November 1, 2015

Books I Have Read (October 2015)

Filed under: Books — Tags: , — rvchua @ 11:24 pm

1. Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

2. The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb

3. Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb

I spent the past 3 weeks reading Robin Hobb’s The Liveship Traders trilogy, the 3 books in total are more than 2K pages. This series is much better than the earlier Farseer trilogy. Engaging storyline and interesting strong female characters. The dragon lore in this trilogy is more complicated and fascinating than Naomi Novik’s Temeraire. Dragons are lords of water, earth and air! There was a lot of character development and you understand the characters better because of the shifting points of view. My favorite characters were Brashen and Amber (she is like The Fool, right?). The Vestrit female characters were strong in their own way and I was surprised with Malta’s transformation. However there were a few things in the story that irked me. One is the way women are seen by men and how they casually  explain rape as something that women wanted. Yes, there were a couple of rape scenes of two main characters that were disturbing (one of which people did not believe it happened) and a few references of women slaves being raped. Thankfully Althea was able to let go of what happened to her but I wasn’t completely convinced with how Paragon explained what happened (transferring of pain?). Though Kennit was an interesting character, he was completely deplorable not just with the things he did but also how he was able to manipulate people and make things go his way. Even his martyred death made my skin crawl. As for Wintrow, I was annoyed with his philosophical platitudes, his complete support of Kennit and his disbelief of what happened to Althea. The love between a liveship and a member of its trader family bothered me, I did not consider it as love, more of an obsession or even a form of slavery. The biggest thing that I have about this trilogy (and perhaps with the other Robin Hobb books I have read) is its unnecessary length. The author loves to meander and repeat (Reyn worried if Malta would accept his appearance, etc) and extending the page count. Despite the things that annoyed me, overall this is a highly original series. I need to take a break (I have a headache and a reading slump is looming nearby) though before I go back to the third book of The Farseer trilogy.

4. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – This was a joy to read, I was even laughing at some parts that sound extreme but for me I totally understood. Although I am a minimalist, I think there are still some ideas from the book that I can make use of, I am planning to read the book again soon to focus on it. I have heard of polarizing views on the book, for those who don’t know about Shintoism or the Japanese mindset this might be too out there. But I really liked this book and I can’t wait to see in youtube how people applied it to their lives.

5. Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews – This was another solid and enjoyable Kate Daniels book. Actually this series is my benchmark for all urban fantasy and this is the reason why I can’t get into Mercy Thompson series because of the similarities. I missed the interaction between Kate and the Pack but this book serves as an introduction when Kate and Curran take over the Mercenary Guild. Fortunately this time around there are no devastating losses, I miss Aunt B. Also I found it funny that Roland insisted to have dinner at Applebee’s. In the next novel, it is expected that Kate and Curran will finally get married or maybe not?


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