I've never really liked westerns yet here I was reading the second one within a month and thoroughly enjoying it. The Sisters Brothers is unlike most...moreI've never really liked westerns yet here I was reading the second one within a month and thoroughly enjoying it. The Sisters Brothers is unlike most other westerns. There are no steely eyed stares as guns are drawn. No high noon opera. Just a story of a life on the move for two gold rush era hit men.
All this is told in the darkest of humour which suits Eli and Charlie, the main protagonists. They argue like gentlemen even though you know there's more bubbling underneath and most of the earlier exchanges are some of the best writing in the book. My one quibble being that Eli tended to use a lot of words that I find hard to believe came out of the mouth of an uneducated man. He is obviously more conflicted than Charlie and absorbs more from his surroundings than his brother. Not to the point of being over maudlin yet he can be more that a little sentimental.
Their journey crosses paths with a number of both believable and unbelievable characters. The witch adding just a hint of magical realism to the mix. Is Eli cursed? If so it's like the questionable Chinese one that states “May you live in interesting times”. Interesting being a bit of an understatement.
In the end this is really all about two brothers and how they balance their relationship with their roles in life. Who can you count on if you can't count on your own brother?(less)
I found this book among my Dad's things. He always loved books by Pope and Reeman but they had never really interested me. For some reason this one ca...moreI found this book among my Dad's things. He always loved books by Pope and Reeman but they had never really interested me. For some reason this one caught my eye and I decided to give it a read. I was really thankful I came from a family with some naval and sea going background because a lot of nautical and sailing references are used. Once you get past that you find a mostly intriguing but sometimes boring tale of a young man's trip to Australia on a British warship. This really showed how long and awful those journey's were when all you had to rely on was a wind that sometimes stilled utterly.
As I read this all in one volume I'm reviewing it as one but it really is three different books and each had it's merits with the first one “Rites of Passage” being the best. I found it had the best character development and the more interesting details of daily shipboard life. “Close Quarters” was almost as good as you began to see more of the turmoil between the crew and passengers by having to constantly be together but it started to drag a bit in spots. It was almost like the best characters are being wasted in “Fire Down Below” as it consisted mostly tedious detail interspersed a few moments of action.
It's still a really good read if you have an interest in both sailing ships and that period in history. I've been told that the Masterpiece series is well worth a watch as well. If they were rated as separate books I'd give “Rites of Passage” 4 stars, “Close Quarters” 3 stars and “Fire Down Below” 2.5 stars. The set gets 3 stars as an average.(less)
I had to see if I was third time lucky and considering the newest Pirates of the Caribbean is based on this book I figured it would be worth a read fo...moreI had to see if I was third time lucky and considering the newest Pirates of the Caribbean is based on this book I figured it would be worth a read for that alone. I'm not disappointed but I will say that this book doesn't stand up to Anubis Gates or Declare but it still kept me turning pages.
I found some of the character building a bit off and it made it hard to relate to a couple of the characters. There was also more of an emphasis on action and fighting making this a bit more gory. Which is good as it does involve pirates and vodun. Thanks to the voodoo basis there was also a lot more magic and supernatural.
It's odd that I didn't like this book as much as his others but it never cohesively meshed. Still I have to hand it to Powers as he did his usual great job of research and there was a lot more authenticity to this pirate tale then some others I have read.
I remain a fan of this author and look forward to more stories by him. (less)