Isle of Swords by Wayne Thomas Batson hit shelves in September, 2007.
A young lad awakens on an island, alone and brutally injured, with no memory of his past.Captain Declan Ross searched for riches that will free him and his headstrong daughter, Anne, from the piracy business forever . . . Bartholomew Thorne, an infamously ruthless pirate, seeks to destroy Ross and any who stand in his way of the legendary treasure hidden by a mysterious order of monks. With these intriguing characters and many more, Wayne Thomas Batson weaves a spell-binding adventure filled with high-seas drama where battles rage, storms brew, a long-dormant volcano awakens, and a sea creature slithers in the deep as pirates race for a cliff-top fortress.
Sigh. I had the biggest expectations for this book. I adored the Door Within Trilogy (by the same author). I thought they were the bee’s knees. And I was so excited when I found out that he’d written more books, and even more exciting, the school library actually had them! Yay!
Turns out, Wayne Thomas Batson’s writing isn’t really the style I like to read any more — third person, past tense, jumping points of view quicker than a frog on a frying pan. It didn’t work for me. It starts with a totally unrelated scene, the next chapter leaves you wondering who it’s talking to. I didn’t get it. It didn’t hook me. Simple as that. It took me so long to get into it, I wanted to get out of it and read something more exciting.
One of my biggest problems was the age it was aimed for. The writing style would work for 10+, definitely. The content? 12+. It’s about pirates who haven’t exactly signed a pacifist pact. It’s violent (more so than the Door Within.) It’s not “ah, this is terrible and untasteful” violent. It’s violent as in “I don’t think a younger audience needs this” violent.
It’s a Christian book, so it’s clean in every aspect other than a bit of bloodshed. I knew that when I started reading, and in the back of my mind dwelt the thoughts, “Christian pirates? Okay. I have got to see how he pulls it off.” Very well done, I’d say, except I don’t think monks should be blowing people up. Still. Makes for a snappy character.
Speaking of characters, they were okay. Not astounding. Not engaging. But definitely not dull. Some of them (particularly Anne) were carbon copies of characters out of the Door Within. I didn’t like that. All the same, if you haven’t read the Door Within series, the characters would be just fine.
The plot! Oh, that was the best part. Okay, it sounded like Pirates of the Caribbean in a couple of spots, but I think it’s nigh impossible to write a pirate book without sounding like Pirates of the Caribbean. (If you’re pro-pirates in the book, that is.) But other than that, it twisted and snaked in a most delicious and complicated way, ending cruelly unsatisfactory — then I, of course, remembered there’s a sequel.
I felt really bad giving one of my favourite author’s books such a low rating. I read the reviews on shelfari, and they all adored it and thought it was wonderful. And I’m sure it would float other’s boats (no pun intended) but it just didn’t float mine.
Review by Mime in 2012.