Ship of Destiny marks the conclusion to the Liveship Traders trilogy, the second out of five subseries in Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series, and it was overall a satisfying conclusion. I really have to give this praise to Robin Hobb. Having read six books and one novella so far, whether I love it or not (mostly love), I found all her stories to be unpredictable. The book is filled with—once again—amazing characters developments, political turmoil, dragons, and a few great nautical battle scenes. In addition to that, there are a lot of revelations to secrets that were hinted ever since the first book; everything was resolved with no loose ends and at the same time the book also shed light on what to comes in the future series. I almost absolutely loved reading this one, there were things I disliked which I’ll get into later but first let me dive talk a bit about the characters in this trilogy.
I’ve praised Hobb on her characterizations strength in all my review of her books so far and I envisioned you’re going to see it an occurring event. Hobb is seriously superb in developing her characters in this trilogy. Almost every single character ended up playing a role that gave the story its own charm and none of the characters in this trilogy ended up the same way from their first appearance; I mean it, every single character has gone through their own battle and struggled that changed them, for better or worse. I had a problem with the serpents POV in the first and second book, they felt completely unnecessary, but in here it all finally makes sense why they are necessary. The only character that remains the same was Amber and there’s a special reason for that.
There’s this phrase that’s used countless times in many novels, especially in YA fantasy, “she’s unlike any other woman” which ironically, makes the female characters mentioned the exact copy of all the other woman that received that description. However, I can assure you that Malta seriously deserves the title of “unlike any other woman”. This character’s growth from the first book to the third book is a coming of age tale at its finest. She grew from a highly spoiled brat and one of the most despicable characters I’ve ever read into one of the most interesting characters in the trilogy. And then there’s the liveship, Paragon which I can’t stress highly enough how happy I am reading his storyline and background. One final thing on the characters, Hobb seriously isn’t afraid to make her characters suffer.
“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.”
Hobb has spent a lot of time building towards the last 250 pages and it was really worth it. The moment of convergence where all the characters that have been spread out across the continent throughout the trilogy were rewarding to read. This made the last 250 pages of this book incredibly compelling to read. Unfortunately, despite my praises, I still can’t give this book a full 5 stars.
This book was, in my opinion, a bit too huge for its own good. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind reading a tome, I absolutely loved and finished Oathbringer (450k words) in 5 days and I still wanted more from. But this one was simply unnecessary long. There were at least 100 pages that were practically Hobb repeating things that have been stated. This was more evident in the first 300 pages of this book during the Bingtown political discussions, which went on for way too long. Right now, I don’t even remember half of the discussions that were discussed there because they were almost like fillers after a while. I mentioned this in my previous review and I still think that Serrila’s POV was completely pointless in my opinion. It can be cut off completely and it won’t affect this trilogy at all. Having read up to this point though, I guess I’ll just have to accept that Robin Hobb has a trademark to ramble and being wordy than necessary, whether it’s her own fault or the editors I have no idea. These are all just minor issues I had, the second half and Hobb’s prose was fantastic, otherwise, this would be a gigantic problem.
For those of you who are wondering if you can read this without reading Farseer or not, you absolutely can if you want. There’s one major character from the Farseer trilogy that’s here but if you haven’t read Farseer, you probably won’t know it’s him, that’s all you’ll miss. However, if you’re willing to read Farseer, I strongly recommend to finish the first two book and see how you feel about it first. If you don't like it, just read a summary of the third book, Assassin’s Quest, on Wikipedia. It will save you a HUGE amount of time and believe me, that book deserves to be skip, finishing that one almost made me give up completely on Robin Hobb, and this is coming from someone who actually enjoyed the first and second book in the trilogy.
Overall, The Liveship Traders is still a marvelous and satisfying trilogy to read, it’s so much better than the Farseer trilogy in my opinion. Also, I’m now super eager start Tawny Man, which from what I’ve heard is the most highly praised trilogy written by Robin Hobb and I will definitely do that after one or two book break. Although this fell a bit short to be included into my all time favorite trilogy list, I still highly recommend this trilogy for anyone who loves epic fantasy with a lot of characters POV and well-written characters’ development.
Picture: My copies of Liveship Traders
Ship of Magic: 5/5 stars
The Mad Ship: 4/5 stars
Ship of Destiny: 4.5/5 stars
Liveship Traders: 13.5/15 stars