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The Wake of the Bloody Angel by Alex Bledsoe – review
Twenty years ago, a barmaid in a harbor town fell for a young sailor who turned pirate to make his fortune. But what truly became of Black Edward Tew remains a mystery—one that has just fallen into the lap of freelance sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse.
For years, Eddie has kept his office above Angelina’s tavern, so when Angelina herself asks him to find out what happened to the dashing pirate who stole her heart, he can hardly say no—even though the trail is two decades old. Some say Black Edward and his ship, The Bloody Angel, went to bottom of the sea, taking with it a king’s fortune in treasure. Others say he rules a wealthy, secret pirate kingdom. And a few believe he still sails under a ghostly flag with a crew of the damned.
To find the truth, and earn his twenty-five gold pieces a day, Eddie must take to sea in the company of a former pirate queen in search of the infamous Black Edward Tew…and his even more legendary treasure.
What I expected: Since I’ve read the other three books in this series and they are all different types of adventures, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from this one. I knew that I’d be reading about Eddie LaCrosse and whatever job he’s hired to do this time. Since my ARC was digital, I didn’t read a synopsis, and I didn’t even see the cover until much later online. When I read the title, I immediately thought of “wake” as in, party for the dead. So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect other than some type of mystery to be solved with our sword jockey Eddie following the clues to completion.
What I got: Well, I got something very unexpected. The first several pages included, nearly word for word, the lyrics to one of my favorite songs. Now, it is an older song, so many people may not recognize the words as lyrics. Every time I came across another line, I’d get thrown out of the narrative so I suppose it wasn’t a good thing. But, as I said, if you don’t know the song you won’t recognize the lyrics, and you won’t lose the flow of the narrative. I don’t have a problem with the use of the story from the song – after all, it is one of my favorites – but I think I would have preferred if the words hadn’t been so close to the lyrics.
I also got a fun fantasy detective story on the sea. I like sea stories and descriptions of ship life and even the little details about ships and how they work.
What I liked: I really liked the fact that Eddie brings a female colleague along who is not a love interest. It was interesting learning about her and her past. I liked all the shipboard stuff–the ways they entertained themselves and yet kept the ship going as needed. It felt very real to me. Naturally, I have zero experience with sailing, even in a modern boat, so I’m hardly an expert, but as a reader, as long as it feels real, that is all I need.
What I did not: As mentioned above, the song lyric thing interrupted my enjoyment of the narrative. There were also several plot devices that didn’t work logically for me, though had they been better explained, they might have. For example [SPOILER ALERT], when Eddie and crew arrive on the “ghost ship,” there is nothing littering the floor of the cabin except one or two items. Since the creature was restrained in such a way as to restrict vision and the tentacles could only enter in certain places, there would most likely be much more stuff littering the floor – swords, knives, shoes, scarves – anything that could have fallen or been knocked off of the body of the victims. Since there were many victims based on the story from many different ships, there should have been a lot more stuff littering the place. And NONE of the previous visitors escaped? Do people generally send of the entire crew down to the cabin boy to inspect a ghost ship? None cut their losses and ran away in fear? That just doesn’t seem logical to me. END SPOILER
Cover Talk: I like this cover. It is attractive in that it makes me interested in the story inside. It is well crafted and so is a nice piece of art for art’s sake, and it fits with the narrative and atmosphere.
Would I recommend? Yes. I enjoyed the story despite those things I felt were flaws. Eddie LaCrosse is a good character and interesting to follow around. All of the books are as different from each other as they are similar, so it is a fun series to sit and enjoy.