I’m putting the beer review first because this is book 3 in a trilogy so to avoid spoilers don’t read beyond the beer!
Brewery: Wychwood Brewery
Very drinkable stout, which isn’t always a given with non-Guiness stouts. Good body to it, and a smokiness which comes through strongest. Best drunk cold, but still a winter warmer.
Book: The Bone Ship’s Wake
Author: RJ Barker
Some of the best endings feel like the beginning of something better. Without giving anything away, that is what this superb finale to the Tide Child Trilogy feels like.
I will review book 1 soon, but I wanted to get this one out ASAP as it’s a long overdue review of an e-arc which I couldn’t get to earlier for personal reasons.
The story picks up about a year after the end of Book 2. Meas is still a captive and Joron has been tearing the seas apart looking for her, in the process earning himself the epithet ‘black pirate’.
I’ll admit that despite an adoration for Barker’s previous 5 books I was unduly worried by the beginning of the story proper. It’s risky as fuck imo to start a 3rd book in a trilogy with a slow burn, but that’s what he does. Maybe the first ¼ to a ⅓ of the book is taken up with a chase sequence. Tide Child is desperate and ragged, pursued by fully kitted out and fresh fleet ships. But every time I started to think it was dragging on, Barker hit me for six with something spectacular.
It may still be a little early to make the pronouncement, but nearly a month after finishing I think the Tild Child Trilogy is in my top 5 fantasy series of all time. The prose has an ethereal beauty that truly evokes the seafaring setting. The worldbuilding is so expertly done that you can very easily forget that the hundred isles only exist as words on a page. And the climax… f*ck me it will punch you in the gut, roll you over and drive a knee into your kidneys and leaving you in a heap of tears on the floor.