I'm getting behind on book reviews again, and I don't want to let that happen, so I'm going to do this now, though I probably won't do it as well as I'd originally hoped. It's been over a week since I finished the book and I'm starting to lose some details, and I'm really tired.
Anyway, today's book review is Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb.
This is the third book in the Liveships trilogy. Read Ship of Magic and Mad Ship first; a whole lot of stuff carries over from them. This book does tie things up reasonably well.
This book is a satisfying conclusion to the series. A lot of important things were pretty well foreshadowed, so they might not be surprising enough to satisfy everyone, but it made me fairly happy. The big problem that I had is that these books are just too long; even though I was really enjoying the read, I was having some trouble keeping track of all the threads and it just took too long to get through the book. I felt this more with the third book than the first two, even though it's actually slightly shorter in page count. This isn't really 3 800 page novels, it's one 2400 page novel printed in three volumes, and I felt the full weight of it as I was finishing the third book -- all the interesting world building, all of the characters, and all of the interwoven stories. It's pretty tightly written; this isn't one of those books where it's obvious to me that a lot of it should have been cut. All the different characters' stories are interesting; it's just overwhelming.
8 out of 10.
**** PLOT HIGHLIGHTS -- MASSIVE SPOILERS ****
I'm not going to try to cover everything, but I want to make some notes of the important bits.
Kennit/Paragon: we finally learn his full story, which was hinted at but not explained fully. His father took the family liveship and set up shop in the Pirate Isles, where he had a nice life, until he got raided by Igrot the pirate, who killed dad and took Kennit as a slave and sex toy to enslave the ship. Paragon took the memories, letting Kennit bury them, and tried to die, but liveships are hard to destroy. Kennit's plans for becoming King of the Pirate Isles are working out pretty well, until he gets mixed up with the kidnapped Satrap and the Chalcedean nobles kill him because he's in the way of the Satrap. Vivacia returns him to Paragon's arms to die, allowing Paragon to give him some release and at the same time to become whole himself.
Brashen/Althea: recognize that they belong together, and are ready to live happily ever after aboard Paragon, with Althea reconciled that Vivacia no longer needs her.
The dragons: Tintaglia continues to be arrogant as only a dragon can be, but shows signs of starting to value humans. She Who Remembers finds the serpents, and with Tintaglia and the ships, manages to guide them to the spawning grounds. Only a few of the serpents survive to cocoon, but some of them do. The humans in Bingtown are committed to helping them survive.
Reyn/Malta: both have a lot of scales and are kind of half dragon by the end of the book. Malta has grown up, they're in love, they're getting married.
Politics: With Kennit's death, Etta (pregnant with Kennit's child) is installed as Queen, with Wintrow apparently set up to be consort and captain of Vivacia. The Satrap, who has survived his ordeal and actually learned something, has made an alliance with the new kingdom and agreed to let Bingtown be honorably independent. Bingtown has reconstituted itself, with the Old Traders, the immigrants, and the former slaves all agreeing to be voting partners in the new government, which is independent but pledged to support the dragons.