Welcome to Day 2 of the April CSFF Blog Tour, featuring George Bryan Polivka’s Blaggard’s Moon.
This post is best experienced with: The Coolest Piratey Music Ever
What is it about pirates? They’re low-down, blackhearted, sadistic, murderous, lying, cheating, thieving, drunken reprobates with lousy personal hygiene, but we root for them anyway. We make movies about them, we design amusement park rides around them, we name fast food restaurants after them, and we even dedicate a day on the international calendar to talk like them.
Maybe, as the advertisement goes, there’s a little pirate in all of us. He represents a lot of things we wish we could be…carefree, accountable to no one, intimidating, and maybe even filthy rich. We’re too civilized to let him break free because we know there’s nothing but death at the end of a rope or the point of a cutlass in his future, and we pray he’ll somehow mend his ways before then.
Give ’em the Hook – Blaggard’s Moon opens strong. We meet a lone pirate, left for dead and hoping beyond all hope for a miracle that might give him one more chance at redemption. It wasn’t more than a couple of pages before I was hooked–I wanted to see Smith Delaney find a way off that post, and I wanted to know how he got there in the first place.
Join the Crew, or Walk the Plank – The power of choices and consequences provides a central theme that ties the story together, but doesn’t provide the reader easy answers. I enjoy stories that make me think and lead me to wonder what I might have done were I in the characters’ shoes. In Blaggard’s Moon, good choices are not necessarily rewarded with happy outcomes, and evil’s comeuppance is often long in coming. Missed opportunities cast long shadows. As you might expect, bad things can happen if ye’ve seen the curs-ed treasure.
They Call Me ‘Tater Salad’ – Polivka taps some serious inspiration naming his pirate captains. Who wouldn’t want to crew up with the likes of Sharkbit Sutter, Scatter Wilkins, Conch Imbry, or Dancer Clang?
Up the Long Ladder, and Down the Short Rope – The only part of Blaggard’s Moon that didn’t work for me was the conclusion. Polivka abruptly veers into a mystical resolution in which…urrk…aagh…
Arrr, there be no spoilers on this voyage, matey. Dead men tells no tales.
*koff* *wheeze* Aw, c’mon Cap’n…how can I do a book review without talking about the ending?
Blast and bilge-rats. Oh, very well…perhaps just a small one, but yer on half rations tonight.
Thank you. Consarned inner pirate…sheesh. Besides the mystical fog-bank (which I’m willing to discuss in more detail in the comments section), there was one other bothersome issue for me. Though the seas have been nearly swept clean of piracy, a few “repentant” captains linger, turning their energies to more legitimate commerce. I found it a little hard to believe that any of these scoundrels would have been let off scot-free, given the Gatemen’s zeal and the amount of blood and treasure spent to eradicate the pirates.
All in all, I found Blaggard’s Moon a very well-written, absorbing read with memorable characters, pulse-pounding action, a flutter of romance, a bit of mystery, and a dead man’s chest full of piratey adventure. Pirate stories aren’t usually my first choice for reading material, but Blaggard’s Moon has given me a new appreciation for the genre. I’m definitely planning to check out Mr. Polivka’s other stories about Nearing Vast.
Tomorrow, I’ll cross steel with the other scurvy knaves on our Three-Day-Tour and try to keep most of my blood off the deck. Until then, I invite you to spend a few moments swapping tales with the rest of the crew. Just lay off the rum.
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Rachel Starr Thomson
>>This review is based upon a copy of the book provided to me free of charge by the publisher, a courtesy I appreciate, but which does not guarantee my recommendation. I strive to evaluate every book I review purely on its intrinsic merits.<<