit-thing has my entire focus now. I initially thought Paragon must have protected Kennit in some way and that’s why he killed his crew back then, but then Kennit says that he has “dealt with Paragon before”, so it doesn’t sound like Kennit and Paragon ended things on good terms. We’re back to that thing that happened to Kennit that he doesn’t want other people to know about. When he thought everyone was going to learn his secret, he literally jumped straight to “let’s kill everyone!”. Chill, mate. But I need answers!!
🐲 I have about 350 pages left and something just occurred to me: Will we ever meet Kyle again? He was just left on that island with Kennit’s mute mother (who is also a Ludluck?) and that was it? I don’t really see any reasons for them to return to that island before the book is over.
🐲 Kennit loved Paragon so much as a boy, and when he saw how much that could hurt them both, he decided to never love anyone ever again… I’m fine, super fine. 😭😭😭😭😭. I mean, I still don’t like Kennit, but that story made me forget that for a moment. That explains so much! He probably does love the people around him (Etta, Wintrow, Sorcor) but because he was forced to cut out Paragon’s eyes because of his love for him, he’s not allowing himself to acknowledge that love. And Paragon took all his memories and was prepared to die for Kennit so no one else would know about them. Is there still something we don’t know? I feel like there is. I did also learn that Igrot wasn’t Kennit’s father. We’ve probably been told about that before, I just couldn’t remember.
🐲 Um, could someone please rescue Brashen and Amber? If my theory about Amber being the Fool is ever going to be confirmed, she can’t exactly die here.
🐲 Oh, Kennit, I hate you again. He would have raped Althea and he has probably been contemplating doing the same to Wintrow. I know we also got confirmation that Igrot sexually abused him, but that he’s willing to do the same to someone else makes me a little less sorry for him. At this point, I’m also just begging Wintrow to realize he’s being lied to. Come on!!
🐲 Nonononono, he did it anyway!! Kennit, you need to die RIGHT NOW and it can’t be painful enough!! The charm said that dragons won’t tolerate rape so will this be his downfall? I also still need Wintrow to get away from all this because Kennit’s obsession with him just got even more creepy.
🐲 It might not be important but I noticed Paragon saying “The only birth I have ever known was able to obliterate all the deaths that had gone before it.” Is this a figure of speech or is he being literal? What I’m asking is: can Etta’s baby save Vivacia?
🐲 Amber: “I have been called a fool as often as I have been called a prophet.” I’m taking this as the final confirmation of my theory just so you know.
🐲 Did they just save Kyle freaking Haven? Very convenient that they didn’t recognize him before he was already on board. I’m just saying, dropping him in the sea is still an option.
🐲 Does Paragon have the face of Fitz now? That’s what happened, right? Someone Amber could love. That’s just the most adorable thing ever! I can’t wait to read about Fitz and Fool again!
🐲 Maybe thinking the miscommunication trope is getting a little overused here when we see all our characters coming together. First between Etta and Wintrow, then Wintrow and Althea, and then again between Malta and Reyn. Will people PLEASE stop making assumptions? However, that whole scene with the three Vestrits telling each other what they’ve been up to was just what I needed! And Kennit is crumbling.
🐲 THAT is how Kennit dies? Killed by an unknown sailor? That wasn’t very satisfying at all. Where were the confrontations with Althea and Wintrow I had been waiting for? Where was the revelation of him as the biggest liar ever? I don’t think it’s okay we just skipped that. A bit more satisfying was Kyle’s death because he was literally killed by his own stupidity. Still, I had hoped he would see his children first so they could get some kind of closure in their relationship with him. I mean, I feel we were a bit robbed of Malta’s reaction to him after she’s been praising him so much.
🐲 So now Paragon looks like Fitz but with Kennit’s eyes? That’s a disturbing image.
🐲 “Take comfort in this, Amber. You are only one small, short-lived creature. You’d have to be a fool to think you could change the course of the whole world.” 😏
🐲 Final thoughts: Again I come to an end of a Hobb trilogy and feel that everything was wrapped up a little too nicely. Again, none of the good guys died and I feel we were robbed of some confrontations that were necessary to complete certain characters’ development. Especially with Wintrow, I think it’s bad that we didn’t get him coming to the realization that he was being manipulated by Kennit. I feel like it changes the way I see his journey through these three books. He also ends up with Etta which I’m not a fan of, no matter what form their relationship takes.
Generally, I really liked the book. There was a lot of action from start to finish and we finally saw all our characters come together so we could truly appreciate their immense development since book one. The ending took a lot away from my overall enjoyment though. I counted at least five instances of the miscommunication trope in the last 150 pages, and while it was fair enough a few of the times, it did start to bug me. I feel like we had so many interesting plotlines set up that didn’t get resolved in a satisfying manner. Maybe my expectations had gotten too high, but I feel like Hobb had made sure of that. Like with Assassin’s Quest, my main comfort lies in the fact that it looks like we’ll return to these characters at some point. Now I’m looking forward to getting back to Fitz.
What do you think of this book if you’ve read it? How do you like the trilogy compared to Farseer? Let me know what you think!