Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag by Oliver Bowden

It is not often that my son recommends books and so, it is essential to take note and give them a go. I don’t know an awful lot about Assassin’s Creed, the game, although I quite like the sound of it and the book is an extension of the adventures of Edward Kenway, the main character, padding out the story that you follow in the game.

I like the idea of pirates and being Welsh, I was surprised at the amount of Welshmen who took to the high seas and who were actual pirates. The book takes these piratical figures of notoriety and brings them to life in fictional form as Edward Kenway goes on a quest, first to gain riches and then to find the Observatory, ending up in the middle of an age old wrangle between the Templars and the Assassins as a result.

There is a lot of violence in this book and this is probably to be expected due to a) the subject matter and b) the nature of the game on which it is based. The descriptions of Kenway’s fighting prowess, I found a bit tedious if I’m honest but then I don’t feel that this book is aimed at me: I know it’s not and so I ploughed my way through another throat slashing.

I like the premise for the book as I very much enjoy adventure stories and there is an element of Indiana Jones mixed with Pirates of the Caribbean through the whole thing, but at times, I found it a little samey as Kenway heads off in his ship to fight and sneak up on others to find out information and then heads off somewhere else. There is not a lot of depth here but again, I think that that is consistent with who it’s aimed at.

One part that I did think was done especially well was towards the end of the book when Kenway meets up with his mother again. The sentiment comes through in the dialogue and for once, I felt some sympathy for Kenway whereas prior, I had merely seen him as a two-dimensional character, a vehicle for the narration to follow.

This was an easy read and as an introduction to the world of pirates and privateers, it was quite good. It has certainly piqued my interest to find out more about that world.

This review was first published on Reedsy Discovery.

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