Book Review: “A Darker Sea” by James L. Haley

I am embarrassingly behind on reviewing the ARC’s I’ve received. But, book junkie that I am, I can’t seem to stop requesting them.

I received a copy of A Darker Sea by James L. Haley from First to Read. Because their books are downloaded through adobe and expire within a month, I dropped everything to read it while I had the chance.

img_9994

This book is about Master Putnam’s experiences at sea during the war of 1812. Not knowing much about this time period prior to this book, I found portions of the narrative very interesting, like its detailed descriptions of maritime warfare and life at sea.

It was the novel aspect of the book that I found wanting. I didn’t think characters were compelling or well developed. This could have resulted from it being second in a series, though it was advertised as a stand alone, but also could have been because the writing style was not to my liking. I felt cheated by the way random historical information worked its way into the plot. It was as if the author thought, “Wow, the pencil was invented during this time. Hmm, how can I manipulate my characters to inform my readers of this interesting historical tidbit?” Stories should invite you in and carry you along. I have difficulty getting on board when I feel like the author is playing dolls with his characters.

While I personally think I would have enjoyed this book more if it had been nonfiction, I could imagine it appealing to avid readers of historical fiction, as well as people who enjoy American History and books about life at sea.

Advertisements

The Ol’ Sea Salt

IMG_0016

I’m an ol’ sea salt, you can be your ARRR!
I spit into the wind as it blows through me hairrr.
You can’t tell me mate there’s a better, better life,
Than the sea and the sky and me trusty ol’ fife.

From starboard to port we be swabbin’ the deck,
And me language is worse than yer mother’s by heck.
By the patch on me eye, it’s a hard, hard life,
But I’d rather have it than yer witchy ol’ wife.

Ah, the rum keeps us warm by the silvery moon.
Me teeth are all rotten, me breath makes yah swoon.
I’m a dirty ol’ rat, you can bet yer bet yer life.
I eat out o’ me dish with the tip o’ me knife.

So, hard to port matey! Look off starboard bow!
If yah can’t hawk a loogie, I’ll soon learn ye how.
You’ll be better by far if yah spend yer, spend yer life,
On our boat ‘neath the sky far from land lubber’s strife.

© Rachel Svendsen 2014