The Bone Ships by RJ Barker — ARC Review

the Bone Ships by RJ Barker.jpgSummary:

A brilliantly imagined saga of honor, glory, and warfare, The Bone Ships is the epic launch of a new fantasy from David Gemmell Award-nominated RJ Barker.

Two nations at war. A prize beyond compare.

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.

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Review: 5 Stars

The Bone Ships was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I was lucky enough to get a physical ARC and as soon as it showed up I started reading it. I am an absolute sucker for criminals in fantasy novels, so I was pretty sure that I was going to enjoy this book. The only thing I was worried about is that since it takes place on a ship that it would have tons of descriptions of the workings of a ship and I would get bored. Luckily for me R.J. Barker did a great job giving you just enough information, but not boring the reader to death with the details.

I absolutely loved the characters in this book. Joron was an interesting character and I loved how much he changed throughout the novel. In the beginning he was an alcoholic and when the ship, Tide Child, was in his care it was a messy disaster. Lucky Meas became captain and whipped the whole crew into shape. She was fierce, bold and brave. She inspired Joron and the crew to become brave as well. At times I swelled with pride at how far they came and the camaraderie between the crew. I also loved the gullimae. The gullimae was a bird-like creature that controlled the wind who Joron was tasked to befriend. When the two of them grew closer it just made me so happy. The gullimae was so well written and an excellent aspect of the book.

The plot was so much fun. The hunt for the sea dragon was such an adventure and Tide Child had to fight several ships along the way. R.J. Barker’s writing was full of action and never wasted words on filler scenes that would bore the reader. I loved the entire book so much. It felt like a cross between a fantasy quest and a pirate story. I also am really glad that R.J. Barker didn’t try to shove a romance into this story. It didn’t need one, but it’s hard to find a book that doesn’t have a romance in it lately.

The Bone Ships was everything that I wanted it to be and more. The plot didn’t have unexpected twists, but at the same time it didn’t end the way I thought it would. After reading this I want to check out Age of Assassins, but I’m also psyched that there will be a sequel.

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