Released: September 11th 2007 Pages:344
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers Source: received as gift
Isle of Swords and its sequel, Isle of Fire, are separate books, but I'll be reviewing them together because reasons. It works because I have pretty much the same feelings about both of them. Just so you know, this review contains minorish spoilers (though I hesitate to call them spoilers because the reveals are completely predictable and I had it all figured out right away).
A few years back, I read this author's The Door Within and the rest of the trilogy. I remember enjoying it, so I wanted to give this a try. And anyway, Christian pirates? I wanted to see how that would work.
Ultimately, the not-really-but-kind-of Christian pirates annoyed me much less than the fully Christian characters of Other Books I Will Not Name. I like how the author showed that being Christian isn't about being perfect all the time. Christians make mistakes, too, and Batson doesn't shy away from that.
I still have some problems with the series, though. One major one is its lack of originality.
Similarities between Isle of Swords and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies:
1. Young man is the son of a notorious pirate and is rescued by a girl
2. Spirited girl hangs out with pirates all the time
3. Young man and girl get married
4. "Good" pirates vs. "bad" pirates
5. British officers are generally idiots unless they come in handy
6. Drawn-out sea battles in which many things blow up
7. Said sea battles often involve "good pirates" fighting both the British Navy and the "bad pirates" at the same time
8. Crew members with deformities, included a messed-up eye (and the messed-up eye guy is basically comic relief)
9. Crew with no regard whatsoever for their personal safety
10. MILL WHEELS. (somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure there was at least a minor escapade in Isle of Swords/Fire involving a mill wheel)
11. There's some sort of awesome treasure on a sketchy magical island
12. The Big Bad Pirate is out to get...everybody
13. Borderline magical things happen
14. Monkeys play a role
15. The girl's dad is overprotective
16. Pirates set ships and towns and everything else on fire
17. Storms at sea during the most dramatic moments
18. Sea monsters
Now, granted, it is hard to write a pirate book without inadvertently borrowing some stuff from Pirates. And some of this stuff almost has to be in a pirate book, anyway. What good is a high-seas adventure without a massive storm during the final battle, and a sea monster? Still, some of these overlaps can't be merely coincidence.
Even without the
It was tough to connect to the characters. Cat was likable enough, but I wish the author would have gone farther with his father-son conflict (especially since I love stories where a "good guy" has a villain father). Anne could have been likable, but she actually bothered me because she had exactly the same traits as Antoinette (the names are even similar) from the author's other series. Thorne and the Merchant were evil just for the sake of being evil, and that also annoyed me. (This, actually, is the difference between having villains that
Overall, this book is essentially a Christian, PG-rated Pirates of the Caribbean without some of the cool and interesting stuff that happens in PotC, but with monks that blow things up. It was predictable and I struggled to connect to the characters. Still, it was a rather fun, swashbuckling adventure. Three stars.
Similar Books: It has pirates, like Steel. We've already talked about the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Also, this series has a similar structure (and basically the same characters with different names) as Batson's other series, The Door Within.