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The Bone Ships

De : RJ Barker
Lu par : Jude Owusu
Série : Tide Child Trilogy, Volume 1
Durée : 17 h et 2 min

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Enter the Hundred Isles, where ships made from the bones of extinct dragons battle for supremacy on the high seas.

Our hero Meas Giryn must unite a crew of condemned criminals for a suicide mission when the first live dragon in centuries is spotted in far off waters....

From David Gemmell, Kitschie and British Fantasy Award-nominated RJ Barker, author of Age of Assassins.

©2019 RJ Barker (P)2019 Hachette Audio UK

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  • Dianthaa
  • 20/01/2020

Great story with excellent narration

The Bone Ships,Tide Child #1, by RJ Barker is another one of those books that I picked up based on hype alone, and luckily, I loved it. I loved it so much, that this is gonna be one of those gushing reviews.

The worldbuilding is great, the eerie magic lights, the sea-dragon-bone ships and the matriarchal society with some pretty bonkers views. The entire story takes place on and around islands set in one hemisphere of the world, and I’m very curious if further books in the series will give us more info on the rest of the world and the scale of it.

The narrator has such a deep lovely voice, and he does a great job bringing the vivid text to life, one of the cases where I’d recommend going for the audio if you can. I really enjoyed the writing, it has a lot of made-up sailing jargon, but I didn’t have any problems following along, and it’s often quite beautiful and musical, even when it’s just sailors cursing. I found the language sort of playful, a lot of fun with rhythm for instance, which came across great in audio. It also recently won an Earphones Award from Audiofile magazine. There are a lot of made up words that I thought add flavour to the world, most of them are close enough to English, or clear from context, that I didn’t have any problems, things like sither instead of sister, deckchild instead of sailor, different names for the days of the week, etc.

The world itself is dark, which I normally avoid, but because of the humor, the main characters working towards improving this grim reality, and the overall hopeful way characters and their relationships grow, I really liked it. The world also felt very real to me, I think because of all the details of ship life. I can see Tide Child and a lot of the other places they go, and creatures they meet, so clearly in my mind, I almost remember being there.

Joron is the inexperienced, and mostly incompetent, shipwife of Tide Child, a dead bone ship crewed by women and men sentenced to death for their crimes. Luckily for the survival of the crew and ship, the book opens with him losing his command to Lucky Meas, a much more experienced and competent captain. She whips the ship and crew into shape, and draws them into her plan to hunt down an Arakeesian (sea dragon). I absolutely loved everything about how the crew was transformed by having a leader and a purpose, for a rag-tag bunch of drunks to a strong and united crew. Joron’s the POV character, so naturally it centers on him, and his growth, both in his own eyes and those of the crew is pretty damn great.

Despite Jorun being the MC, and really digging his personal journey, he’s not my favorite character. I read someone else saying how Meas is much more like a typical protagonist, and I agree, it also helps that she’s very kickass. But my favourite character is the tragic Gullaim, a navigator bird-like magical creature (windseeker) I liked how otherworldly he was, and the story of his people broke my heart.

I thought it was cool how I listened to this in October and then again in January, so being such a short time between them, I was surprised when emotional moments that got me the first time around got me the second time around.