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Liveship Traders trilogy by Robin Hobb| Series Blabber

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The Liveship Traders trilogy by Robin Hobb
Read Oct 16, 2016 – July 30, 2017
2324 pages
Spoiler-free blabber

This review has been a long time coming. I feel like this series has twisted my emotions into knots and then twists those knots into bigger knots. It’s been a while since I’ve read a series the whole way through and had it be so consistently good throughout – at no point was there bad writing or bouts of characters being out-of-character. It was all so consistent and persistent.

This series I buddy read with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks, and we’ve been both going back and forth now for months – we’ve been through a tornado of plot, character development, tragedy, action and emotional trauma. It’s been intense. So many messages back and forth full of nothing but capital letters and incoherent shouts (well… the in-coherency has been mostly me, hawhaw). But it’s been a lot of fun. :”D I totally recommend buddy reads.

The series starts off with the Vestrit family as they all gather around Ephron Vestrit, an elderly man whose life is about to fade away. This is an important event, as he will be the last of the three generations needed to pass away to cause the family’s Liveship – a ship made out of a mystical wood called wizardwood – to ‘quicken’, or come alive. With three generations of lives absorbed by a liveship, the figurehead on the front of it will awaken, retaining all the memories of those who have died on its decks. The Vestrit’s liveship, Vivacia, only needs Ephron’s passing before it can quicken.

So this is where the story opens – the family is rather large with various personalities contained within. Each character at the beginning is honestly a bit grating on the nerves, but each one (with… the exception of one) goes through major character development over the three books. Basically everyone that I loathed I ended up really liking by the end.

The world this series takes place in is the same one that Hobb’s Farseer trilogy does, but you don’t need to read that one to read this one if you don’t want to. The country that Farseer occurs in is mentioned a couple times but no background knowledge on it is really needed to understand what’s happening in this current series.

Otherwise, the world in this series starts out somewhat small-feeling but it quickly grows to encompass multiple cities, a satrapy, and a slew of islands. Each area has its own politics, sometimes ‘politics’, motivations and ways of life. I think the world is one of the strong points of the book – random POVs that seem just that come to light as to why they were even included later in the series. Everything pulls together so, so nicely without anything seeming forced. It’s really cool – really well thought out. I enjoyed it immensely.

The characters, as I mentioned above, feel like real humans. Each one has positive and negative traits – even the characters I loathed I could see their points of view and see their reasoning behind their actions. Most of the time, at least for the characters I hated, I totally couldn’t understand them… but I could at least understand them, if that makes sense. Sympathize vs Empathize, ya know?

Aside from the world and the characters, the most poignant part of this book is just the series of events that happens to these poor characters. This is not a light, fluffy book. Hardship after hardship happens to the Vestrit family and after a while, I found myself seriously rooting for them. Total mental anguish, man. It was so, so worth it though. I’ve said a billion times now that endings make or break a series for me, and this one totally made it.

I think the only thing I have to complain about in this series, the reason why it’s not five stars, is pacing. It’s all good writing but occasionally I found myself wondering why this scene or that scene was included at all. It dragged sometimes, particularly in books one and two. But like I said, it was all good, just… fast, then slow, then fast… then slooooow. A small thing, but once I noticed it I couldn’t not notice it. It was there, gah.

But overall, I generally love Robin Hobb’s writing and I hope it continues to be as wonderful as I continue through her Realms of the Elderlings saga. I plan to continue in September after I’ve had a decent amount of time to emotionally recover from the stress this trilogy put me through. Yikes yikes.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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Posted by on 08/09/2017 in Books, Review

 

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The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb | Blabber

The Mad Ship (Liveship Traders, #2)The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb
850 pages, mass market paperback
Read Feb 23 – May 7, 2016
Book two in the Liveship Traders trilogy
Spoilery Blabber

“Tomorrow owes you the sum of your yesterdays. No more than that. And no less.”

Every time I read a Robin Hobb book – this is the fifth one I’ve buzzed through now – I get an emotional hangover. This series in particular, I’d even call it an emotional flu.

Since this is a spoilery blabber, I’m going to assume if you’re here you’ve either read it already or don’t care about being spoiled. I’m also going to assume you already know the premise of the series. I’m also going to just write a bunch of thoughts out – this is not a ‘coherent review’. 😛

This book picks up where the last left off – the returning characters are just as despicable and wonderful as before. I grew to like characters I disliked before… and really really hate characters I already hated. Hah.

So the main theme of this book is obviously character development. Sorely, sorely needed character development. And it was wonderful.

Robin Hobb is really good at writing awful characters. I don’t mean awful as in badly written, I mean awful as in I hate them. They feel like real people but they are not people I would get along with. Kennit for instance. That bastard. Never have I despised a character so much that I actually would get angry while reading from their POV. If that isn’t a well-designed character then I don’t know what is.

I hope in book three, Kennit gets knocked down a few pegs. Seriously. So far he’s managed to manipulate Etta, Vivacia and now even Wintrow to his will. Gaaah I want someone to see through his bullshit so badly. He needs good, solid punch to the face.

Another character that went through a lot of character development, but in a positive direction instead of negative was Malta. It’s unfortunate that the loss of her father was what had to trigger it, but it really woke her up to the world around her. Towards the end of the book especially, I really loved her. Her snaps at the satrap were just fantastic. (I hate him too, so it was lovely). It was such a complete turn-around from her character in the first book, which seriously irritated me. I like Reyn too – he’s a decent fella.

This book I noticed spent about as much time away from the liveships as it did with them – about half the POVs weren’t anywhere near the water – it really lent to the largeness of the plot and all of the interesting subplots that I know are going to come together in book three. I seriously liked this book, especially towards the end. I reached an ‘AHHHHH’ moment and kinda buzzed through the ending (after…. taking a two day break to finish my coding project. You have NO IDEA how hard it is to reach the AHHHH part in a book and then put it down to do important schooly things, bleh)

All the subplots are starting to wind together at this point – we now know why it kept jumping to a bit of eel-y things in the water and why some of them seem sentient and others don’t. There’s a dragon flyin’ around and Paragon, darling Paragon, has developed a sense of multiple selves. Paragon I think is my favorite character in this series – he’s just so amusing, I wanna hug him. Granted, he’d likely either punch me in the face or cry hysterically or hug me back. It would really be up in the air. I think that’s why I like his character so much – he’s so out of character all the time that everything is in character. It’s neato. :”D

I will say though – and it’s a thing that I mentioned above – that this book is tiring. It’s so emotionally saturated that it becomes a chore to read it. Not because it’s bad, but because just so much heavy stuff happens to the Vestrit family, I kinda get worn out just reading about it, yeesh.

Rating: 4/5 stars


So yes, overall I dug this book. Made me feel droopy though. And my thoughts, as you can see, aren’t really coherent, hence a spoilery blabber instead of a non-spoilery review. :”D I’m thinking I”ll do a trilogy review on the whole thing once I finish the third book – that one will spoiler-free and more uh… readable instead of a bunch of tangent-thoughts, hawhaw.

Happy reading!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on 05/09/2017 in Books, Review

 

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo | Blabber

(I’ve decided to change the review titles from ‘yapping’ to ‘blabber’, just because that’s the catch-phrase of my blog as is. So there. :P)

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
The Grisha Trilogy, Book 3
Read Jan 12th (the whole thing)
422 pages
YA Fantasy

-Spoilery blabbing-
Dun read unless you’ve read the book or don’t care about being spoiled out your ass.

I started this book this morning around 4am and stopped only for about 30 minutes at 7:30am so I could drive to work, where I promptly started reading again because it was dead as hell. It’s now 1:30pm and I’ve just finished this thing.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a complete series so quickly before. I started The Grisha trilogy on Jan 5th. The first two books took me two days each to read, then I read a different book for a day while I waited for this one to arrive in the mail, then I buzzed through this one in about 9 hours. I feel like the speed at which I read these makes my opinions on them different than they would be if I would have taken them slower, but who knows.

This third book, the final in the series, was a very bittersweet read for me. Overall, I really liked it, but it left me feeling bleak, I guess. The story picks up in the caves where the characters had escaped to at the end of the second book – the setting stayed there for a few chapters or so while Alina recovered got worse under the Apparat’s care. Honestly at this point in the book, I was under the impression that Alina’s powers were gone, kaput, nada. I reasoned this much from her saying just that at the end of the second book. But hey, low and behold, it was just because she was out of direct sunlight. Which in itself is fine, but she seemed to know as much – she actively sought sunlight so she could use her summoning abilities again. It just confused me – why have her state her powers were gone if she knew that weren’t? Not a huge deal, but I feel it was unnecessary. Image result for jaimie alexander

The book itself has a bit of a slow pace during the cave scenes but picks up fairly quickly
once they escape from it. One of my favorite parts
about this book is the character development, particularly Zoya’s. In book one (and part of two) she was a very one-dimensional stereotypical mean girl. She still kinda holds onto that persona, but at the same time, we get to see a bit more into her personality and sense of humor, which was a refreshing change. I keep picturing Jaimie Alexander, who played Sif in Thor, in my mind as I read for her, too. So she’s totally and completely cast in my mind and any other choice if they make a movie or tv show will pale in comparison, hawhaw.

But anyways, the meat of the book: The ending. I both loved and hated the ending. When I was reading and when Mal was killed, I got upset. And then when the Darkling was killed I got really upset. Like, that almost ruined the book for me – Alina sitting in the sand with the two deadies on either side of her. Like really. It would have been awful to end it that way. But Mal ended up living, which saved the book for me. If she would have ended up alone and mourning both of them, I feel like I would have cast this book away and never looked back.

But Mal lived and Alina is happy. And Nikolai lived as well, though I feel like I wanted to read more about him.

But the Darkling man, the Darkling. WHY did he have to die. I feel like his death is what caused this book to bump down to a four star rating for me. Until that point, it had been a solid 5 stars easy. There were so many ways he could have lived and the plot would still make sense. But ugh man. Ugh. I’m so mad about that. Honestly it’s mostly because I’m team Darklina all the way. (I fully understand that he’s awful and in no way suitable, but like I said since the first book, I was fascinated and was rooting for him hahah). So now I need to go find my non-canonical fanfiction and just stew in there for a bit, thank you. But even with my ship not happening aside, the character still could have lived. Buh. BUH.

Happy-sad-frustrated ending to the book. It was a really good ending – a really solid ending and honestly probably the most logical one for all the plotlines that had been set up and needed completed. It was good. But it wasn’t what I wanted. 😛

Rating: 4/5 stars

 
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Posted by on 01/12/2017 in Book Discussion, Books, Review

 

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | Review and Spoilery Yapping

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Read Jan 5th- Jan 7th
358 pages
YA Fantasy

– Spoiler Free Reviewy Bit –

I’ve very, very late onto this bandwagon. I feel like everyone and their mom has read this book and that a review on it at this point might be a bit redundant. But hey, I’m gonna do it anyways.

Shadow and Bone was a fast paced fantasy where nothing happened and then everything did. I feel like that was my main problem with the book – its pacing was all over the place. That being said, I still loved the thing. I was (and still am) in the mood for YA fantasy and this book definitely scratched that itch in the best way. I can see why a lot of people enjoy this book, and at the same time, I can see where many had problems with it. Luckily for me, I’m on the ‘I like it’ side of the spectrum. There were a decent amount of tropes that this book fell victim to that should have bothered me but somehow didn’t. I really must have been in the mood for a book like this. I seriously enjoyed it but I can recognize its flaws.

The book begins a trilogy following a young woman who falls into the chosen one trope. Because of this, she’s whisked out of her military lifestyle to become a Grisha, a practitioner of the Small Sciences. The Grisha wear color-coded clothing, depending on which concentration they work in. The Darkling, for instance – the ruler of all the Grisha – wheres black. Summoners – those who can summon fire, water, etc – wear blue, yada yada. There are four different colors total, and what I found interesting was that while the Grisha made up a very small number of humans, they still had barriers between the different groups. Rivalries, jealousies, strengths and weaknesses. It was fascinating reading the politics between the groups for the little time that it was focused on. The main character Alina, finds herself placed in one of these groups, but saying which one is a spoiler and would ruin why she’s ‘the chosen one’.

The plot picks up after Alina begins her Grisha training and details about the multiple wars with other countries causing strife across the nation and the unsea, a vast, huge realm of darkness that stretches across the land like a scar, are revealed.

This book has action, romance, hints of ‘magic school’ness, even though all the Grisha whine ‘It’s science! IT’S SCIENCE SHUT UP’, and great world building. Based on Russian culture, this book is definitely unique in its background. I think one of my favorite things about this book is the strong female friendship present throughout most of it. The characterization is great as well – The Darkling in particular is fascinating. His motives, his actions, all of it. He’s like watching a train wreck. I just couldn’t look away. Alina’s character, while also pretty decent, I feel still lacks a bit of development. I’m hoping that’ll change in the future two books, especially after having to deal with the events in the first one.

The writing is wonderful as well. The usage of verbage and syntax sometimes almost give a poetic feel to the book and at other times, convey grittiness and despair. I really enjoyed the writing.

And my top absolute favorite thing about this book is that I had heard rumors about certain characters going in, so I was kind of waiting for something to happen, something that would prove these rumors, and when it finally happened, I was still caught off guard. I knew something was gonna happen and I still didn’t expect it. It. was. awesome.

Overall, I definitely recommend this book. It’s given a solid beginning to a series that I’m hoping will stay just as good throughout.

4.5/5 stars


– Spoilery Yapping –

Okay so, as of 2017 I’m going to start adding these sections to my reviews. Only read these if you’ve read the book or don’t care about being spoiled out your ass.

This book was exactly what I needed I think. A YA fantasy that had handsome dudes in it to get me out of my reading slump. I read this baby in two and a half days. That’s practically unheard of for me. So this book follows Alina, right. She’s this girl who in my opinion reminds me of Violet from The Invincibles. At least, I pictured an older version of her throughout this thing. A stringy, skinny girl that (shocker) is secretly beautiful. Like I said above, tropes that should bother me but somehow didn’t. I think it was the writing and characterization that kept me from being overly annoyed by the tropes. I was just enjoying myself so much that they didn’t irk me.

Anyways. Violet Alina is plucked from her life as a military recruit to be trained as a Grisha after she blinds a bunch of people with her body. Shortly after she’s convinced everyone around her that she’s not a living time-bomb waiting to explode, she’s introduced to The Darkling, who I’ve developed a weird obsession with.

Image result for the incredibles violetThe Darkling is this very attractive ancient organism who tells Alina she’s destined for great things. And gasp, Alina starts falling for the guy. As soon as this started happening, my spidey senses started tingling and I felt the imminent approach of a love triangle. That’s because Alina’s best friend Mal (also strikingly good looking) whom Alina is secretly in love with (despite her being near him for their entire lives and her never mentioning it, shocker) saves her life and is then shipped off into war. Misunderstandings abound and Alina pines for the guy until his perfectly-timed-to-cause-drama return.

But lucky me, I’m not so sure about this love triangle anymore, especially after the end of the book. This is that thing I mentioned earlier. That rumor. I had heard going in that people loved and hated the Darkling, that he was despicable but they still loved the guy. I was 50% into the book and was still thinking ‘I don’t see it. He seems like a decent guy’ and then wham. The Darkling is actually an evil bastard.

Everything that Darkling had done up until that point, the romance, the kindness, everything, evaporated. And though I knew something like that would have to happen to prove the rumors, it still caught me totally off guard. And that’s what made me love the book: The Darkling’s character. His character is written so, so so well. Alina, upon realizing his true intentions, went back over all of his past behavior and she came to the realization that all of it was manipulative, all of it. He played her like a fiddle and showed no remorse. And the best part was, I didn’t notice any of it earlier on either and Alina’s realizations were also mine. Even parts that she didn’t go back and cover, I did, and I found them to be full of ulterior motive. I loved it. This book, this character. He’s a conniving bastard and I think it’s spectacular.

I hate the Darkling and I’m obsessed with him at the same time. Alina’s a decent character, Mal is a decent character, Genya is a decent character, but the Darkling is just morbidly fascinating and it’s great. Really, he’s like a train wreck. It’s just so awesome.

Wah, I need book two, stat. I need more.

I just sincerely hope that the author doesn’t decide to be all ‘lol Stockholm Syndrome!’ because I think I’ll have to punch the book in the head. We shall see now, won’t we.

 
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Posted by on 01/07/2017 in Book Discussion, Books, Review

 

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