Review: The Bone Ships, R.J. Barker

Rating: 2 out of 5

I wanted to like this. Regrettably, I didn’t. I wanted to like it because it sounded so very good: what’s not to like about a fictional universe where ships and sailors are the central feature. As it turns out, the writing and creative aspects haven’t sailed along with the imagination if you pardon the pun.

I was continuously infuriated by the author’s tendency to introduce more and more ‘new’ concepts, entirely unique to his world. The reader really doesn’t have a clue whether the ‘word’ mentioned relates to something living or not, whether it is a beast or a plant, etc. In a world where the author has felt the need to revamp the entirety of the flora and fauna, this makes for a very complex introduction.

In addition, the plot is simplistic. Something bad happens, something good happens. The main character’s idol is faultless and can do no wrong; the main character himself had a *really* tough time of it to begin, but will just do better and better and become a fearsome warrior and glorious leader (no doubt of this though it hasn’t quite happened by the end of this book).

However, what is perhaps even more excruciatingly painful is that the author’s type of magic takes away all skill from seafaring as the majority of one’s capacity to sail (obviously not called “sailing” in the book…) and wage war comes from magic wind-creating birds. And, no one in the history of the world seems to have ever asked these birds any questions even though they are intelligent and speak.

These issues make me think I won’t bother with the rest of this series.

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