Published by Independent (30th May 2022)
My rating: ⭐ ⭐
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Booksirens in exchange for an honest review.
Actual rating of 2.5
Jack Hartford is having the time of his life aboard the themed cruise ship the Coral Chorus. The days are spent catching the sun as the pleasure cruise ferries it’s passengers around the North Atlantic Ocean, while the nights are spent drinking their fill and enjoying themed games and attractions on board. Until one evening, Jack and the other passengers witness a strange ship materialize out of the fog, initially they think it’s all part of the show, until they soon realise that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Jenny Hartford refuses to believe that her brother Jack is lost at sea, when the coast guard gives up the search, Jenny decides that if they won’t find her brother, she will. Heading out to Bermuda with her boyfriend in tow, they start on the quest of finding a ship and a captain willing to take them on their harrowing search in the Bermuda Triangle. The fog and storms aren’t the only dangerous thing in these waters though, and there’s no telling who will make it out alive.
I was super excited to read this one when I first read the synopsis. I’ve been in a huge horror kick this year and this one popped up toting ghost pirates, the Bermuda Triangle and a missing cruise ship, so I just couldn’t pass it up. However, I do feel that it fell a little short for me in a lot of places.
Initially the story came across as almost reading like a child’s story, the opening chapter that follows Jack aboard the Coral Chorus before they disappear honestly had me wondering if the story was supposed to be middle grade reading. I feel that this was in part because of the way that Jack’s character was written, as well as his narration. He’s barely legal, and I feel like too much emphasis was put on this to the point that he sounded incredibly young. I almost DNF’d it there, but wanted to persist. Once we got to Jenny’s point of view, which I believe is by the second or third chapter, the narration had taken a turn and began to come across more towards what I expected. So I put it down to Furcht’s attempt to make Jack sound younger that was my issue. However, as the story progressed, at times I found myself thinking that it did still read like a child’s story, only with swearing, gore and violence thrown into the mix, which was a little perplexing to say the least. I’m not entirely sure what demographic Furcht was going for with this story, and I feel like this did impact my ability to enjoy the story fully. Maybe another couple rounds of editing and BETA reading may have helped to iron this kink out and really make it the story it has the promise to be.
The story itself was interesting enough. I did enjoy the addition of the Bermuda Triangle, which has always fascinated me, and I felt like it was really well illustrated through the story. Though in mentioning the Bermuda Triangle, I did find it a little bit hard to believe, that a career fisherman, who owns his own trawler and has been living and working in the area for his career, had no idea what the Bermuda Triangle was, or that it even existed. I know that not everyone is connected to everything, but I knew what the Bermuda Triangle was before I hit the age of 10, and I’m not a fisherman, nor live anywhere remotely near the area. So I did find this a hard pill to swallow I’m afraid and it just wasn’t entirely believable for me. I know, fiction is fiction and authors have creative license, and we read to escape. For me, even in fantasy, I need there to be a level of believability in the plot points and the story for me to enjoy it fully.
I really enjoyed the character of the captain of the Angel’s Wing, he really leapt of the page and I could just feel him standing next to me through the whole story. He was so well written and besides the Bermuda Triangle thing, I thoroughly enjoyed everything about him and felt that he was three dimensional and real. The character of Jenny, I honestly didn’t like, not one bit. I understand that she was dealing with the fact that her brother was missing and deemed lost, but she came across so entitled and so unlikeable. There are no redeeming qualities to her at all, and if it wasn’t for the captain’s character, I may have DNF’d purely because of her. I don’t entirely understand the point of Will’s character either, the whole time it seemed like Jenny hated him, or at the very least disliked him and didn’t want him near her; yet he was meant to be her boyfriend? Their whole dynamic was awful and just didn’t work for me unfortunately, their ‘relationship’ was unbelievable and I felt like it didn’t add anything to the plot at all. The small portions that we saw of Jack I enjoyed, and I would have liked to gotten to know his character a bit more as I feel like he could have developed into something amazing. I felt like the pirate characters were all well written and they did have a definite overpowered and creep factor which worked super well for the story.
I felt like the story itself, once the pirates came into the picture, really gave a strong atmosphere of hopelessness and isolation, a real sense of “we’re not making it out of this alive” which worked super well for the story and I was totally here for.
All in all, this story held a lot a promise but was let down by a few things that I feel BETA and ALPHA readers could have helped take care of, along with another round or two of editing to iron out any kinks and pick up the grammatically errors that I came across. Furcht shows great promise as an up and coming horror author and I’m excited to see where they’ll head once they’ve honed their craft a tiny bit more. So while this story fell short for me, I will pick this author up again because they’ve got something special that’s just waiting to be given the chance to shine.