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REVIEW: THE BONE SHIPS BY RJ BARKER (The Tide Child Trilogy Book 1)

The Bone Ships The Tide Child Trilogy Bd.1 ebook |

Rating: 8/10


Excellent . . . one of the most interesting and original fantasy worlds I’ve seen in years’

ROBIN HOBB, author of The Assassin’s Apprentice

***Winner of the Robert Holdstock Award for Best Fantasy Novel***


For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war.
The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persisted.
Now the first dragon in centuries has been spotted in far-off waters, and both sides see a chance to shift the balance of power in their favour. Because whoever catches it will win not only glory, but the war.

A brilliantly imagined saga of honour, glory, and warfare, The Bone Ships starts an epic new trilogy from David Gemmell Award-nominated RJ Barker.

‘A vividly realised high-seas epic that pulls you deep into its world and keeps you tangled there until the very last word’
EVAN WINTER, author of The Rage of Dragons

‘An epic tale of duty and obligation and honour, and what bravery really means . . . I can’t recommend it enough’
PETER MCLEAN, author of Priest of Bones

‘A viciously exciting adventure. I loved every second of it’
TASHA SURI, author of Empire of Sand

‘Swashbuckling awesomeness . . . a fascinating world and a twisty plot, both rooted in characters I came to care about. A definite winner’


‘The Bone Ships has already built up plenty of anticipation – and with good reason … Barker’s previous series, the acclaimed The Wounded Kingdom Trilogy, was a powerhouse of gritty fantasy, and The Bone Ships promises to launch one of this season’s greatest, grandest dragon sagas’


The Bone Ships is a fantasy novel that I would class under realism and historical naval fantasy that pays a tribute to the swashbuckling days of C.S Forester and Moby Dick. This world is rich, this world is alive, and this world has a lot of nautical terms that would have been better placed to serve in the beginning rather than the end of the book in my opinion. There is a rich emphasis on the combat, the way ships are run, handled by crewman, and how hard they are to operate. Most of the time, it shows that running a ship and a crew isn’t easy and that as Shipwife, you have to trick your crew into believing they are more than they are. A lie always helps at the end of the day when you’re thousand of miles into the sea and all you have is the blue ocean. No land.

On the one hand, I felt the beginning was rather slow and that during the middle of the book, the pacing was up and down. On some moments you’d have very exciting scenes with Joron and the Guillame, but on the other you then often had another cast of characters introduced that sort of impeded the process. I feel there were too many points of view within this part of the novel. On the other hand however, the worldbuilding was key to make the reader involved. The prose is great at times, and I did feel a bit of connection to Joron. Not too Meas however, unfortunately. I had a complete dislike of Karrad, and his henchmen. I also grew to like the crew of the Tide Child, but in my opinion, this book had too many characters (mostly just the crew of the Tide Child) that were competing for each scene. I feel this novel was intentionally set up as a foundation for the next book in the entry and I don’t mind that.

It definitely has its strong moments when we are with Joron often and we view the ship through his eyes. The Hundred Isles is a place of brutality, and it has the most messed up society I’ve seen. But it embraces the proud nautical tradition of novels written on the subject so there’s plenty of swashbuckling action and boasts and whatnot. I think a TV series would be fantastic for something like this. I did enjoy it in my opinion, and I cannot wait to read and review book 2!

Published by Mada

The Medjay of Fayium is a book blogger reviewing sci-fi and fantasy. He reviews fantasy set elsewhere from Medieval Europe, and is a keen gaming youtuber, and reviews video games and TV shows. I particuarly look to fantasy that pertians to Ancient India, Mughal India, Tang China, Medieval Africa, Medieval Japan and Native American Inspired fantasy. I review YA, Paranormal, alternate hisory. My goal is to give readers that are tired of reading the same setting in fantasy something unique. I love Medieval fantasy, but I want some more exciting. I especially love Historical Fiction and love the Crusades, Ancient Rome/Greece and the Classical World, and the Bronze Age. Egypt and the Hitties are my most favorite periods.

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