Official Review: The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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HouseOfAtticus
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Official Review: The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles

Post by HouseOfAtticus » 30 Dec 2017, 09:29

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles" by Ronald E. Yates.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles by Ronald E. Yates is a work of historical fiction that tells the story of the eponymous hero, Billy Battles, who has departed from Kansas and his journey for the Orient has just begun. He is on an ocean liner that will take him into the realm of the mysterious “Orient”. He is taken to a journey that opens his eyes to political opportunists, spies, revolutionaries, wars and much more.

The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles
is the second book in the Finding Billy Battles trilogy, and it deals opens in the year 1894 when William Battles, the hero of this story, is aboard SS China. This book is wonderfully complex and enthralling, and the reader will find himself drawn to the book till the last page.

I feel that this book is quite interesting and irresistible, and it tells a beautiful narrative. The plot of the story is absolutely unique, and the reader would feel like he is taken into a different realm when he is reading this book. The amalgamation of political themes in a fictional text can often be problematic, but I feel like the author did justice to the themes that he has covered. The idea of the “Mysterious Orient” is explored in this text, and it is done when an adequate amount of political correctness.

A major problem one can point out when reading a historical text is that of anachronism, and this book certainly had a few inconsistencies when it comes to that, but overall, I felt that the language, as well as the overall narrative, did not fall victim to anachronism. There were times when I wondered if the language of the characters fit the time and place, but this is one of those things that can be easily overlooked when one is reading, and the reading experience is not hindered by such inconsistencies.

A very important element of this story was the characterisation. I feel that the author has created beautiful, well-rounded and diverse characters who add flavour to the overall reading experience. I love the protagonist of the story. I feel that the author has created a very dynamic hero and strong characters overall.

In my opinion, this book definitely deserves 4 out of 4 stars for the excellent and eloquent writing, beautiful plot and brilliant characterisation. The description of the different settings in the story was beautiful, and I feel that the author has extensively researched these places and cultures before writing about them.

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The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles
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Kat Berg
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Post by Kat Berg » 04 Jan 2018, 00:17

I have so many questions: Why is Billy going to the Orient? What kind of things are enthralling about the book? Not sure I know enough to decide if I want to read the book, but I am glad that you enjoyed it!

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Post by felodp9 » 04 Jan 2018, 01:25

I believe this book will be and interesting one. Can't wait to grab a copy to satisfy my curiosity.

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Post by CalHull » 04 Jan 2018, 06:49

Thank you for this review, you’ve convinced me to add this to my bookshelf for the near future!

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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Jan 2018, 08:25

I really do love beautifully done characters. I'm not sure this book would really be up my alley, though. Still I appreciated the information! Thanks.
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HouseOfAtticus
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Post by HouseOfAtticus » 04 Jan 2018, 08:29

Thank you so much for your honest views. You are right, I could've gone into deeper details. I will keep that in mind from now on.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 05 Jan 2018, 09:34

It sounds as if the author did his research well, bringing the historical setting to life. You say there may be some subtle anachronisms - I guess a writer has to be extremely meticulous to avoid those altogether. Yet perhaps we can allow some leeway if the story's good enough, and this is clearly compelling.

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Post by readerwhowrites » 05 Jan 2018, 20:29

Thank you for your review. I love historical fiction, and I love adventure stories, and if the writing is as superb as you say I'll really like this book.

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Post by CommMayo » 11 Jan 2018, 00:12

Thank you for your review, but I agree that I needed a little more plot summary to decide if the book interests me enough to pick it up. I really like how you bring up the issue of anachronism in novels of this nature.

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