CALL OF THE BONE SHIPS by RJ Barker. Review.


Orbit Books. p/back. £9.99.

Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.

Joron Twiner still wears the one-tailed hat, and Lucky Meas the two, aboard The Tide Child, condemned ship of the dead. Solemn Muffaz, Barlay, Dinyl and the rest are now a loyal, responsive and able crew… most of them anyway, and Joron is admired where he was once looked upon with scorn and distrust. He has formed a bond with the strange gullaime, too though he does not yet understand how it will change him.

Meas, Twiner and crew had refused to kill the arakeesian sea dragon and betrayed Indyl Karrod in the process. Joron’s shipwife wants an end to war, but the rescue of a troubled trader in the Scattered Archipelago brings a new mystery and a new host of troubles to The Tide Child.Troubles that will stay with Joron Twiner long after the ship has sailed away.

Call of The Bone Ships quickly plunges the crew into their next adventure, and the action does not let up until the end, which leaves us set for a climactic finale to the series. A steady tension is woven through the narrative, which keeps the pages turning as Joron is propelled from one situation to the next. As a hero, he is admirable for his unwaveringly steadfast and determined approach to a life he never sought, and whilst his connection with the windtalker deepens, its mysteries are still to be discovered.

The true strength in The Tide Child Trilogy, the worldbuilding,remains as firm as ever in this second book. The dialogue, magic system, and the physical world are solidly crafted and gift the reader complete immersion in the narrative. The beautifully intricate illustrations, maps and extracts from sea ballads only add to the experience and grant the story absolute credibility. The third in the series is eagerly awaited.