The Bone Ship’s Wake (The Tide Child #3) by RJ Barker

Posted On 30 September 2021

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My Five Word TL:DR Review : A fantastic ending to series

BoneShips Wake

I have to say that The Bone Ship’s Wake could possibly be one of the most satisfying, slightly bittersweet and tear inducing endings to a series that I can recall reading.  Put bluntly, and if you don’t have time for the rest of this review – this series is superb.  If you’re already familiar with this particular author through his Assassins (Wounded Kingdom) series then you’ll know he can write some addictive fiction loaded with lovable characters and compelling plot.  He manages to find a winning balance between light and dark through the use of great dialogue, emotional impact and humour and his characters quite simply take on a life of their own.  I never quite expected to fall so hard for a seafaring story, in fact it felt a little risky in some respects to take such a step away from the fantasy ‘norm’ but the author pulls it off and then some.  In fact, towards the final chapters I was actually cursing out loud – ‘give these characters a break for pity’s sake’ – but, my pleas went (mostly) unheard. This is an author who will pull on your heartstrings relentlessly and who refuses to take the easy option.

I don’t intend to go into the plot much here although there may be some unintentional spoilers for the earlier books so if you haven’t yet started this series take heed (also take my advice and dive into this series soon).

A year has passed since Call of the Bone Ships concluded.  Meas is captive, held who knows where and tortured cruelly.  Joron now commands the Tide Child, although, for reasons that I won’t reveal, refuses to be named Shipwife instead becoming known as the Black Pirate.  He’s not proud of many of his actions since Meas was taken and is becoming desperate to find her before the truth will out and her chances of survival disappear.  This is truly a race against time as Joron is slowly being eaten away by Keyshan’s Rot.  You could be forgiven for thinking this a tale of revenge with one man at the heart of the story relentlessly chasing what seems an unachievable goal and going to terrible depths in order to do so but, in fact, it’s much more than that.  At its heart this is a story of hope, right and wrong and the sacrifices that people make to live decent lives free of tyranny.  Also, who am I kidding, there are sea dragons, tentacled beasts, mystical foggy waters that are believed to be haunted, dark, stormy and impassable seas and impossible chases.

Predominantly this third instalment spends a good proportion of the time on the high seas.  There are chases, fantastically described as these tall ships cut through the waves, nail biting skirmishes with sea critters and lulls where the Tide Child creeps silently through foggy seas hoping to avoid detection.  There is also a dramatic return to land and a daring plan of rescue fraught with betrayal and reveals.  In fact there are so many twists and turns that as a reader you eventually start to mistrust everything and doubt everyone – this is not easy to achieve and it’s so good because it creates an enormous amount of tension as you’re reading and keeps you glued to the page and constantly on edge.

The absolute, hands down, winning element is of course the characters and the amazing character arcs that have been experienced throughout the series.  Joron makes for excellent reading. He has committed atrocities and suffers accordingly.  Surprisingly for me, particularly with Meas being such a compelling character and so easy to love, I actually found Joron and Gullaime stole the show in this final instalment – and in fact I would say that the crew of the Child Tide reached the same conclusion as I did.

The other winning elements to this.  Well, the writing is superb.  Barker seems to have crafted his very own nautical language that is both easy and immersive.  I loved the time aboard ship and the ease with which we slipped into tension and danger and then escaped barely by the skin of the teeth.  On top of this I think the way the author has taken Meas and Joron and effectively turned them into, what would appear in simple terms to be stereotypical pirates with peg legs, eye patches, talking birds perched on shoulders, etc, but then actually managed to defy convention and make them so defiantly original – well, what can I say.  It’s impressive.

Any criticisms.  Well, apart from being sad that the adventure has concluded, I confess to moments of anger at the author’s relentlessly harsh treatment of the characters (*shakes fist*)!  The only other thing I would mention is that this is a series to be relished.  It takes it’s time to become established, to grow and reshape.  Basically, patience is not only a virtue but a requirement.  This isn’t a speedy read but to quote an old adage ‘all good things to those that wait’.

In conclusion, a stunning series not to be missed.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 5 of 5 stars


Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Bone Ship’s Wake (The Tide Child #3) by RJ Barker

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is The Bone Ship’s Wake (The Tide Child #3) by RJ Barker.  I am loving this series so I’ve been checking each week to see if we had an expected publication date yet – I am excitement!  Here’s the description:

BoneShips Wake

The sea dragons are returning, and Joron Twiner’s dreams of freedom lie shattered. His Shipwife is gone and all he has left is revenge.

Leading the black fleet from the deck of Tide Child Joron takes every opportunity to strike at his enemies, but he knows his time is limited. His fleet is shrinking and the Keyshan’s Rot is running through his body. He runs from a prophecy that says he and the avian sorcerer, the Windseer, will end the entire world.

But the sea dragons have begun to return, and if you can have one miracle, who is to say that there cannot be another?

Expected publication : September 2021

December Countdown, Day 19 : Christmas Carols

December book meme (details here). Christmas Carols – a book with musicians, songs or instruments :


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December book meme (details here).  Holly and Ivy – a book with great world building :


Call of the Bone Ships by RJ Barker (The Tide Child #2)

CallofFive Word TL:DR Review: I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Dear Hag what is going on?  This book has left me an emotional wreck.  I just don’t understand what is going on in the tiny spaces of my brain because I’m all over the place.  I want to cry and this just doesn’t happen, I’m a tough cookie, I taught hard nails a thing or two, I didn’t cry for Lassie.  I don’t cry.  But I so want to do so right now and it’s brilliant and unexpected and inexplicable.  Frankly, any book that gives me all the feelings is a winner.

I would mention at this point two things.  Firstly this is a second book in series and I do not think you can jump in at this point – and why would you anyway, the first is not only essential to understanding this world but is also damn fine so ‘how very dare you’ think of bypassing it.  Secondly, beware of spoilers – I don’t believe I’ve included any but who knows – you have been warned.

To be honest, and sorry for this, but this second instalment blows the first book totally out of the water (I know – but I couldn’t resist).  To be clear, I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, I really did, and I wondered if this would suffer maybe from second book syndrome, and, whilst there may be a slight set up for the final instalment going on here, this book is definitely not a suffering from any type of middle book sickness.  It works well, the characters grow, the author is bloody ruthless, there are skirmishes on land and on the high seas, it seems like the dragons have not perished or declined after all and there are prophecies afoot, oh my.

I am going to write nothing of the plot other than to say that Meas and her crew make a terrible discovery and are forced to throw everything they know into a heroic rescue type of mission that will leave many dead.  That is all I’m going for here so pick up the book and discover everything with fresh eyes for yourself.

This second instalment really takes us around the Hundred Isles.  The fights take place on land and on the sea.  There are huge kraken style monsters, so enormous that they cause Tsunami size waves and chaos in their wake.  There are islands where foul deeds take place and there be rescues.

In terms of the characters.  Well, Joren has come a long way by the time this book concludes.  I could say it’s exhausting watching his struggles, and it is to be honest, but it’s also satisfying.  Not everything goes according to plan, and Joren definitely goes through the wringer here but I loved all the gut wrenching emotion and the dramatic quests.  Meas, well, she is an enigma.  There’s something comforting about her presence whenever she appears on the page.  I was just like ‘please tell everyone what to do and save the day’, but of course, every now and again there are little cracks in the facade and she clearly fears her mother – so, Contrary Mary that I am – I cannot wait to meet her.

Why the emotion.  I can’t really pin it down to be honest.  I just fell for the characters.  There’s such a depth to them all and Joron experiences one of the most incredible story arcs.  There’s this whole feeling of acceptance,.  He’s not perfect, he may have disliked people for all the wrong reasons, but this books shows him prepared to learn, to find out about differences and to overcome things he never thought he would have to.  This is an author that can write all these little light bulb moments into a book but they’re so subtle that you feel like you’re turning on the switch yourself.  On top of this I feel like this is an author who has grown in style and confidence.

In terms of criticisms.  Stop killing people I like.  Please.  I will send cake.  Okay, not really a criticism but seriously I have nothing.  I would mention that this is not a quick read.  You need to sit down and pay it the respect it deserves but that’s not really asking too much is it?  Although, I would just mention, cliffhanger – but, oh what a cliffhanger.  Give me the next book soon for the love of the Hag.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 5 of 5 stars.

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