Friday, June 5, 2009

Isle of Fire

Title: Isle of Fire

Series: Pirate Adventures #2

Author: Wayne Thomas Batson

Genre: Teen (13-16) High-seas Adventure

Excerpt from “Shadows of the Past,” Chapter 1 of Isle of Fire:

Dead leaves swirled across the cold stone as Cat approached the deepest corner of the empty cobblestone courtyard. He could feel the sentinels watching from hidden places within the surrounding walls and towers. His eyes darted about for any sign of a threat. Behind the ever-sleeping volcano, the sun struggled to midday height in the steel-gray sky.

Without warning, a fierce cry came from the parapets above. A shadow passed overhead, and Cat ducked. Instinctively his grip tightened on the quarterstaff as he prepared to defend himself against one of the most peculiar men he’d ever seen. His skin was very dark like the islanders, but his hair, eyebrows, and moustache were whiter than the sand on Aruba. He wore a silver ring in the lobe of his left ear and a small gray cross on a thin black cord around his neck. He held a quarterstaff of dark wood that was at least a foot longer than Cat’s.

“I am Dmitri,” said the man, removing his robe. He was shirtless beneath but wore an odd, baggy kind of breeches that bunched at his waist and ankles. His gaze was dark and seemed to smolder like volcanic rock. The warrior slapped his staff hard on the cobblestone and stepped forward menacingly.

Cat held up his own staff. He thought he was ready.

Monks and ex-pirate team up to stop a mysterious merchant and the unleashing of a deadly weapon.

The Craft: The writing from Isle of Fire is the clean-cut type that is the hardest to comment on. There are no glaring errors. There are no outstanding qualities. It’s just good, plain writing.

Like the other books I’ve read by Mr. Batson, the action is fast-paced, the characters colorful, the scenes shorter, and the sentences choppier. I’m not a big fan of the latter two qualities. However, there’s a place for them: that style will attract reluctant or slow readers, while the high action and quirky humor will draw teen boys.

The Content: Isle of Fire has a darker edge than the previous book, Isle of Swords. The presence of evil is strong, and the violence has escalated. There is torture, war violence, swordfights, navel battles, and murder all contained within these pages. Most of the descriptions, like in book one, are kept to minimal, but more occurs on the page instead of results implying event off the page. So some scenes are pretty intense.

On the other hand, as the presence of evil grew, so did the depth of the spiritual. God and His work are more visible as is the impact that He has on the character. In fact, the story borders on preachy. Considering the darker tone of this book, however, that is not all bad.

Summary: The writing is somewhat choppy, the tone dark, and the spiritual thread almost overbearing. So Isle of Fire is not for everyone. Teen boys looking for a fast-paced adventure probably would enjoy it, and the simple style of writing and high action may be a great way to hook readers who have not yet developed a love of reading.

Rating: Craft—3, Content—4, Overall—3.4 out of 5 stars

Read the review for Isle of Swords or order both from Words of Whimsy.

1 comment:

Brandon said...

Thanks for the review Chawna.