Thursday, April 08, 2004

Once again Robin Hobb took over my life for a few days as I read the Liveship Traders trilogy. It takes place in the same world as the Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies, and occurs in between the two chronologically. While existing as its own full story, it also fills in some gaps from the other books, in particular about dragons. The best thing about Robin Hobb's writing is her amazing creation of characters that are wonderfully real in their consistent flaws and mistakes as well as their moments of brilliance. This is no less true for the dragons. There's no doubt that the return of these incredible creatures will change everything, but not in a way that any human could have predicted. Yet it must be--as the Fool says in one of the Tawny Man books, "The skies must have dragons." For once the humans must learn to take orders again as well as giving them, and humble themselves into being lesser creatures. It's strange how unjust that seems at first!

Only one actual dragon appears in this trilogy, in the last book, but serpents (dragon larvae) abound throughout as they try to find their way to the hatching grounds. Along the way they are confused by the mysterious liveships sailed by humans, some of whom are strangely capable of connecting and communicating with the serpents. Every creature in the trilogy is essential to the story, and the various plots intertwine and weave together into a seamless fate.

I end up feeling rather disjointed and disillusioned with this world after immersing myself in Robin Hobb's, so much so that sometimes I start reading faster and faster in the need to get my life back to normal. It's an unsettling experience, and one I've never encountered with any other author. And yet I can't help but recommend and rave about her books, in the hopes that they join the ranks of classic fantasy.

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