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Review – The Farthest Shore (Eden #3) by Marian Perera

The Farthest Shore cover image

Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher

Captain Alyster Juell is relishing the taste of his first command for the fleet of Denalay. The steamship Checkmate doesn’t carry weaponry, but that doesn’t matter. His mission is to win an ocean-crossing race—and its hefty prize.

As the voyage gets underway, Alyster hits his first snag—there’s a stowaway on board, a reporter who poked around for information about his ship the day before. And it’s too late to turn back.

Miri Tayes didn’t intend to stow away. She was forced to run for her life when a colleague discovered her secret: She can pass for normal but she’s a half-salt—daughter of a Denalait mother and a pirate father.

Despite her lack of seaworthy skills, Miri works hard to earn her keep, and Alyster, taken with her quick wit and steely nerve, falls for her. But as the race intensifies and the pirates use a kraken to hunt down Checkmate for its new technology, the truth could be the most elusive—and dangerous—prize of all.

Contains a reporter hiding a dangerous secret and the captain who’d like to strip her bare in more ways than one. Also pirates, prejudice and passion.
This blurb came from the author’s website.

I discovered Perera earlier this year and reviewed the previous installment The Deepest Ocean back in June. I was pretty excited to find out she was continuing to write in this world so I made a point to request The Farthest Shore when it was available. This particular installment is a direct sequel to The Deepest Ocean and the hero, Alyster, is hoping to live up to the reputation his older brother Darok set earlier.

Alyster wanted to show that one of the new steam powered ships had the ability to go faster further than the traditional sail/wind powered ships so he entered a contest that seemed perfect for his command. However, the pirates, still smarting from their resounding defeat at Darok’s hands, had a rather diabolic plan to capture the steamship resulting in new understanding of the phrase “ware the kraken!” And the other competing ship Captains weren’t exactly about mutual cooperation. I enjoyed getting to know Alyster as his initial stuffiness wore away while he dealt with some unexpected facts of life and of his own nature. I loved his competitiveness and how it was tempered by his care for other people even if sometimes to his detriment.

Miri was another interesting character. She grew up not really hiding who she was but fully aware of the prejudices and attitudes towards her parentage regardless of the law. Unfortunately as atrocities escalated in the struggle between the mainlanders and the pirates, she learned people had a habit of at best suspecting she was a spy and at work reacting violently which led to her stowing away on Alyster’s ship. As she grew to know and care for the crew members her life became fuller in certain extents but also emptier because she expected to leave them once they made their initial port, however things didn’t work out the way she planned. I really liked Miri’s internal strength and refusal to be ashamed of who she was. I also thought her willingness to use what she had to help protect those she cared about was extremely telling. It was as if she thought the ship and its crew were hers as well as Alyster’s.

I enjoyed the slow growing romance between Miri and Alyster. They were attracted to each other rather quickly but even when they were on the verge of coming together physically Miri’s parentage interrupted the moment. At that instant I was rather upset with Alyster because I felt like he let me down with his lack of immediate acceptance but as I continued reading I ended up treasuring that moment for a couple of different reasons. First, it humanized Alyster allowing him to grow as a character instead of being a static all perfect hero without a single fault. And second it really allowed me to watch the growth of the romance over the course of the story and therefore buy into their HEA.

Perera included several other elements I enjoyed. One of the other things I thought Perera did well in this story was make me feel sympathetic towards some of those who could be considered the enemy. She really made me look at how things aren’t necessarily black and white but every shade of grey. I really hope at least two people have a better life after the end of this particular installment. I also still have some serious questions and doubts about this Unity religion, which seems to be gaining all sorts of power in a variety of different ways and at a variety of different levels. I personally think the Unity is/are behind a lot of the issues with the pirates. I find it quite telling that no one really seems to know anything about the Unity but they all do what the Unity says.

As much as I enjoyed The Farthest Shore I will admit the soft part of me wanted one thing to turn out slightly differently BUT I didn’t feel cheated by the ending. In fact the final results stayed true to the story and the characters so I can’t fault Perera because I had a different idea of how things were going to be. I am seriously looking forward to the next installment in this world because I find her storytelling fascinating and the world full of possibilities.

I give The Farthest Shores a B+

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By E_booklover

E is addicted to books. She discovered at an early age that not only were they her transport to far off worlds, adventures, and exotic cultures, but that she ran into far fewer objects if she walked while reading then if she wasn't reading. She reads across several genres, such as: romance, western,mystery, SF/F and its derivatives. She isn't too picky except for good characterization, settings she can imagine, and a story that flows logically... umm so ok -- she wants a good story. Have any to recommend?

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