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The Bone Ships

(The Tide Child #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  2,009 ratings  ·  478 reviews
A brilliantly imagined saga of honor, glory, and warfare, The Bone Ships is the epic launch of a new fantasy from David Gemmell Award-nominated RJ Barker.

Two nations at war. A prize beyond compare.

For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war.

The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persist
Paperback, 512 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Orbit
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Jen Hoskins Not about pirates specifically, but about ships of the same sort! The ship in this novel belongs to the Hundred Isles' fleet, but there are sea battle…moreNot about pirates specifically, but about ships of the same sort! The ship in this novel belongs to the Hundred Isles' fleet, but there are sea battles and land skirmishes and swashbuckling action in general.(less)
PT Ong Sorry ... I was referring to the ISBN-13 # of 9780356511825 entry of this book ... the associated ISBN-10 looks wrong.

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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  2,009 ratings  ·  478 reviews

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Robin Hobb
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: readers who enjoy fantastic sea tales.
Rats and double rats!
Have you ever done a cut-and-paste to move a paragraph? And then come back to discover that said paragraph is missing?
See an insertion below, with a few stars to mark it!

My usual Caveat: I received a free copy of this book as an Advanced Reading Copy. I have met RJ Barker, and shared several breakfasts with him in a dungeon. This creates a bond of friendship.

However, I do not think that affects my review of this book.

The Bones Ships, as noted above, is book one of The Tide
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy readers who loves seafaring and pirates
ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

3.5/5 stars

Highly imaginative world-building with a large focus on sea voyages and naval warfare.

Let me begin by saying that I’m a huge fan of Barker’s debut series: The Wounded Kingdom trilogy. I gave each installment in the trilogy a 4.5 stars rating and ever since I finished King of Assassins, The Bone Ships has been on my list of priority books to read ASAP. This is why I’m genuinely sad that I have to give this book a be
John Gwynne
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A big thank-you to Orbit for sending this my way. It's the first book I've read by R.J. Barker - an author I've been meaning to read for ages, as I've heard great things, but we all know what the TBR MOUNTAINS are like, they just keep on growing.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first taste of RJ Barker's writing. THE BONE SHIPS is a whole lot of swashbuckling awesomeness, with intelligent, organic world-building and deeply likeable characters. Reminiscent of Patrick O'Brian, which can only ever be a com
Nick Borrelli
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing

THE BONE SHIPS is set in a world where vast seas and oceans cover the majority of its mass, hundreds of islands are scattered across it, and huge ships made from the bones of long-dead sea dragons are the primary means of transportation, war, and commerce. We'll get back to that dragon part later, I promise! One particular bone ship, Tide Child, is by default led by the weak and ineffectual Joron Twiner. That is until he is forced out of his tentative role as shipwife by the renowned Lucky M
The Bone Ships is book one of a new fantasy series. Don’t be thrown about by the concept of a handful of warriors chasing after the world’s last sea dragon. This is not a children’s book. It is a bold, exciting, adventure that is dark, gritty, and ruthless. At first, it may be difficult to enter this world because the prose - the incredible prose - is filled to the brim with terminology that is unfamiliar and customs and history that are often only hinted at. Nevertheless, this is a book with a ...more
TS Chan
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-review-copy
ARC provided by the publisher, Orbit, in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 stars.

Bold and inventive, R.J. Barker sailed through new, uncharted waters with The Bone Ships and emerged with a brilliant tale of seafaring adventure and deeds of derring-do.

With The Bone Ships, Barker's sophomore series is quite a departure from the tone and style in his debut The Wounded Kingdom, which I loved, but the most important that remained is his engaging voice. Let me first state this pertinent fact - I am
Peter McLean
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I was lucky enough to receive a pre-ARC proof of THE BONE SHIPS by RJ Barker from Orbit books, and it was glorious!

Imagine the naval sagas of Patrick O'Brian (the Aubrey–Maturin series, Master and Commander) in a fantasy world with a triumvirate of goddesses, avian wind-mages, and a fully matriarchal society. Imagine it told in the language of the sea, in rolling, rhythmic prose that crashes over you like breakers.

Imagine the mythic grandeur of the last sea dragon, and the dragonbone ships that
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
3.5 Stars

Audacious storytelling, with an original, captivating world. After a slow start, I found it increasingly difficult to put this book down and I am on board for more.

RJ Barker wrote one of my favourite fantasy series of all time, The Wounded Kingdom trilogy. So, when I heard that he was writing a brand-new series called The Tide Child trilogy, I was excited. And by excited, I mean I might have shouted about it to one or two, or seventy random people. I am a huge fan. You may wonder why i
The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
This review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...

Joron Twiner, once a fisherman is condemned to crew Tide Child, a black ship, a ship of the dead on which he is made shipwife (captain). He is uncaring, disconsolate, consumed by melancholy, insecure, wretched and drowning in the bottle. He is a useless and unworthy captain for a useless and unworthy crew. A crew of rough convicts and the deck of Tide Child is a place rife with disrespect and
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read and adored RJ Barker’s other series, The Wounded Kingdom, and I had this one high up on my list for my 2020 TBR. I splurged recently on a bunch of audiobooks and I knew that this had to be one of them – I had already waited too long to read this one!

If you follow my reviews you know that I almost always cite my need to get to know the characters before I can care about what else going on. This was different. It was the world-building that sucked me in. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

With the completion of his Wounded Kingdom trilogy, RJ Barker has shot up to the top of my must-reads authors list and I was so excited when I found out that his next fantasy series will be a maritime adventure set on the high seas featuring bone ships and a dragon hunt!

This first novel of the Tide Child trilogy aptly titled The Bone Ship takes us to the Hundred Isles where two rival nations have been warring since time im
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent sea based sailing ship fantasy, written with a good understanding of the way ships with sails work, with a touch of fantasy worked in to make it fit into a fantasy world.

Well worth reading and highly recommended by me to everyone who wants well written fantasy epics.

First book by this author I have read, means I have to read his first series now.
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
Unfortunately I didn't love this one like I thought I would. I really enjoyed the last series by RJ, and I think the difference between the two is that that series is so full of vibrant characters who you can connect with and who feel really alive. This series, at least for me, focused a lot more on the world-building, and I think it was at the detriment of the characters. I found it very hard to really connect with any of the characters and the plot just didn't have enough to keep me excited.

Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Joron Twiner was a fisher in the Hundred Isles before being sent to the black ships as punishment. He was shipwife of the boneship Tide Child, until he was displaced by Lucky Meas Gilbryn. Lucky Meas, Joron and the crew of the Tide Child are tasked with tracking down the last remaining sea dragon (for reasons that keep shifting, they either want to save it or kill it). At the end of the book there is an appendix explaining the ranks in the fleet of bone ships and in the Hundred Isles. I suggest ...more
Athena (OneReadingNurse)
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you so much to Orbit Books via NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own!

Honestly I just want to start by saying that The Bone Ships is one of the best books I have read all year, and I can't wait to have it in a hard copy with the rest of the trilogy!! I KNOW I will be re-reading this! I was swept away by all 500+ pages and never felt bored, never skimmed, and definitely can't wait for the sequel.

*description omitted*

I will start by saying that th
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war.
Then the dragons disappeared. But the battle for supremacy on the high seas persisted.
When the first dragon in centuries is spotted in far-off waters, both sides see a chance to shift the balance of power in their favour. Because whoever catches it will win not only glory, but the war.

Joron Twiner was raised a fisherman, but after seeing his father splattered between two boats and
Sep 21, 2019 marked it as pile-of-shame  ·  review of another edition

Happy release day! Hoping to get this finished by the weekend :)
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rating: ★★★★☆


A brilliantly imagined saga of honor, glory, and warfare, The Bone Ships is the epic launch of a new fantasy from David Gemmell Award-nominated RJ Barker.

Two nations at war. A prize beyond compare.

For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war.

The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persisted.

Now the first dragon in centuries has been spotted in far-off waters, and both sides see a chance to
Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)

You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.

It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to think that some people are born to be leaders. With their charisma and their immutable sense of direction and ambition, they are able to steer any ship in any direction, convincing all of their followers than the mind rules on the body. Others prefer a life free of responsibilities and strive in the art of either listening to order or rotting in a corner. But one particular ship destined to encounter magnificent
The Captain
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

I had been meaning to check out this author's books for quite some time.  Well when I saw this gorgeous cover, I knew the day had come.  Sea dragons mateys!  I was not disappointed.

This is a slow burn type of fantasy with a ton of world building.  The plot doesn't really pick up until about the half way mark.  But the ships!  The ships!  They are made out of the
Para (wanderer)
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Para (wanderer) by: eriophora
"We fight in the hope that others will not have to, and we fight to keep those we have come to care about safe. We fight even for those who do not deserve it. There is no honour or greatness in what we do, except among fools. I fight, in the end, because I have no other choice" - she held his gaze with hers - "and neither do you. So remember this, if you hear tales of bravery and greatness, they are nearly always told by people who have only watched battle from afar."
The Bone Ships used to b
Queen Terrible Timy
Actual rating: 4.5*
This review was originally posted on RockStarlit BookAsylum

The Bone Ships is the first book I’ve read from RJ Barker, so I didn’t have too many expectations going in. Actually, my expectations were very low indeed, because I was second guessing myself whether it was a good idea to request a copy. I mean, I always knew nautical fiction wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but in recent months I learned that I’m really not a fan of the subgenre. That being said, The Bone Ships was noth
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal. Some of the most compelling worldbuilding I've seen in ages. Bleak and yet filled with hope. I didn't want to leave! ...more
Dec 02, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: tbr-adult-sff
The synopsis sounds super intriguing but for a sec the cover made me think this was a Robin Hobb book
The Nerd Book Review
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Alrighty then I am having a hard time saying a full 4. So I’m going to break this down a bit. 4/5 for story first half, 5/5 second half, 5/5 for world building. 2/5 for implementation of said world building.
Now I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a sailor. I come from Idaho in the US and I’m a long ways from any large body of water. Barker also creates a ton of sea creatures that don’t have counterparts in our world and he doesn’t use info dumps to explain these creatures. I spent an awful lot o
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Robin Hobb and Pirate of the Carribean
✨⭐ 8.75 stars out of 10!⭐✨
If you ever watch Pirates of the Carribean, or ever read Robin Hobb's Liveship Trader series and you enjoy any of those, then this book is for you.

Keywords: coming of age, dragons, sea voyage, ships, matriarchy, journey, slow-paced, male lead, strong female casts.

The Bone Ships is a classic epic set in the sea. We follow the story as Joron Twiner, a youth, whom with the other criminals are sentenced to die by serving the military fleet. He's to lead the ship
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: Thrilling and atmospheric, The Bone Ships is a rollicking sea adventure with heart, humor and a very large sea dragon.

I’m not sure why I waited so long to read this book, but I guess I have Wyrd & Wonder to thank for kicking me in the butt and finally giving me the motivation to dive in. The Bone Ships is my first experie
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, fantasy, arc
In brief - Richly inventive and an enjoyable read. Very good for those with seafaring tastes I think.

My immediate reaction reading this was that it was definitely different! Joron is the Shipwife of the Tide Child, a ship of the dead. It is a bone ship; that is to say it is made mostly from bone. "Lucky" Meas wants to take over the ship and become Shipwife and she does. She has a mission. Whether a somewhat decrepit ship crewed by criminals is likely to help her certainly seems a moot point.

May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: epic-fantasy, arcs, ebooks
I'm long overdue in reading (and reviewing) this and I'm kind of kicking myself because it was great! At least now I don't have to face the wait for book 2!

I love stories about characters redeeming themselves and Joron's growth throughout this novel was lovingly and tenderly done. All the characters were wonderful tbh. Especially the Gullaime!! And the world was fantastic, literally everything is trying to kill you and will kill you, and I adored the way this displayed itself in every facet of t
David Stewart
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
In an era where almost every new fantasy book is about a band of Dungeons and Dragons style adventurers bounding around a fully-built and populated world, along comes RJ Barker to completely buck this welcome trend and write a fantasy book that is also a high seas adventure in the vein of Patrick O'Brian and Dudley Pope but also about dragons and inexplicably post-apocalyptic in the most intriguing ways. It has a talking parrot, criminals abound, and also features some of the best naval warfare ...more
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Other books in the series

The Tide Child (3 books)
  • Call of the Bone Ships (The Tide Child #2)
  • The Bone Ship's Wake (The Tide Child, #3)

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