Call of the Bone Ships by R.J. Barker — ARC Review

Call of the Bone Ships by RJ BarkerSummary:

A brilliantly imagined saga of honour, glory and warfare, Call of the Bone Ships is the captivating epic fantasy sequel to RJ Barker’s The Bone Ships.

Dragons have returned to the Hundred Isles. But their return heralds only war and destruction. When a horde of dying slaves are discovered in the bowels of a ship, Shipwife Meas and the crew of the Tide Child find themselves drawn into a vicious plot that will leave them questioning their loyalties and fighting for their lives.

Review: 5 Stars

The Bone Ships was one of my favorite reads of last year. I loved it so much that it wound up having quite the influence on my reading preferences. I started seeking out books set on ships and discovered just how much I enjoy sea adventure stories. When I realized that the release date for Call of the Bone Ships was creeping up I scrambled to get my hands on an ARC. The sequel was absolutely incredible.

In The Bone Ships we saw incredible character development in Joron, a man who was unlikable and weak became a character who I wound up feeling really proud of. I wasn’t sure if Call of the Bone Ships would live up to its predecessor in terms of character development, but I should have never doubted R.J. Barker’s ability. Joron goes through some horrific losses in this book and somehow comes out stronger. While this is a book about struggle and pain, it is also an incredible story of perseverance, strength and character during times of adversity. Joron is a character I love to root form but also one that my heart aches for. R.J. Barker once again did a fantastic job creating characters that I love fiercely and an emotional journey that really had an impact.

The minor characters also grow immensely in this story. I really loved how we got to see past Shipwife Meas’ hard exterior and I truly felt we got to know her so much better in the moments that she let down her walls. I also really loved Dinyl and Cwell’s transformations in this book. I really wound up caring for these two characters who I had once hated fiercely. Of course I can’t talk about characters I love without mentioning Gullimae. Gullimae is a magical avian creature who calls the wind for ships. Gullimae plays a large role in this book as well which I was really happy about because he always makes me laugh. I really love all the characters in this series, big and small, that I could gush about each of them and their transformations for hours.

While Call of the Bone Ships is a character driven novel it also has an incredible plot that is full of action. There is so much packed into this book that it was really hard to set it down and go to sleep. Call of the Bone Ships was full of adventure and was paced well so that there was never a dull moment. The journey is full of loss and heartache, but there were also moments where I got goosebumps and moments where the tension was so high that I was on the edge of my seat. R.J. Barker really does a fantastic job building up dramatic moments in a way that you feel the impact. The writing is so vivid that I could smell the salt in the air and hear the orders on deck. This journey came to life in my mind and I just didn’t want it to end.

Honestly, I could gush about this book forever, but you should really just read it yourself. If you enjoy found families, stories of overcoming adversity, or just love an entertaining sea adventure, you should give this book a shot. R.J. Barker is an incredible voice in fantasy who told a fascinating sea adventure tale that also had deep messages about perseverance and strength.

Read my review of The Bone Ships here!

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