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Publisher's Summary

From the author of the classic Farseer trilogy, Ship of Magic is the first part of the Liveship Traders. Set in a land bordering the Six Duchies, Robin Hobb begins her epic of pirates, talking ships, magic, sea serpents, slave revolts, dashing heroes, and bloody battles.

Wizardwood, a sentient wood. The most precious commodity in the world. Like many legendary wares, it comes only from the Rain River Wilds. But how can one trade with the Rain Wilders, when only a liveship, fashioned from wizardwood, can negotiate the perilous waters of the Rain River? Rare and valuable, a liveship will quicken only when three members, from successive generations, have died on board. The liveship Vivacia is about to undergo her quickening, as Althea Vestrit’s father is carried on deck in his death-throes.

Althea waits for the ship that she loves more than anything else in the world to awaken. Only to discover that the Vivacia has been signed away in her father’s will to her brutal brother-in-law, Kyle Haven.

Others plot to win, or steal, a liveship. The Paragon, known by many as the Pariah, went mad, turned turtle and drowned his crew. Now he lies, blind, lonely and broken on a deserted beach. But greedy men have designs to restore him, to sail the waters of the Rain Wild River once more.

©2012 Robin Hobb (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Hobb is one of the great modern fantasy writers…what makes her novels as addictive as morphine is not just their imaginative brilliance but the way her characters are compromised and manipulated by politics." ( The Times)
"Even better than the Assassin books. I didn't think that was possible" (George R R Martin on the Farseer series)
"Hobb is a remarkable storyteller." ( Guardian)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    105
  • 4 Stars
    42
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    8

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    77
  • 4 Stars
    43
  • 3 Stars
    21
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    17

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    118
  • 4 Stars
    30
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    6
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars

can't listen to the book, bad reader!

narrator had no intonation, can't follow the story. returning the book. might try the paper version of this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book but I dont like the narrator

Really enjoyed the story as with all the Robin Hobb books but the listening experience was ruined for me by the narrator. I know the Hobb books are so much better if listened to in order and that is the only reason I continued to listen! The narrator sighs out every paragraph as if it is painful to her and her character voices are even more unpleasant to listen to! Thank goodness not all the books by Hobb are read by her or I would never listen to any of them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Couldn't finish it

As fantastic as the book was, the voice made it very difficult to sit through. I'd only listened to a couple of hours of audio until I had to go out and purchase a physical copy of the book so I could read it there.
Great book though!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lori
  • Australia
  • 17-12-2014

Narrator was fantastic

This series is an old favourite, loved revisiting the story in audio format. The narrator really does it justice - I love the way she does the pirate characters

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Didnt catch my interest like Farseer trilogy

Didnt catch my interest like Farseer trilogy, struggled to get into, characters not likable, struggle to finish.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

don't bother

the womens voice is terrible!!!. I have listened to the first chapter about 4 time and cannot get past the voice

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Speed up the narrator

Fantastic book - could not say better things about it. But I found the narrator very difficult to listen to...until I turned the speed up to 1.25x. Then it seemed to read a lot more naturally and not be so painfully slow/annoying.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Sad and slow

I struggled through 25 hours before I gave up. Too slow, too sad. When I gave up, I still cared nothing for any of the major characters.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kat
  • Australia
  • 09-04-2018

Robin Hobb is the best author in the world!

pirates, water serpents and live ships an amazing enchanting story from beginning to end, brilliant.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • CDN
  • Wester Australia
  • 09-04-2018

Loved this book

Great story.. brilliant storyline . Love the narrator, great job Anne Flosnik
All all I will read everything Robin Hobb has to offer. 😃

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nicola Beveridge
  • 19-08-2014

Annoying Voice

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Great book, Great Story, Great Writer, Pity about the narrator. It would be nice if they stuck to one Narrator for an author, I would have been very pleased to continue with Paul Bohemer, and I am disappointed with the change, I will make sure I listen to samples before I buy any more books from audible.

Would you be willing to try another one of Anne Flosnik’s performances?

No.
Anne Flosnik has an incredibly annoying voice, she seems to lisp, slur, speaks her words around the sides of her tongue and is almost sounds like she is trying to cast a spell with every sentence. I had intended to work my way through the Liveship traders series before I started the Tawny man series, but I have decided that since I read the series about 10 years ago, I will pass on buying the other two books and skip forward.

Any additional comments?

It has just occurred to me that there are other sites that do audiobooks, I have been happy having Audible as my sole provider, but I really don't want to listen to Anne Flosnik butchering any more of these books so I will have to look to see if this book is availiable from anyone else with a better Narrator.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Aimi
  • 26-07-2017

Excellent book let down by an abysmal narrator

Would you be willing to try another one of Anne Flosnik’s performances?

Hell no. Not if you paid me.
She is slow, monotone and entirely boring as a narrator

Any additional comments?

Speeding the audio up to 1.1x speed improves things significantly but this would be best fixed with a better narrator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • 27-09-2012

The playback skips words

Would you try another book from Robin Hobb and/or Anne Flosnik?

The story is engaging, however the recording skips words continually...
It looses meaning in some sentences

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mr Marcus B Kenny
  • 08-03-2017

Tip for those who don't enjoy this narrator

Try increasing the playback speed. I listened to this book at 1.10x and it made a world of difference. That is a tip to remember for any audiobook that you are not enjoying, try increasing the playback speed before giving up on the book.

As for the trilogy, I'm now well into the second book in this series, and it's ok. It's not as gripping as the farseer trilogy, but it is good enough to listen too. I look forward to returning to Fitz & the Fool, but this is proving to be entertaining enough, and the magical ships are wonderful.

It is frustrating how even when someone has been proven to be wrong in this book, they still stubbornly refuse to change their mind/opinion about something. (Very true to life though, just look at politics.) Like the whole Vestrit family, none of them ever seem to change their mind. It does make it a struggle for me to like any of the characters very much.

Anyway, give the series a go, the ships are wonderful, and if you find the narrator difficult to listen too, try increasing the speed. I honestly wonder if someone messed up the recording, and it's playing slower than it should.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-08-2013

Worst Narrator Ever!!!! Slow, Monotone, Bland

I am sure the book is quite good but I will be asking for a refund for this one. The Narration is just terrible. I am really sorry Anne Flosnik but this is not your calling.

There is no depth to the characters, she is incredibly slow even at 1.25 times the speed. its very mono tone so the book doesn't develop any real feeling as to what is going on. The spacing between sections in chapters is almost non existent and its really hard to follow from one part to the next. And all the characters sound the same boy or girl, old or young.

Looking at other reviews of this narrator this is a common feeling so its really disappointing that the entire series is read by this one lady. She just doesn't give the book justice.

Will be reading this one myself thanks!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-03-2013

Truly awful narrator

Would you try another book from Robin Hobb and/or Anne Flosnik?

I'd certainly read a book from the same author, but not the narrator unless for a very specific reason.

Was Ship of Magic: The Liveship Traders, Book 1 worth the listening time?

The story is good, the narrator almost made me give up.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jamilah
  • 14-08-2017

Do not buy! Horrible reading!!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Another reader would make all the difference. Anne Flosnik tries to do I do not what. I have read and re-read the books. The stories are wonderful.

What did you like best about this story?

The narrative is very good.

Would you be willing to try another one of Anne Flosnik’s performances?

No way.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment. I love the books, but Anne Flosnik's reading just kills them.

Any additional comments?

Horrible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tracey
  • 25-03-2013

Interesting concept

After reading the Farseer trilogy, I really wanted to skip The Liveship Traders and go on to the Tawny Man Series but all the reviews I read indicated these books should be read in the order they were written because some of the characters from here are brought into the Tawny Man. While not directly connected to the Farseer story, it is set just outside the boarders of the Six Dutchies.

I liked the characters and the idea of the liveships but dont understand what is going on with the sea serpents. It has taken quite a long time to start enjoying the story as I don't care for the narrator's voice/accent. We have Trader families in debt to RainWild families for their liveships, children used as bargaining chips, pirates, slaves and politics and an interesting mix up of characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sharon
  • 16-09-2018

If you can read the book, don't go for audio

This narrator is appalling! I mean seriously appalling. She reads as with no intonation other than elongating the last word of every sentence to extraordinary length. Then the voices she makes for the characters is just awful, I mean really awful.
Just read the book if you are able, the audio version is unlistenable

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Sofie Hildegard Ryen
  • 21-03-2018

Not for me

Neither the story nor the narrator was for me, I think. Other people who enjoy such books as the Song of Ice and Fire series will probably love this. Too much sexism and violence in the story's society for my liking. I only cared for three of the characters, Althea, Ophelia, and Vivacia, and I strongly disliked the rest cast. I would ho as far ad to say I hated the other named characters. The narrator put a strange melody to the sentences when she read, it sounded a bit like how we speak in Norwegian, but I didn't care for it in English at all. It made most sentences sound like questions, and there were a lot of strange, long pauses. I'm sure other people might love it, though!

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Eli
  • 15-11-2012

great story, disappointing narration

I love Robin Hobbs books, I have read them all and Ship of magic is no exception. However, the narrator does not do it justice. Maybe its a technical flaw in the recording or she simply swallow the ending of words but repeatedly through the reading the last letters in a word just disappears. Also, the "voices" she uses leaves me untouched, and sometimes annoyed. But the story is great and because of that i give it 3 stars; 1 for narrator and 4 for the story.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • henry
  • 05-04-2013

Amazing story. Poor narration.

I love Robin Hobbs writing style, and this book is a beautiful addition to the lush magical world she’s created. Certainly recommend to anyone looking to get into a new fantasy epic. But the narration was trying throughout and impossible at times. After the farseer trilogy being read by Paul Boehmer so movingly, Anne Flosnik was a huge step back. If I had any other option I would have read the live ship trilogy to avoid this narrator. Appalling voices, jarring pacing, and now I have to listen to her again in the next book.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ms
  • 17-11-2012

Good book, poor narration

Like the previous reviewer, I like Robin Hobb's books. Her style is flowing and characters accessible. However, the narrator is not a good match. There is little emotion in her reading, which sounds like a newsreader at times. I've not finished yet, and I'm open to her style growing on me, but at the moment it's actually getting in the way of the words. I suggest starting with one of Hobb's other series on this site.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Bonnie
  • 30-11-2012

Good book but the ends of words are clipped off

I love Robin Hobb's writing and the story in this book is as good as others I have read, but I agree with previous reviewers that a good book is let down by the narration. I am not keen on the reading style or the character voices, but that is a matter of personal taste and you can get a flavour of that from the sample, what caused me to stop listening after several hours is the way the ends of words are missing, you forgive the first few as a technical glitch, but it keeps on happening and each time it is more grating. Where have the ends of the words gone? I tried downloading the full quality version but the problem was the same. This is a poor quality audiobook for a good quality site such as Audible, wish I had read the reviews before buying.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Alex
  • 16-07-2013

Terrible narration

Any additional comments?

Having enjoyed the Farseer trilogy audiobooks I was shocked at the quality of narration. The narrator has a very odd and distracting cadence and the character voices are not great either. It made it completely impossible for me to get beyond the 1 hour mark in a book I know I like.

I will definitely avoid anything from the same narrator in future. Its the first thing I've regretted purchasing from audible and the first time I've felt driven to post a review.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Beth
  • 23-02-2015

Truly awful narration. Such a shame.

I've just finished listening to the farseer trilogy which were brilliantly written and well read by Paul Boehmer. I was therefore really looking forward to the next trilogy by Robin Hobb. Unfortunately after only 45 mins of attempting to listen to 'Ship Of Magic' I found myself forced to return this audio book. At first I thought I was listening at the wrong speed - but no! I spent the next 20 mins trying to decipher if the narrator was a real person or a computer generated voice. I was so fixated on the narrators lifeless delivery and in some instances bizarre pronunciation, that I was completely unable to follow the story. By far the worst narration I have encountered from Audible (and I have downloaded a lot of books). Robin Hobb deserves better. Mystifying decision to change narrators, and even more mystifying to allow this narration to be put into production.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Adie
  • 29-11-2015

Poor!

I love all of robin Hobb's stories but the lady reading put me off. It was like having mystic meg reading, so much so only did about an hour and realised I wasn't following rewound a couple of times but still couldn't get into.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Russell
  • 22-02-2016

Excruciating narration

I hadn't read any of the reviews of this production, or listened to the sample before purchasing. BIG mistake! Anne Flosnik's voice grated from the start, with a strange unnatural rhythm and unbelievable voices. Perhaps English is not her native tongue, but Audible could easily have found a far better narrator from amongst the many it can choose from. I hope that I can return this title, as I will never listen to it again.
Sadly I was forced to allocate one star for 'Performance. Too high in my opinion.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • alc
  • 31-10-2013

If only they had a better reader

These books are great stories but this reader is the worst I have ever heard. She needs to be sacked, her voice seems to be on slow speed and in an effect voice that you can not tell the difference between the different people. Cone on Audible you have mush better readers than this....Just look at the other books by Robin Hobb.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Helen
  • 22-05-2013

Maybe the paperback is better?

This was my first contact with the Liveship Traders and sadly, it's probably going to be my last. The narration was awful - I just couldn't follow the scene breaks and was horribly confused within the prologue alone. I also found the narrator's tone and pronunciation odd (at best)

I am so frustrated with the narration that I didn't get very far through the book at all. Robin Hobb has always been someone I wanted to try, but this experience has really put me off trying other books.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful