The Captain’s Log – the vagrant (Peter Newman)

Ahoy there me mateys!

I have to say that while this was an interesting read, it was definitely unusual.  To give you an idea – the main characters are a mute, a baby, and a goat.  Aye mateys.  Ye read that right.  And if that weren’t enough, there also be a magical sword with an eyeball.  Cool, huh?

The story involves a world where there has been a breach and the demons are getting in and trying to take over.  Wherever the demons go, corruption ensues. I loved the weird half-breeds and other unsavories that demon taint makes.  In fact most of the demon related details were awesome.

The chapters alternate between the present where we follow the mute, i.e. the Vagrant, on his quest to take the magic sword to the Shining City and then chapters that go back eight years in the past to how the present came to be.  And of course converge nicely.

I actually loved both the Vagrant and the goat.  I mean, the goat was actually one of the highlights of the novel.  Baby was different but not to me taste overall.  I liked the idea of the baby more as a prop then as a character.

Having a character that was mute was actually fascinating.  I thought the author did an excellent job making the Vagrant communicate.  Of course, the Vagrant does run into lots of talking folk along the way and picks up some for a time along his travels.  Also this is not the type of book where ye get to see into the main characters thoughts.  So everything ye learn is basically through dialogue and action.  Works astonishingly well.

So why didn’t I love it?  Well, I think overall it was the very last leg of the journey into the Shining City that seemed lackluster as well as the City itself.  It fit the story and the characters.  It just didn’t thrill me.  I think that overall I would have preferred this to be a standalone and not a trilogy.  While I will not be reading any more of the series, this was a good read and I am glad I read it.  Especially because of the goat.

Check out another of me crew, Brad’s, review here.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

The Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape, carrying nothing but a kit-bag, a legendary sword and a baby. His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the sword, the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war. But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Peter Newman – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the vagrant – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – the weaver (Emmi Itaranta)

Ahoy there me mateys!  After I read this Finnish author’s debut novel, memory of water, I knew I had to read her next book when it came out.  And while I enjoyed her first novel more, there was a lot to be enjoyed in this one as well.

The world building in this novel was wonderful.  The story takes place on an island where everything is deeply regimented.  One of the main rules is that dreaming is not allowed.  It is treated like the plague and if discovered to be a Dreamer then the person is thrown into House of the Tainted never to be seen again.

There are other Houses like the House of Words and the House of Webs.  Our main character, Eliana, lives in the House of Webs and weaves.  She has secrets, among them being able to read and also being a dreamer.  She tries to stay invisible and safe in her structured world.  Then one day she discovers an injured girl, Valeria, who happens to have Eliana’s name tattooed on her palm.  Eliana can’t help but be drawn into the mystery.  As Eliana begins to become closer to Valeria, will she give up her safety and worldview to solve the puzzle?

The relationship between Valeria and Eliana is one of the highlights of the book for me.  Their connection is slow burning but wonderful and kept me avidly reading.  While not the focus of the book, their relationship drives the story.  It was sweet and endearing.  I also enjoyed the loving relationship between Eliana and her brother Janos.  There is also a kick ass healer whom I adored too.

The details in this novel were as stunning at the ones in the author’s first novel.  The circumstances and explanations of the tattoos were fun.  The glimpses into the other Houses felt realistic and left me wanting to know more about the purposes of them all.  I adored how the island would flood.  Those descriptions were so vivid and stark.  This author’s writing feels magical.

While I loved the world the author created, I did have some issues with the dreaming aspects of the novel.  The dreaming is very fantastical and even though there is an explanation for why dreaming is dangerous, I didn’t really love it.  The ending of the novel in particular seemed extremely odd.  I wouldn’t say that I hated it.  It just left me sort of confused.

Despite that I did find this novel thought-provoking and am glad I read it.  I will be reading whatever this author produces next.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Eliana is a model citizen of the island, a weaver in the prestigious House of Webs. She also harbors a dangerous secret—she can dream, an ability forbidden by the island’s elusive council of elders. No one talks about the dreamers, the undesirables ostracized from society.

But the web of protection Eliana has woven around herself begins to unravel when a young girl is found lying unconscious in a pool of blood on the stones outside the house. Robbed of speech by her attackers, the only clue to her identity is one word tattooed in invisible ink across her palm: Eliana. Why does this mysterious girl bear her name? What links her to the weaver—and how can she hold Eliana’s fate in her hand?

As Eliana finds herself growing closer to this injured girl she is bound to in ways she doesn’t understand, the enchanting lies of the island begin to crumble, revealing a deep and ancient corruption. Joining a band of brave rebels determined to expose the island’s dark secrets, Eliana becomes a target of ruthless forces determined to destroy her. To save herself and those she loves, she must call on the power within her she thought was her greatest weakness: her dreams.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Emmi Itaranta – Author

To buy this novel to go:

the weaver – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

memory of water (The Captain’s Log – Fantasy)

The Captain’s Log – ghost talkers (Mary Robinette Kowal)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I had heard of this author before but had never read any of her work.  However when I heard the premise for this alternative history/fantasy set in World World I, it was immediately added to me ports for plunder list.

So basically the idea of the book is that if mediums could talk to ghosts, then how would the military have used this ability in times of warfare?  Why setting up a “Spirit Corps” of course.  The soldiers are trained so that when they die, their ghosts report to the mediums to give current information of troop movements and other intelligence.

The main character, Ginger, is a medium in the Spirit Corp who speaks with the soldiers in their final debriefing before these ghosts are dismissed from duty.  I thought Ginger was a fantastic main character – feisty, compassionate, stubborn, intelligent, etc.  I loved her fiancee, Ben.  Their relationship was the highlight of the book for me.  I adored the tenderness of their relationship and yet the realistic ideas that couples get annoyed with each other and have to deal with reality.  The setting of the war was poignant for their relationship.

I also found many of the secondary characters in the novel to be wonderful.  I loved the other members of Ginger’s circle.  Helen and Mrs. Richardson were two particular favorites from the circle.  Oh and I adored Cpl. Patel.

The major conflict in the novel is trying to keep the mediums safe from the Germans.  But when it appears a traitor might be in their midst, it is up to Ginger to determine who it is and stop them.  The mystery of the traitor was super predictable to me but apparently no one else.  That was a small flaw in the novel for me.   But it did not ruin the book for me at all.

Overall I found the ending of how Ginger deals with the traitor to be wonderful.  I was sad to read about the stories of the dead soldiers and the waste of life but how the author handled the ghosts was a particularly nice touch, one I won’t spoil.  I highly recommend this book as long as ye are okay with death and war in stories.  I think Mary is a great author and created a wonderful story.  I loved the historical notes at the end of the novel too.

Side note: The author is a professional puppeteer!

I will certainly be reading more of her books in the future.

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London during World War I, is engaged to Captain Benjamin Harford, an intelligence officer. Ginger is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force. Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the Corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence.

Ginger and her fellow mediums contribute a great deal to the war efforts, so long as they pass the information through appropriate channels. While Ben is away at the front, Ginger discovers the presence of a traitor. Without the presence of her fiance to validate her findings, the top brass thinks she’s just imagining things. Even worse, it is clear that the Spirit Corps is now being directly targeted by the German war effort. Left to her own devices, Ginger has to find out how the Germans are targeting the Spirit Corps and stop them. This is a difficult and dangerous task for a woman of that era, but this time both the spirit and the flesh are willing…

To visit the author’s website go to:

Mary Robinette Kowal – Author

To buy the book go to:

ghost talkers – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – shadowboxer (Tricia Sullivan)

Ahoy there me mateys!  So do ye like strong female Dominican-American protagonists, MMA, Thai mythology, crime novels, Muay Thai, and cats?  If so this novel might float yer boat.

I first heard about this book from John Scalzi’s 2014 Big Idea post, which is where the author does an interview with Scalzi that discusses the inspiration for the novel.  Among these inspirations were men being condescending to women fighters and the author’s frustration about it.  Now this novel is way out of me normal genre range – martial arts, urban fantasy, and crime elements.  But the ideas behind the author’s impetus for writing stuck with me and the book continued to sit in me ports for plunder list.

A little over two years later, I finally bought the novel and gave it a chance.  One of the interesting things about the novel is that the beginning of the book alternates chapters between Jade’s story (the MMA fighter) and the story of Mya, a little girl caught up in the supernatural.

Now the Big Idea post did in fact use the phrase “supernatural bent,” which I of course had ejected from me brain.  It did not mention Mya or the non-fighting aspects of the novel at all.  So I found meself highly confused the first time the novel switched perspectives.  It felt like two completely separate novels for the majority of the book which some readers might dislike.  But I loved both and found the switches back and forth to me taste because each character was so compelling.  And of course the two halves come together as a whole later on in ways that were unexpected and fun.

I loved Jade and her bad-ass nature and her growth and her relationship with her family and the other fighters.  I adored Mya and her spunk and determination.  The novel was compelling and offers glimpses of cultures and ideas way outside of me normal day-to-day life.  The only minor gripe was that Jade did not sound like a 17 year old.  So overall I consider this book a major success.

Side note: At $1.99 this book was a bargain.  Also the author apparently has won awards for her science fiction.  More books for the ports to plunder list!

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

Nothing she’s faced in the cage will prepare her…

Jade is a young mixed martial arts fighter. When she’s in the cage she dominates her opponents—but in real life she’s out of control. After she has a confrontation with a Hollywood martial arts star that threatens her gym’s reputation, Jade’s coach sends her to a training camp in Thailand for an attitude adjustment. Hoping to discover herself, she instead uncovers a shocking conspiracy. In a world just beyond our own, a man is stealing the souls of children to try and live forever.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Tricia Sullivan – Author

To buy the novel go to:

shadowboxer – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – the wave speaker (J.S. Bangs)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I discovered this novella with the premise of “Pirates. Sharks. And a woman walking across the sea in a storm.”  Well a sea story always strikes me fancy and with a tagline like that I decided to give it a go.  At 75 pages this was a fast and enjoyable read.

The story begins with Captain Patara and his crew, fleeing pirates in a massive storm.  They find a woman walking on the waves and take her aboard.  Obviously she is no normal passenger.

Parara is the central figure in the story and I truly liked him. He is pragmatic and hardworking and kinda stubborn.  Among his crew is his son, Ashturma.  He is an idealist and a bit of a dreamer.  The two figures have been at odds for some time.  The woman they have picked up, Idhaji, is a mage on a mission. Her presence causes tensions to rise between father and son.

The magic in this novella was light but a tantalizing glimpse of a bigger structure.  The world building was fairly simple but drawn well.  And the ending!  Well it was unexpected and made me smile because of it.

Apparently at the author’s website, ye can get a free copy of the novella if ye join his mailing list.  Or the kindle version appears to be 99 cents.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Pirates. Sharks. And a woman walking across the sea in a storm.

Patara is returning from a trade voyage when he is chased by pirates and runs through a storm—and then he catches a woman walking atop the waves and speaking to the sea. He and his crew pull her out of the water, only to find that they’ve caught more than they bargained for. Will Patara sacrifice his cargo and his livelihood to save the last member of a mystic tradition?

To visit the author’s website go to:

J.S. Bangs – Author

To buy the book go:

the wave speaker – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – the blood mirror (Brent Weeks)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This novel is the fourth in the Lightbringer series.  If ye haven’t read any of this series then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book, the black prism.  Worth the read.  If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril.

So I was introduced to this author by the Night Angel Trilogy which dealt with assassins.  Hooray!  So when he began his new series I was super excited.  I ended up loved the first novel, and I continued to love the next two in the series.  In fact looking at me Goodreads reviews, I apparently gave all of his books 5 stars because that is how much they struck me fancy.

I am therefore a little confuzzled as to why this one didn’t float me boat like the last three did.  While I did enjoy it, parts of it irked me.  I will not give away any plot points but here are me overall feelings:

  • I rather liked the series recap at the beginning of the novel.  Normally recaps are bothersome but for some reason I liked getting the in-depth review of the series thus far.
  • I continue to adore Teia.  She has become me favorite character in the series and not just because of her skills.  Her choices seem to always suck and I can never guess where her storyline is going.  I love watching her grow as a character.
  • Gavin’s chapters surprisingly were some of me least favorite sections of the book.  I adored him in previous books but his chapters in this book seem to be rather dull.  His inner struggle in this one began with a bang and grew to annoy me.  I felt like nothing was resolved with him and he didn’t really change or do anything at all.  Of course there is a major plot twist in this book concerning his powers and his history which I rather loved.
  • Karris was another highlight in the book for me.  Again I love the strong women.  She continues to evolve from book to book and I enjoy watching her deal with what fate is handing her.  There were some major problems set up for her in this novel and I am interested in how she will handle them in the next book.
  • The Kip sections also dragged a lot for me.  Not enough action and too focused on sex.  Some of the battle and magic elements involving him were awesome but overall I again felt that with this character nothing happened.  His sections almost seemed like set-up for the next book only.
  • The Mighty – can these man-boys please grow up and get over the sex jokes and young male stupidity already.  It was tiresome.  And a shame because I like many of their characters individually.
  • There were not a lot of sections dealing with Liv Danavis but oh do I want to know what happens next with her.
  • Master Sharp still creeps me out!  Ugh.
  • When and how (or will?) Andross finally get his comeuppance?
  • That ending!  It desperately makes me want to know what happens next!

So basically this book felt like the action and plot stalled to set-up the next book.  Almost like a placeholder.  The last three books kept me on the edge and impatiently waiting for the next installment.  I still loved the book overall but I had some quibbles.  Those aside, I still want the next book in the series.  I continue to enjoy this author’s work and want more!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Stripped of both magical and political power, the people he once ruled told he’s dead, and now imprisoned in his own magical dungeon, former Emperor Gavin Guile has no prospect of escape. But the world faces a calamity greater than the Seven Satrapies has ever seen… and only he can save it.

As the armies of the White King defeat the Chromeria and old gods are born anew, the fate of worlds will come down to one question: Who is the Lightbringer?

To visit the author’s website go to:

Brent Weeks – Author

To buy the book go:

the blood mirror – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – Goldenhand (Garth Nix)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This novel is the fifth in the Abhorsen/Old Kingdom series written by one of me favorite authors.  In fact I love this author so much that he was the featured author in me Broadside No. 1.  If ye have never read any books in this series, I suggest ye check out me Broadside and start with book one called Sabriel.  If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril.

The book is the fifth book in the series but the fourth in terms of chronology.  I highly enjoyed revisiting the world of the Old Kingdom though this book is not me favorite in the series.

Side note:  I can never make up me mind on whether Sabriel or Lirael is me favorite.  I go back and forth every time I re-read one of them.

In any case, this book felt different then the other four.  I believe it is because it is following several characters at once.  The book tends to be split in the perspective of Lirael and Nick on one hand and then Ferin on the other.  While the other books do sometimes change perspectives, they usually centered on the title character.

I adored Ferin.  She is a new introduction to the series and she rocks.  I loved pretty much everything about her – how we meet her, what her upbringing was like, her viewpoint on the world, and above all, her spunk.  I wouldn’t mind having a whole book just about about her and what happens next..

I enjoyed seeing Lirael again but did not enjoy the development of her relationship with Nick that much.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I liked getting resolution on things hinted at in book three but I wanted to get back to the main plot and the action.

At usual, I loved everything that dealt with Death and the bells.  That is one of the concepts I found to be so satisfying way back when in book one.  I continue to love the Charter marks.  And the entire Old Kingdom in general.

The only thing I would have preferred is a more linear story line than switching back and forth.  However, that might mean removing Ferin and that would break me stony heart.

So I continue to adore Garth Nix and will continue to read everything he will write in the future.  If ye haven’t read anything by this author then pick up the first book of this series.  One of me best mates borrowed the beginning trilogy and loved it so much I gave her me copies as a gift and bought me another set.  They are that good.

Want to see another crew member’s viewpoint of this novel?  Check out this post by Emma @ bluchickenninja.

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

Lirael is no longer a shy Second Assistant Librarian – she’s now the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, with a new hand, one of gilded steel and Charter Magic.

When she discovers Nicholas Sayre lying unconscious, she uses her powers to save him. But the attack has left Nicholas tainted with Free Magic, so together they embark on a dangerous journey to seek help at Lirael’s childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Garth Nix – Author

To buy the book go to:

goldenhand – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List