Matthew's Reviews > HMS Surprise

HMS Surprise by Patrick O'Brian
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's review
Feb 21, 2012

really liked it
Read from March 17 to 29, 2012

There are few stories that I can read and not think that I'm a bad person for screaming obscenities at a romance or lack there-of. "Stephen Maturin! No! You poor thing - she doesn't deserve you!" The cold hearted bitch... but that's beside the point. This is a loooong series, and I think I know what's going to happen as far as Stephen's relationship troubles are concerned.

In any case, something that I really admire in O'Brian's style is the way he constructs his dialogue. I have never seen another writer use dialogue in the same way - he implies action and train-of-thought through the conversation itself. Usually it's something like an aside from Stephen to another person, or a simple command that Jack says to the sailors, but sometimes it can be insanely clever.

Also, an abundance of nerd humor:

"Mr. Norton the ornithologist?" Stephen asked aloud.
"No dear," said Diana, "he is interested in birds."

Although the beginning of the book, like Post-Captain before it, is a bit slow, it begins to pick up tremendously by the end. Also, I'm getting so much nautical knowledge out of this! I know what a weather-gauge is now!

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