March 16th, 2010

Book review: Mad Ship

Today's book review is Mad Ship by Robin Hobb.

This is the second book in the Liveship Traders trilogy, closely following on Ship of Magic.  It's definitely the middle book, with some stuff happening but a lot more on edge waiting to happen.

Ship of Magic is one of those books that stayed with me and kept growing in my memory, so I was becoming very eager to read more by the time I got my hands on this one, and I'm afraid my own anticipation may have overhyped it to the point where I had to be somewhat disappointed.  The story continues to be very engaging, and I was reading it avidly, devoting most of my time to it, and it still took a whole week for me to get through it.  We learn a big ugly secret, the center of the whole series, that was only hinted at in the first book.  We get real ambiguity in the big villain in the first book, and we have to try to figure out if he's really a villain or one of the heroes.  A whole lot of trouble gets stirred up, and while one big step happens in the direction of resolving the whole story, there's a whole lot of uncertainty, and pretty much all of our characters are still in one deadly peril or another, so I'll definitely be cracking the third book soon.  But while it was definitely good and exciting, it was also too long, and a bit too complicated for my poor little brain.

8 out of 10.

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I went to Kickapoo this afternoon.  It was still a little cool, forecast high of 60°F, but the sun was out.  I went backwards around the north Riverview loop, and it was warm enough by the little bridge to actually take my jacket off and catch a little bit of the sun in just my T-shirt.  I got into the woods, along the rugged "hard" branch of the trail, and I thought I saw a couple of butterflies.  I'd almost convinced myself it had just been a falling leaf and wishful thinking, and then there they were again -- a couple of small orange-brown butterflies in a mating dance.  Seeing them really made me feel like I've actually lived through the winter.

I spent about 2.5 hours at the picnic table along the trail writing, and it felt quite a lot colder as the sun was setting and I was leaving.