It’s fair to say that my review of this book’s predecessor was not overly glowing, and unfortunately when reviewing Pirate Booty I am inclined to be even less so, for which I am genuinely sorry; I like this author, and we have engaged in a fair amount of correspondence of late (I have been sent the three books in the trilogy for my unbiased review). Not that Prine’s writing is in any way not good – far from it, the books have a wonderful style and voice, which for an ensemble cast with multiple narrative strands is a good thing; despite all that is going on (which is a lot), it never really becomes in any way incoherent. The definite biggest problem, were I to single it out (and this is a notable observation I made when reading the first book), is simply that it is just too long. Prine writes in incredible detail, particularly so with regards character interactions, and the prose is very dialogue-led; the combined effect of this is a book which feels every bit of its well over 100,000 words. To tell the truth, I didn’t feel there was any need for this to be case. In fact, I would even go as far as to say that events across the whole of the first two books could have well been trimmed and consolidated into one title. Unfortunately, like the first, Prine has chosen to leave this book mid-narrative to open the second sequel (think the Lord of the Rings trilogy). You simply cannot read any of these books as a standalone title, and any attempt to do so will make very little sense to you generally.
Pirate Booty sets off at the point where Pirate the Rock Band ended, but it is clear that this instalment is a different kettle of fish altogether; whilst the first was light-hearted and humorous, even bordering at times on farce-comedy, this book is much, much darker and altogether more serious, with themes of child sexual abuse, sadism and domestic brutality. The antagonist is a particularly unlikely arch villain, and a quite unbelievable piece of work, crossing somewhere between Lord Boothby and Patrick Bateman. There is a genuine sense of threat and danger in this book, which I admit I wasn’t expecting at all, and the source of it took me back a little – it feels a little like Richard Laymon writing a pulp thriller.
Apart from the characters and their relationships, it does feel like there is little similarity between this book and its prequel – of course, I cannot comment on the third, which I have yet to read. The darkness in this book seems somewhat in contrast to its undeniably more salacious tone; the crass villain aside, it seems that suddenly, since the last book, near every character has developed some kind of sex addiction – the book is full of it: gay sex; hetero sex; sadistic sex; casual sex… Again, like the seriousness of the villain, it seems somewhat out of sync with the former episode.
There are many positives though, particularly regarding the qualities of the author, but I do think a little more ruthlessness is required; sometimes an author needs to take a step back from their own profound relationship with the ensemble characters within and just tell the story.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: e-z-prine drama comedy melodrama rock-band eighties thriller suspense dark abuse