Sea of Thieves has already been released and it has dazzled some and been just okay for others. Regardless of how the game plays though, everyone seems to be saying the same thing about the vivid world and the rich graphics. That’s why I had to give Titan Books’ Tales from the Sea of Thieves a shot, not because I play the game, but because I wanted a taste!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Narrated by three unique pirate captains the book will take a look at the world through their eyes. From laughable pirate suspicions to the towns and islands these hardened seafarers call home, they’ll introduce and explore the fantastical Sea of Thieves, home to krakens, mermaids and buried treasure.
Why does this matter?
This is a first-person narrated story that goes through the experience of starting out in the world of Sea of Thieves and offers first-hand accounts of the lifestyle, creatures, and monsters. It’s a cool way to experience the story and its a pretty damn good pirate tale too.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
A delightfully well made book.
This book opens with a narrator who writes in a journal about how he wants to become a pirate. A rich kid who needs to find purpose in life, he takes on a crew and the new name of Captain Flameheart. Written by Paul Davies, the story never strays from its point of view, who at first serves as a good protagonist who carries the reader forward. I knew nothing about the Sea of Thieves world and the first half or so does a great job filling you in on the colorful characters and gameplay. That gameplay is described as if it’s real and does a good job visualizing everything for you. It’s fun to see how Captain Flameheart grows more comfortable living the pirate life and learning as he goes.
As the story carries forward it naturally introduces you to new elements that I can only guess are introduced naturally as the game progresses. About halfway through the book, the narrators switch to Diving Bel, another captain who decides to write in Flameheart’s journal. Each chapter is a day in her journey with the journal and the first few comically reflect on the early pages of the book. That adds a nice fourth wall breaking layer to the book.
Speaking of the book itself, this hardcover is very well made and is pretty damn close to a real pirate journal. The hardcover has raised edges and texture to create a tactile experience. The pages themselves are beautifully designed to look like real handwriting, including footnotes from other characters and sketches too. There are stains and cracks too and the physical pages are cut in an uneven way to feel like an old, hand-kept journal. The art in the book is quite nice, much of it most likely developer art that went into making the game.
You can’t have pirates without ghost pirates.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Unless you’ve played the game I’m going to assume the only people reading this are people like me who like pirates and have a fledgling interest in the game but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. That said, the general tone of this book seems to be more for a younger audience which may not appeal to some.
It takes a bit of time for the book to get going. The first few pages are slow in part because the book is very focused on keeping up with a dull kid with lots of cash. I suspected it wouldn’t have sex or gory violence, and it doesn’t, but it did leave me wanting especially since pirates are a rather violent bunch. It could have used a shot of adult-themed material to kick it up a notch.
Is It Good?
I rather liked this book mostly because it’s hard to get a good pirate tale in prose. This book is excellently made and the first person perspective makes for an interesting and sometimes endearing adventure. The fact that the second half switches narrators further makes this a fun read. While reading this work I kept thinking if a 10 or 12 year old were to discover this it’d be an eye opening and excellent experience. For adults it’s good too, but only if you dig pirates or a cleverly written tale.