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|Print List Price:||£6.99|
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Ship of Souls Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The main character, Dmitri, or `D', is a foster child, and the first half of the story focuses on D's attempts to settle into a new life with his foster mother. This brings its own problems of life without parents and trying to be accepted in a new school. He is unexpectedly befriended by cool but kooky Nyla and the school's basketball superstar and heartthrob, Keem.
Keem has his own problems to face as a Muslim in post-911 America while Nyla - pierced and fierce - gives D the friendship he desperately needs.
The story then takes a strange turn when we are suddenly thrown into a fantastical, magical tale. Here, the three protagonists fight evil to save hundreds of lost souls who have languished in the depths of New York for centuries. This part of the story is also well told, focusing on the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan, a graveyard for hundreds of free and enslaved Africans, which was discovered in 1991.
It feels as if there are two disparate parts to this story; both would work well as individually told tales. The fantasy part about the African Burial Ground which also includes the American Revolutionary War as a backdrop, uses an important part of American history on which to base the story, and it would have been great to expand this further.
Overall, I enjoyed this story very much. It was well-written, thoughtful and original. Just a shame that, at 118 pages, it felt pretty rushed and seemed to gallop through to the end.
I was not particularly taken with the style of writing, but I believe that is because it was written to appeal to readers of 10 plus, but also to listeners from around age 8. So it does seem rather niaive. But it's easy to read, and the story grips and takes you with it. I am sure it was written with schools in mind, for it seems a good teaching tool, and the discussion topics at the back of the book (which of course I didn't see until the end) confirm that. Whilst this would probably be more interesting for American readers, based on a chunk of New York's history I knew nothing about; it does stand alone as an adventure story with a touch of magic built in. If it does no more than make a child eager to learn about this historic subject, it will be worth it, and a good starting place is to google the African Burial Ground National Monument.
For me I was alright with the beginning of this book which introduced the back-story, D, his friends and his family circumstances, but then the fantasy elements came in and I was a little unconvinced by it all. Maybe that was because the magic bird was such a weak character (in my eyes at least) lacking a clear mission and a clear identity. Also D at the end of the book decides he has nothing to live for which was surprising given the promising life it looked like he had ahead of him, so I was unconvinced by that too.
Perhaps if the book was fleshed out it would have been better, so D's life would have looked worse and the danger parts could have been more suspenseful. As it was those parts were over in an instant. Reading the blurb suggests there is a lot going on but the full story is squashed into not far past 100 pages.
The book was still ok, but could have been better.
An intriguing theme, its three central characters full of potential. Unfortunately the novel's brevity (barely 120 pages) proves a problem, many readers perhaps wishing for more fleshing out. They may also have difficulties with the "I" narrative, its style hardly that of a boy of eleven.
Although at times magical and moving (as with the ghost of young soldier Billy), for me the story's main impact was in its early pre-fantasy stages. Take, for example, when "freak" Dmitri is confronted by a school bully, Keem unexpectedly intervening to declare, "He's with me." In an instant Dmitri's life is transformed - he no longer prey, but protected property. Here is a moment that rings true, such instances less evident elsewhere.
An uneven tale - certainly not disliked, but perhaps not liked as much as one would wish.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Had the book ages. Couldn't put it down once I started it. Read it in an afternoon. Spellbinding story, super book.Published 2 months ago by Jenifer McIntyre
Truly amazing book,it only took a couple of days to read. I started to read and could not put it down.Published on 30 May 2014 by Kindle Customer
the story was very good and kept me wanting to keep reading
not really my type of book hence 4
Enjoyed the tale between life and afterlife. The tale wasn't to scary more magical and would be a good trade for anyone.Published on 4 Nov. 2013 by Ann Sanderson
I liked it because it was different, history, children on a mission and heart felt feelings, and a bit scary too.Published on 2 Nov. 2013 by Hilary Taylor
I was glad I got this book. It was deeply moving and unlike any thing I have read for a while. It explores death, release, acceptance and purpose. Read morePublished on 29 Oct. 2013 by Amazon Customer
Not what I expected. Not as good as I thought sadly. .more like a kids story
Glad it was cheap !
good characterisation held me to the end even though I only bought it because it was cheap and was sited in Brooklyn, a part of America I will have to get to like for family... Read morePublished on 21 Oct. 2013 by Marion McKay