The Captain’s Log – a Muster of Mini-Reviews of the Stowaways in the Hold that I Didn’t Love

Ahoy there me mateys!  I have read more books this year then there are days left to review them individually.  So today I bring ye a muster of mini-reviews.  What be a muster?

Well the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as:

  1. assemble (troops) especially for inspection or for battle;
  2. collect or assemble (a number or amount); or
  3. a group of peacocks.

Here I take a look at the stowaways of 2019.  These are the books that I read this year but don’t seem to have reviews for them yet.  They don’t get full reviews because I be running out of time.  But me rule is that I have to review every book I read.  Here be a batch of four that I didn’t love and the reasons why.  Arrrr!

Side note: the book covers come from Goodreads and ye can click on the title to add the books to yer Goodreads’ Ports for Plunder List.  

Kingdom of Needle and Bone

kingdom of needle and bone (Mira Grant)

This be a horror novella that discusses what happens when herd immunity is compromised and a virus begins wiping out the planet.  Ye get to meet patient zero named Lisa Morris and I enjoyed that.  I think the set-up and concepts were interesting but I had many problems.  I hated the twist at the end.  I could see it coming and was very grumpy about the choice.  The why of the twist didn’t make sense.  Also while I am pro-vaccination, the message here was just too heavy handed.  It overtook the characters and plot.  After the initial set-up, the story went downhill.  I really didn’t like the solution on how to save humanity either.  I finished it because it was short but overall very disappointing when compared to her other work.

“We never think about what our choices are going to mean for the lives of the ones we love,” said Izzy. “We only think about what they’re going to mean for us. If we’re lucky, we’re not the only ones who have to live with them.”
― Mira Grant, Kingdom of Needle and Bone

The Gutter Prayer (The Black Iron Legacy, #1)

the gutter prayer (Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan)

Unpopular opinion time!  I should have loved this book about three young thieves thrown into a centuries old magical war.  It was Matey Lashaan’s review that convinced me to spend me loot and read it.  And I must have missed something.  I didn’t understand why the war existed.  I didn’t really understand why the Iron Gods were in the  bells.  To borrow someone else’s phrase, the magic was a “metaphysical tale.”  One character gets to zoom around and experience buildings’ feelings or see things from afar.  It was odd.  I ended up disliking her entire character and purpose.  I also absolutely hated Miren and thought him as a love interest was awful.  I did like some of the characters and some of the world building.  I particularly enjoyed the Tallowmen, Spar the Stone Man, and Aleena the warrior-saint.  But the world building and descriptions overwhelmed both the plot and the characters.  Plus the narration and plot were hard to follow at times and took very random turns.  Add in sex scenes that totally go against a main character’s personality.  Basically I finished the book and didn’t really understand any of the real reasons behind the war or the outcome of book one.  Basically felt like WTF.  I will not be reading any more of this series.  Arrrr!

“From here, you see the heart of the old city, its palaces and churches, and towers reaching up like the hands of a man drowning, trying to break free of the warren of alleyways and hovels that surrounds them.”
Gareth Ryder-HanrahanThe Gutter Prayer

City of Islands

city of islands (Kali Wallace)

Earlier this year I really enjoyed salvation day and so I decided to pick up another of the author’s books.  I went with this one because of this part of the blurb “In a foggy archipelago called the City of Islands . . . Mara has always been fascinated by the magic that drifts on the air as songs . . . Mara must earn her keep by searching for magical treasures deep in the murky ocean.”  Sea yarn with super cool world building sign me up.  So the problem?  I didn’t like the plot.  The beginning started out strong but the once the magical artifacts are found, it starts to make no sense.  Mara is one of those protagonists that seems to have no agency and is thrown from weird moment to weird moment.  The characters seemed cool at first but were ultimately forgettable.  Plus the resolution was lame.  Shame because the setting deserved better.

“Strange bones were exactly the sort of thing the Lady of Tides coveted for her collection.  Her most prized possession was a sea serpent skull so massive it took six men to move it into the ball-room when she wanted to show it off at parties.”
― Kali Wallace, City of Islands

The Firethorn Crown (Firethorn Chronicles, #1)

the firethorn chronicles (Lea Doué)

This be a twelve dancing princess retelling.  I really wanted to like this one.  The main highlight of this book is that all twelve sisters are unique and have personalities.  It was clear that they loved each other.  I also loved that they worked together to help beat the curse.  I enjoyed two of the princes too – the goose prince and the one who liked art.  The maze and the enchanted world were fun.  How the villain’s past is resolved at the end worked.  What didn’t work was the plot and the main character.  This be one of those stories where Lily, the main character, was kinda an idiot.  She is supposed to be strong and talented and the best to run the kingdom.  Plus she is the oldest.  I found her to be whiny and a bit ridiculous.  There is a love interest that stalks her and she could have taken care of it long before it got out of hand by saying no and not letting him assume that she cared.  Later the curse could have been cured by her using her head and telling the truth.  She is a coward and self-absorbed.  I think many of the sisters could run the kingdom better.  I didn’t like how the curse was ultimately resolved or how the king had to come back to fix everything.  I didn’t like the mother or the actual love interest.  And the dragons were awesome but there weren’t enough of them!

“Even Hazel had stopped telling Neylan that wearing dragons was inappropriate.”
― Lea Doué, The Firethorn Crown


26 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – a Muster of Mini-Reviews of the Stowaways in the Hold that I Didn’t Love

    1. I have now read some reviews of book two and apparently the world opens up and gets even more bogged down and the writing more unfocused. The reviews were positive but made it clear that I wouldn’t like the second book any better. I say skip and lose no sleep over the matter.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I was not aware of that Mira Grant novella: I love her books under this pen name, as I love the ones she writes as Seanan McGuire, so it saddens me that one of her works might have proved such a disappointment, but sometimes an author does let things slip up…
    Thanks for sharing! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. WAIT WHAT? Wearing dragons? I had other thoughts about your muster of reviews, but that last quote just sent all of those thoughts flying out of my head. I want a dragon to wear!

    Also, I’m very sad that this Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling didn’t work for you. That’s one of my favorite fairy tales, so I love finding good renditions of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know I totally want a dragon to wear too. Even better if it chooses to talk to me! Any good retellings of that tale that ye know of? I enjoyed the house of salt and sorrows and the thirteenth princess. There is also a Jessica Day George one I haven’t read yet.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I read entwined at some point! That one was cute. Though I never seemed to have reviewed it. Must have been before the blog. So the details are now lost. But the cover and thought of the book are happy. I need to read the JDG one soon. Have ye read her dragon slippers series?
        x The Captain


  3. I really enjoyed The Gutter Prayer, but it was messy at times with so much going on and so many perspectives. Luckily it all worked out for me, but I totally understand your thoughts.😁

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aaaah I bounced off The Gutter Prayer. I loved the opening chapter, but the follow-up chapters were just so overwhelming and I couldn’t find anything/one to hook on to. I didn’t give as much rope as I usually do, so I do plan to have another go at it – but your comments don’t make me hold out much hope for changing my mind. You know how I loathe a rubbish love interest (let alone sex scenes, just stop).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aye, I thought it had such a great setup and promise. While I don’t want to read any more of this series, I would give the author another shot on something new. I see some shiny amidst the mess. If ye do give it another go, I hope it goes better for ye.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

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