Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Desolation Island by Patrick O'Brian

#5 of the Aubrey/Maturin series, and like most of these books so far, a solid 8 for me. Let's see what I can say that isn't spoilery for the earlier books.

Most of the story takes place at sea, which is always a great relief in this series. (Nothing good ever happens on land in this series.) The main plot revolves around transporting a number of convicts bound for the penal colony in Australia. This is surprisingly complicated. It is also amusing how annoyed Jack is at having to transport prisoners. Stephen: "But you take prisoners all the time, when you capture a ship and imprison the crew." Jack: "THIS IS DIFFERENT. What's worse: some of them are WOMEN."

... The misogyny in the series does wear on one, even when it's clear it's the characters' views and not the author's. c_c

There is a breathtaking, brilliant section where the crew is dealing with the effects of a major storm, one crisis after another, where I was struck by how real it all felt. Like, this is the story that shows you that 'ship caught in a storm' is not just a trope, but a real thing that happened to real people and this is one (of many) ways that it could turn out. Eye-opening and gripping.

I have 8 books still out from the library, but I really need to either read or return the one that's due back on Tuesday. There's no possibility of renewing it -- it's ridiculously popular and I had it on hold for a month before it showed up, so of course yet more people are waiting for it. I haven't started it yet because (a) I've been reading other books that were for the most part also due back soon (too many books checked out + 5 days of not reading while I was in Seattle = not enough time to read them all) and (b) I do not have high hopes that I'll like it (which is also why I am not naming it here). Despite being popular, most of what I have heard about this particular book has been bad. But I am curious, so I'll at least crack it open before I return it. Anyway, three days is plenty of time to finish it if I actually like it.
Tags: book review, books, review

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