Monday, August 27, 2012

Beside a Burning Sea by John Shors

genre: adult historical fiction

During World War II, a hospital ship in the Pacific sinks, along with almost all of its crew and patients.  With some incredible luck, a few survivors manage to make it to a deserted island nearby.  While the island appears to have all they need to make it, the makeup of this group of survivors makes for some complicated times.  Not only is there someone among them who is not what he seems, there is also a recovering Japanese soldier whose heart has been broken by war but gaining the trust of his fellow survivors will mean people on both sides of the battle lines taking chances.

On a grand scale, I liked it.  I liked the time period, in general.  Since we were on an island in the middle of nowhere, the only details really pertaining to the period were feelings about the Japanese as a stereotypical people and about the pain of the war in progress. I think that for a deserted-island-story, the action moved along fairly quickly and while the love story that developed felt a bit deep for how rushed it was, it certainly made things more interesting.  The bad guy was BAD.  Like, disturbing and almost too bad to believe.  I didn't like him. 

If you are looking for some serious World War II historical fiction, I wouldn't necessarily recommend this one because it feels way more character and setting-driven than anything else.  There are certainly some war-related scenes and some bloody war violence, though, and it flowed with the story just as it should.  The ending is both surprising and yet totally predictable and rushed, which was a little frustrating but I don't feel like I wasted my time reading it.

3.5 stars.

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bermudaonion said...

The ending was surprising and predictable? I'm curious about it now.

Anna said...

I've heard good things about this author and I love reading about WWII, so I'll have to keep this one in mind. And you've made me really curious about the ending!

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