The Bone Ships – RJ Barker ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A kickass female lead on the high seas. What more could you want?


For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war. 

The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persisted. 

Now the first dragon in centuries has been spotted in far-off waters, and both sides see a chance to shift the balance of power in their favour.

Because whoever catches it will win not only glory, but the war.

This is a story of interesting ships made from sea creatures called keyshans. It’s a strange society on the Hundred Isles that thrives on women giving birth to healthy unmarked children who then become ‘Bern’ aka the ruling class, if they give birth to marred children they are then ‘Berncast’ who are second class citizens. The first Bern child is sacrificed to the fleet and becomes a corpselight.

The Tide Child is a ship condemned to the black and is now a home of criminals to serve out a sentence before their death. It’s their one last shot at redemption, though few ever escape this sentence.

After a successful change in leadership ‘lucky’ Meas Gibryn takes over the ship and sets about making the crew ‘ship-shape’. Meas herself should have been sacrificed herself as she was the first of 13 children born but was taken by a wave and washed ashore unharmed later. This is how she earned her life and lucky status.

I love Meas, I am always such a fan of a kickass female lead that abandons the traditional views of how women should be. Meas is hardened and wickedly clever. Joron on the other hand, I thought he would be quite annoying but he actually had a really interesting character arc. He started out as a bit of a weak and spineless drunk but turned into a respected leader in his own right. His feelings for Meas changed throughout the story and became a great deckkeeper.

Other characters that fascinated me were the Gullaime of the Tide Child. He’s unique and I loved the backchat both from him and Black Orris the bird.

The world building is great, a unique fantasy and once you’re in, you’re hooked. I can’t wait for the sequel.

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