August 14th, 2013

Book with cat 1

Book #35: The Commodore's Daughter

The Commodore's Daughter by Jamie Brazil.
(Book received for free for review from Windtree Press.)

It's strange to think that a year ago I said there was nearly no good self-published books. This year almost every self-published book I've read has been really enjoyable*. The Commodore's Daughter is near the top of this year's list.

Set in 1853, the story's main character is Commodore Perry's daughter. As Perry is a rich, powerful man, he arranges a good marriage for his daughters. The youngest wants none of that. She reads books, she wants to travel the world, she wants anything but to be married to a man twice her age. She stows away on her father's ship and ends up in Japan, alone. That's where things really get interesting. She knows nothing of the language and very little of the culture. Through a lucky accident she gets taken in and given the chance to learn more about the language and ways of Japan.

Usually when I run into something unbelievable in a book, it kills the majority of my enjoyment. For some reason, that wasn't the case here. There were a couple of not-totally-believable moments in the story, but I still loved the story to death.

Usually I hate romance subplots in my books, especially in YA books, but in this one I didn't mind it. (I can't say I liked it, but it didn't make me scrunch up my face and want to chuck my iPad across the room.)

I've always enjoyed 'person alone in a new culture' stories, and I like learning things while reading fiction -- Commodore's Daughter kills those two birds with one stone. The author used Japanese words in a way that felt very natural. I knew many of them, but I learned a few new ones.

I hope this review isn't too disjointed. I've been working on it for a couple hours now and it just doesn't want to come out. I feel like I just need an explosion of words across the page instead of organized sentences and paragraphs: I REALLY REALLY LIKED IT AND YOU SHOULD READ IT TOO AND JUST TRUST ME ON WHY IT'S ONLY $3 ON AMAZON WHICH IS TOTALLY RIPPING THE AUTHOR OFF SO JUST TRUST ME AND GO READ IT.

That does bring up the last point I wanted to make: Seriously, this book is only $3 on Amazon. It's worthy of being a major-publisher priced of $10 or so. Remember (never forget!) how Flesh Cartel charged $3/40 pages of story? Compare that to Commodore's Daughter, which gives you a whole book of happy enjoyment fun storytime yay strong young female character... (Stop it, brain. Sentences and paragraphs! Sentences and paragraphs!)

ANYWAY. In all seriousness. This was a great book. The story and character were strong enough to make me overlook the few little things I didn't like (which is rare!), and it's only $3. You can't even buy one of those fancy coffee drinks at Starbucks for $3! And you'll get a lot more enjoyment and fewer jitters from Commodore's Daughter.

* Hmmm, I had been using "self-published" and "independently published" interchangeably, which apparently is a mistake. Another blog wrote A "self-published book" is “independently published” in the same way a home movie is an “independent film.” If that's the case, that might explain the difference between this year and last. Most of the books I've been offered for review have been from independent publishers.