25 Years of Spectra: SHIP OF MAGIC (1998) by Robin Hobb


I’ve already discussed Robin in an earlier post Assasin’s Apprentice post, so I’ll just let the author and editor talk about this novel ,Ship of Magic.
I will say that I have not, unfortunately, read these books yet, and I am covered in shame and remorse. Like I discussed in my Katherine Kerr post, though, they are towards the top of the pile, and I’ve only heard great things about them.
Arrgghhhh! So many great books.
(Not actually complaining).

“Writing The Farseer Trilogy was the most emotionally intense writing that I’d ever done in my life. By the time I reached the end of it, I was ready to leave Fitz in peace with Nighteyes and move on to something new. The Liveship Traders Trilogy embodied something I’d always wanted to attempt: a swash-buckling tale of ships and pirates and sea serpents, with lots of politics and family drama tossed in for good measure. I wanted to write an unredeemably evil villain and a truly horrid young protagonist. I knew Ship of Magic with its sentient figureheads and lively Bingtown trade would take place in the same world as Farseers, but had no idea at the time I began it that it would become so tightly connected to that tale. Nor did I realize that I would come to love both Kennit and Malta as much as I did.”

–Robin Hobb, June 2010


“Robin Hobb was another of my inherited authors, and another one I was over the moon to have inherited. I took over during Assassin’s Quest, though I had been reading the series since it first published. (Amusingly, at the time, books were listed in our then computer system by the first three letters of any consecutive words in the title each longer than four letters. So I am afraid that the books of the first trilogy, in my head, will forever be: AssApp, RoyAss, and AssQue.)

Now, don’t get me wrong; I do love my Fitz. But I think I am one of the rare types who loves the Liveships books even better. Partly, it is just my own personal fascination with all things nautical–and Megan (as I can’t help but call her) knows her nautical. But really, I think it all comes down to two things.

  1. I will never forget the moment I called Megan about something minor, then asked how the book was going, and received the following (paraphrased) answer: “Well, I just cut off a character’s leg, and I have no idea how it is going to affect the rest of the book and the series.” I mean, how can you not love seeing the wheels in motion like that?
  2. Malta. What can I say about Malta? Oh, how I hated her at first! Petulant, spoiled, self-centered, wrecking everything around her… I viewed her scenes as I would a traffic accident: kind of horrifying, and yet I couldn’t look away. For a book and a half, I grew progressively more annoyed with her–while still being unable to look away. But just when I was about to reach the point of no return…suddenly Megan turned the tables on me, and Malta became the strongest, most fascinating character ever. She went from being one of my most hated to one of my most loved characters of all time–and in something like 20 pages. I still don’t know how Megan did it, but it still awes me. Malta; yeah. Man, I love that chick.”

–Anne Groell, Senior Editor, Spectra


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