Call of the Bone Ships by R.J.Barker

I’ve been trying to write this review for an hour now and I keep getting stuck. I can’t seem to find the right words to explain my feelings after reading and finishing Call of the Bone Ships over the course of two days but I want to try.

This book makes me wonder whether I would be a good sailor, how long I would survive a life at sea. Seriously.

I don’t think I would be particularly good or last that long if I'm being honest but when I’m reading Barker’s words the experience itself, from the mundane to the outlandish, seem so close to real life fantasy that it makes me want to pirate. And yes I realise I wrote ‘real life fantasy’ and here’s why. If one has never lived on a ship as a pirate it’s another world and pretty tough to know what it would really be like but at the same time I literally could literally go and literally steal someone’s boat in the next hour, become wanted by the police, cause some mass distraction, drink some rum and possibly have time to look for sea monsters just to go all in. Sounds like 'real life fantasy' to me. I guess my point is that this little fantasy book had me so utterly invested in the world Barker has created that I saw myself dropping the Staystone as the boat pulled into an unfriendly port, I smelt the fresh sea air as it swept across a well kept deck and at times I felt wonderfully inspired by the actions of the men and women around me. I could swear they were around me.

With the release of this second book the Tide Child series is quickly becoming one of my all time favourites. The characters and crew are beautifully written and Joron is an admirable protagonist going through the meat of his arc. The world building is luscious and masterfully done and the story itself is a goddamn brilliant ride from start to finish. Have no hesitation picking up The Bone Ships or The Call of the Bone Ships. I think the finale is going to be a show stopper.


Thanks to Angela Man and all the fine people at Orbit books for sending me a review copy

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