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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

In this seafaring fantasy, a soft-spoken and empathic teen must chart her own course to rescue the ruthless pirate who raised her If there’s one thing Thea Fowler has learned from her mother, it’s that the only way for a woman to survive in a man’s world is to make herself strong, invulnerable even. Strength, after all, is how Clementine Fowler survived after her world was washed away by ash and lava and became one of the most notorious pirates the world has ever known. Unfortunately, Thea has inherited none of her mother’s ruthlessness and grit. After a lifetime of being told she is a disappointment, Thea longs to escape life under her mother’s thumb. And when she falls for a handsome sailor named Bauer, she thinks she’s found her chance at a new life. But it’s not long before first love leads to first betrayal, and Thea learns that there’s more than one way to be strong.…

The Sea Knows My Name

by Laura Brooke Robson

Overall Book Review:

This sea-faring novel is a different take on the role of female pirates.  Instead of being an action-packed adventure laden storyline, this storyline is based far more in relationship analysis.  It is the story of a mother and daughter duet who are navigating their way through a complex relationship set in an unspecific period in history. 

The plot line in this novel is not a straightforward timeline moving from historical to current.  Instead, this novel bounces back and forth in the timeline.  While I normally don’t have an issue with this type of pendulum swinging, I found this version to be a little choppy.  The back and forth was only across a few years, but when the jumps occur backwards it isn’t necessarily from oldest toward current.  Because of that it felt a little less smooth then has been experienced in other novels with this type of plot timeline.

Thea is a well-developed character as the main character in this novel.  Her mother, Clementine, also has a decent amount of character development.  I did feel like Clementine was a little flat in comparison to Thea.  The author has Thea doing a lot of back and forth in terms of values, courage, and introspection.  Clementine, by comparison, is really portrayed in a flat, aggressive manner except for the very ending which seems as though it maybe was an afterthought when a story-ending was needed.

Overall, this was not a bad book.  It seemed a little choppy at times and definitely has some mature content (see analysis below for details), but for those looking for a different take on the sea-faring narrative, this is a likely option.

Review of an Advanced Reading Copy from the Publisher

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  7 mild obscenities; 7 derogatory names; 8 scatological terms; 4 anatomical terms; 7 f-word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  3 refences to deaths by stabbing or drowning in mythological retelling of stories; 2 instances of dead whales with harvesting of whales depicted; multiple bloody head wounds depicted from accidents or murder; deaths in earthquake; multiple knife/sword/gun battles with some graphic death; man is shot point blank; minor cuts, bruises, scrapes; bloody clothing; verbal threats or threats with weapons; woman is bound and gagged; man is tied to a chair; 2 falls from cliff.

Sex/Nudity:  4 instances of kissing on lips or face; 2 instances of handholding; reference to same sex relationship; 3 instances of hugging or embracing; reference to rape; depiction of rape with no graphic imagery;

Mature Themes: 

Gender roles, society expectations, death, abandonment, stealing.

Drug and Alcohol Use: 

Various types of alcohol utilized.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I am a full-time mom, full-time wife, and overtime reader. I have been an avid reader for as long as anyone can remember. It must run in the family because both my mother and grandmother are also voracious readers and often pass books back and forth. Almost any genre can spark my interest, but I often go in streaks, reading a bunch of books from one genre, then switching to another for a while and back again.