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Monday, August 31, 2009

Beside A Burning Sea

Beside A Burning Sea
by John Shors
audio book: 14.5 hours


*** About the Book ***

It’s 1942 in the South Pacific. A nighttime explosion sends the US hospital ship Benevolence to the bottom of the sea. Of the hundreds on board only 9 make it to shore: three US Naval officers, three nurses, an engineer, a wounded Japanese prisoner, and a young stowaway. Can these very different people find a way to work together to survive on this tropical island? How long will they be stranded there? Will it be the Americans or Japanese who find them first? And will they figure out that there is a saboteur in their midst? You’ll just have to read and find out!

A quick note about the cover: this is not the same cover as on the audio book, but I can't find it anywhere online. I actually like the cover I had better than the one shown here ...


*** Why I Choose This Book ***

Hey Lady! reviewed this book back in May. In her review she said, "Bottom line: this will be one of my favorite books of the year.". I added it to my Friday Finds list based on that comment alone. When I saw that my library had an audio version available I reserved a copy right away.


*** My Thoughts ***

Although this book has some flaws I really enjoyed it. It has adventure, suspense, a love story, and it moves at a good pace. It kept my attention - I was never bored while listening. It is relatively light reading/listening and that is just what I needed this past week. I breezed through all 12 cds in just over 5 days, listening as I did the dishes, cleaned under my couch, and filed papers at work.

Minor Spoiler Alert: I’m going to talk about a few of the characters next. What I tell you is all stuff you find out in the first few chapters so I don’t think it spoils anything, but if you’d rather not read it, simply skip the italicized paragraph below.

As for the flaws, well … the 9 survivors are rather stereotypical. There’s Jake, the black engineer (African-Americans were not allowed to serve in most fighting units during World War II), from a rural farm town. There’s Akira, the wounded Japanese soldier, who just happens to be fluent in English and who never wanted to join the war in the first place. There's Ratu, the fun-loving and adventurous Fijian stowaway. And then there's Roger, the saboteur, a cruel creepy guy with no redeeming qualities. The plot is rather predictable too.

End Minor Spoiler Alert.

However, I still really enjoyed this book. It didn’t require any deep thought, it entertained me, and I’m glad I listened to it.


*** Poetry ***

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is the inclusion of many Haikus. I'm not a poetry person - I don't understand much of it, I don't really like much of it, and I'm not really interested in much of it. I've never been a fan of Haikus in particular - they are so short and always seemed to pair two unrelated ideas together. However after listening to this book I now understand the concept behind traditionally created Haikus and I have a much better appreciation of them.


*** Challenges ***

Although I didn't choose it with this in mind, this book does count for the War Through the Generations: WWII Challenge.


*** Other Reviews ***

I already mentioned Trish's glowing review above. Did I also tell you that she had absolutely NO complaints about this book? She thought it was just about perfect so please don't take my criticisms too much to heart - I really did enjoy this book in spite of them.

Has anyone else reviewed this book? I'd be happy to include your link here.




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9 comments:

Crystal said...

This book sounds really good - I've added it to my library list. Thanks for the review.

bermudaonion said...

Wow, this book does sound good. I might need to listen to it (rather than read it) so that I can gain the same appreciation of haiku.

Jenny said...

I just saw this book at Books a Million and thought the cover was so pretty! Plus the author is really friendly so now I want to read all his books, lol! It sounds good even despite the flaws you listed.

Lit and Life said...

Sounds interesting. I'll have to see if I can find it on audio.

violetcrush said...

John Shors is on my someday reading list, especially his first book. This one sounds interesting though.

Anna said...

Despite the minor issues you had, it sounds worth checking out. I'll get this on War Through the Generations soon.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Heather J. said...

Crystal - You're welcome. :)

BermudaOnion - Each chapter begins with a haiku - I was able to gain an appreciation for them as the book progressed.

Jenny - Meeting/hearing an author always does that to me too. :)

Lit and Life - I think the audio version was very well done - hope you enjoy it.

violetcrush - I've never read anything else by him, but I'll look for your reviews eventually.

Anna - Thanks!

Serena said...

I really like you review of this book, that is still sitting on my shelf. I just didn't seem to get to it this summer when I took time off from ARCs and blog tours.

Haikus are some of my favorites....I really enjoy the dichotomy in them. I'm glad you learned a bit about haikus and enjoyed them for the most part.

I think poetry gets a bad rap because too little of contemporary poetry is read and enjoyed...too much time in school is spent on classic poets and their more obscure pieces.

Anna & Serena said...

We've posted a link to your review on the war blog. Thank you for participating. We hope that you will consider the 2010 Vietnam War Challenge.

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