Official Review: Voyage of Pearl of the Seas

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Official Review: Voyage of Pearl of the Seas

Post by desantismt_17 » 03 Apr 2018, 12:26

[Following is an official review of "Voyage of Pearl of the Seas" by Ruth Finnegan.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Voyage of Pearl of the Seas by Ruth Finnegan is a beautiful coming-of-age story told in the tradition of folktale. Kate and Chris set off on a journey across the sea with the goal of sailing around the world. On their way, they encounter Odyssey-like obstacles and deal with evolving emotions toward one another. Before they can make it around the world, they arrive in the land of the King with Many Names, who teaches them many important lessons about life and themselves. The story is one of inner growth. Kate and Chris find themselves learning things they never knew and forging a bond to end all bonds in this mesmerizing tale of friendship and adventure.

Finnegan’s writing is stunning. I got swept away in the lilting quality of the prose. The use of rhyme and alliteration almost make this poetry. One of my favorite passages comes at the beginning of Chapter 4. It opens as follows: “A lone ship smaller, going, smallest, slipping stealing stillening sea-droppenly away.” The order of words is a journey in itself, and I found myself sliding along this line as if over a wave and into the ocean. For a lack of better way to describe it, Voyage of Pearl of the Seas offers a tactile reading experience.

Finnegan’s knowledge of classic literature and folktales shows. There are notes for her inspirations included at the end of the book, which added an interesting extra level of knowledge to this story. As she states, the notes are not necessary to understand the book, and I found this to be true. Some of the inspirations I understood before reading the notes. Others, I did not, but this in no way detracted from my reading experience.

As is true of many things, a best asset can also be a greatest downfall. While the writing is breathtaking, it is also heavy. There were places I felt bogged down in the words. As a result, I was forced to reread passages to reclaim the direction of the story before moving forward. There seems to be a general lack of punctuation. In many places, it is not necessarily incorrect grammar, but the running together of words made some sentences difficult to decipher. Similarly, more than one character’s dialogue appears in the same paragraph, and I had to double check who was speaking. There are no defined breaks between Kate’s thoughts, Chris’s thoughts, and the thoughts of a narrator. All of these things pulled me from the story at various points.

My favorite character is Holly, the dog who accompanies Kate and Chris on their voyage. Holly is smart and always willing to help—the perfect canine companion. During the journey, Holly falls overboard many times, never sustaining injuries. These accidents add humor and serve to bring Kate and Chris closer together. Holly also always seems to know what’s going on far better than her human counterparts. This alludes to the canine sixth sense and gives dogs the credit they are due for being such intelligent animals.

I rate Voyage of Pearl of the Seas 3 out of 4 stars. While the writing is gorgeous, there were just too many incidents where it was more confusing than lovely. This combined with a smattering of errors keep me from giving it a perfect 4. On the other hand, the prose is too enchanting to rate it 2 stars. I believe this book would be best enjoyed in audio format. With proper narration, the lyrical text would simply float off the page. I recommend this book for anyone interested in folktale or fairytale stories. It would also appeal to lovers of C. S. Lewis, as I was fondly reminded of the Chronicles of Narnia.

Voyage of Pearl of the Seas
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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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Post by kandscreeley » 05 Apr 2018, 07:30

You know, I saw this one to review but bypassed it. My thought was that there was no way that the author could live up to C. S. Lewis or the like. I'm impressed, though, with your review. I'll definitely have to pick this one up!
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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 05 Apr 2018, 08:55

Too bad about the confusing reads, according to your review I get a beautiful picture. Thank you for a giving a great description.
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Post by CambaReviewer » 05 Apr 2018, 11:16

I like great writing any day. It is like music to one's soul. I will check this book out. Thanks for a candid review!

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Post by Irene C » 07 Apr 2018, 09:13

Thanks for this review. The balance between lyrical prose and readability can be hard to strike, and it's a shame this author didn't fully do so.
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Post by NL Hartje » 11 Apr 2018, 00:32

As interesting as this sounds, the author lost me when I read your quote from chapter four. I personally cannot follow this "heavy" writing, as you've described it, without wanting to nod off. I appreciate your detailed review because I now know this probably isn't one for me.
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Post by crediblereading2 » 13 Apr 2018, 17:14

This is a balanced review. The tale is quite enticing and informative. It teaches on life's lessons and love. I am disappointed that content is not properly structured though.

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Post by Eileen R » 19 Apr 2018, 11:51

This is a great review. Although I'm a huge fan of chronicles of Narnia, I'm really not sure if this book will appeal to me. It does sound confusing and I think I'll probably get lost along the way. Thanks for the review though.

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Post by bnoy » 29 Apr 2018, 01:34

I cannot wait to read this book! It has everything I enjoy, from coming of age to folktales. I'm slightly disappointed that it is a little confusing at times but I don't think it will keep me away from reading the novel. Thanks for the review!

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Post by lbhatters » 30 Apr 2018, 18:00

Your review of this book is very good. You have a good knack for writing. This sounds like an interesting book from your review. I hope the author has a sample to review on Amazon.
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Post by elizab8 » 29 May 2018, 22:54

Great Review: I happen to like folklores, and poetry as seen in the beginning of the book. Just the brief reading of "Voyage of Pearls" took my memory back to a Nancy Drew mystery. I am going to read the book, and hope I am re-living "Narnia" I did like that movie, it was enchanting and magical.

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