I am excited to write my first book review on the blog - Beasts Royal, Twelve Tales of Adventure - by Patrick 0'Brian!
Now bare with me while I write my own style of review, keeping in mind that the format for these may change as I experiment with each review.
I found this book in a bus port newsagents when I was bored at work (one of the times at least). I spent a lot of time alone at work and it wasn't very busy, so I read, after not reading for a long time. It's fitting that the first book I read after so long should also be the first I review on the site. It took me two days to finish the book, having said that it isn't a long book and I am a slow reader. I can speed read but I prefer to take in as much as I can while reading fiction, both from a story standpoint and a writer standpoint.
About the Author
When I first picked up this small volume the opened the the lovely hard cover, I noticed a long line of books titles, all of which Patrick O'Brian had written. I'll actually add an image and show you guys - it's impressive.
To me one of those titles stood out Master and Commander now I have neither read the book nor seen the movie (it's on my to watch and read list okay!) but I had definitely heard of it. As it turns out it's the first of a twenty novel series (the twenty first published after O'Brians passing away). So Patrick O'Brian was a serial author! He also published many shorter works.
I don't know about you but looking at a list like this is inspiring to an author at the beginning of their serial publishing career.
My Thoughts on the Book
It's not a long book, which I actually enjoy and is part of the reason that I am writing serially. I found the twelve stories (as the subtitle Twelve Tales of Adventure suggests) each so involving and engaging that it stirred in me the desire to write tales that would evoke the same emotion for my readers, in shorter serial stories.
This is an odd book I must say but it grew on me very quickly, it's not a typical story. For nine of these tales the main characters (I'd hesitate to say heroes) are animals. And not your jungle book animals no, real world creatures in human influenced environments that battle for survival.
These animals battle against each other, against nature and human nature. Each story pulling you into the perspective of an individual creature and their struggle. Most if not all of these stories end in revealing humanity to be the true beasts of the world.
Most end in gory death.
You may pause and think, "Why would I read such written cruelty to animals?" But wait, it's realistic - for the most part. These animals are driven by their nature - not by plot - and this makes these stories believable and eye opening. Yes, I write a series about hunters chasing and killing creatures and you may say that makes me cold and unfeeling and so can handle reading such works. I disagree but encourage you to read this book and make up your own mind about it.
I said earlier that nine stories were from animal perspectives. The last three stories revolve around a human named Hussein who at first I didn't care about, especially after being so invested in nine different animals, but I soon discovered that these stories that revolved around Hussein were linked into some of the other stories and also not in chronological order which I found interesting. The human character grew on me - even if he was a bit of a scoundrel.
On the Writing
It took me a little while to appreciate the writing, it's a fairly old book (being originally Published in 1934) so the style of English though not archaic was not what I am used to reading. On top of that I was suddenly in the shoes (or lack there of) of varying animals. But as soon as I was used to the style I fell in love with it. O'Brian does really well writing these points of view, putting the reader in a position where they care about the well being of all sorts of creatures and it's just amazing. It is simply so unique that when I had finished reading it I gave it to one of my reader/writer friends to see what they thought of it.
Overall I thought the writing transported me to where the author wanted me to be, and to where I wanted to be - and that's all good writing really is.
I recommend this book if you are okay with reading the brutal death of people and animals. It did catch me off guard the first time I read one of these scenes and I did think that the gruesomeness wasn't really necessary. However! I did enjoy this book and can recommend it as an interesting read.
In the comments: How did you enjoy this review? Was there any other points that you would like to hear my thoughts on going forward? And what are you reading at the moment?
That's it from me, Read On!