Saturday, October 8, 2011

read: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom (2 stars)

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of FreedomPirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom by A.C. Crispin

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was very excited when I heard this book was coming out. I loved the Pirates of the Caribbean films almost as much as the ride itself. To get some background on Captain Jack Sparrow would be a great treat. I even recommended it to a fellow fan, sight unseen. In other words, I was predisposed to like this book.

But I did not. I gave it a try. I slogged through it to the very end, after a fashion. I fully read the first third, speed read the middle third and skimmed the last. If it weren't for the fan boy in me, yearning to learn what I could about Jack, I wouldn't have bothered.

It's overly long. The first part of the book is filled with flashbacks that bring the story to almost a complete stop. They are interesting bits, but it would have been wise to find another way to tell that even earlier tale of Jack's history. Perhaps that is the main flaw of this volume. It is trying to tell two tales.

There are other flaws. I noticed quite a few annoying word repetitions - multiple sentences on the same page that started with or contained the same phrase two, three, or more times. This offended my inner ear. And I'm not pointing out Jack's constant use of the word 'savvy', which I expected, but also found it annoying after a while.

This is not to say the book is not without its highlights. There is the kernel of a good adventure, or two, here. There are flashes of good characterization, both familiar - Jack, Barbarossa, Cutler Beckett - and new. There is obviously good research into these and into seamanship. The result, however, is overblown, badly structured, poorly written, and over long.

I was disappointed. Your mileage may vary.

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