On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers (review by Elisabeth S. ’16)

On Stranger TidesOn Stranger Tides by Tim Powers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

On Stranger Tides details the adventures of former puppeteer John Chandagnac, whose ship is captured by pirates and who is forced to change sides and become a pirate at gunpoint. He becomes “Jack Shandy,” to the pirates, and he inadvertently saves the pirate captain’s life, thus becoming a full-fledged pirate. The book was neither overwhelming nor underwhelming, neither incredibly avant-garde nor too comfortably formulaic. Jack Shandy made for an enjoyable protagonist, though the novel gets kind of muddled two-thirds of the way through. The pacing felt too slow for the kind of blow-by-blow action-adventure book it’s trying to be. It was also unfortunate that the female character was useless–too much of a damsel in distress. The romantic subplot felt too one-sided and like too much of an afterthought to engage the reader. However, the novel does improve with a highly intriguing magic system and strong characters like Davies, Blackbeard, and even Hurwood. Overall, On Stranger Tides was an entertaining read but not much more than that. – Elisabeth S. ‘16

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