Customer Reviews for

Master and Commander (Aubrey-Maturin Series #1)

Average Rating 4
( 103 )
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(62)

4 Star

(21)

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(6)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

Fantastic book

While I understand and (to a limited extent) sympathize with some of the negative ratings this book has received, this is fast becoming my favorite series and I'm only on Book 7(?) The Surgeon's Mate.

There were occasional stretches of narrative that I only dimly und...
While I understand and (to a limited extent) sympathize with some of the negative ratings this book has received, this is fast becoming my favorite series and I'm only on Book 7(?) The Surgeon's Mate.

There were occasional stretches of narrative that I only dimly understood, filled with 18th Century nautical terminology like "leeward", "close-hauled", etc. Some of this I am only now beginning to grasp, some I'm still clueless on. I simply read it through as best I could, happy for those who did understand it. Knowing all the fine points of sailing that O'Brien mentions undoubtedly enriches the reading experience, but it is by no means necessary. Three pages of text can either have you running to a dictionary, Google, etc. etc. every other word in frustration as one of the previous reviewers mentioned, or you can just plow through it to get the gist - something like "After a day-long chase, Aubrey was able to bring the French ship to battle by his ingenious method of cross-bracing."

The point is, the rest of the novel is so astoundingly good that to get hung up on not being able to follow all the nautical minutiae and jargon of the period is to miss the forest for the tree (lack of plural intentional). Each book seems better than the last, but I'm not sure if that's due to the books getting better, my being able to appreciate each one more, or some combination of both.

There is a reason that this series has been given such effusive praise, and it's not because those lauding it take delight in luring in and vexing unsuspecting readers: It's just that good.

posted by J_Thomason on June 12, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Not Bad

I enjoyed this novel, though not as much as Forester's Hornblower ones. Between Aubrey and Hornoblower the latter is more open to the reader. He is more thoughtful and human, possessing sentiments, worries, and confusions that one easily empathizes with. He is a deep...
I enjoyed this novel, though not as much as Forester's Hornblower ones. Between Aubrey and Hornoblower the latter is more open to the reader. He is more thoughtful and human, possessing sentiments, worries, and confusions that one easily empathizes with. He is a deeply sympathetic character, a little bit more so than the braggadicio and excessive volubility of Aubrey.

Especially enjoyable in this work was the character of Dr. Maturin, whose blanket ignorance of all things nautical and his starkly different personality from Aubrey's place him in the position of representing the reader in the plot.

posted by GeoffSmock on January 18, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2007

    Tedious beyond bearing

    I have read the hype on this author and -- shame on me -- I bought into it. O'Brian clearly had literary aspirations (terribly envious of Tolkien, IMHO) and for those who think he achieved them, I salute you. You clearly have a greater stomach for pretentious tripe than I do. Pacing: None. Characterization: Who could admire a crude creature like Aubrey, whose sole virtue is his sailing skill? As for Maturin, if he came to a dinner party I would have to shoot him just to liven the place up. Symbolism: None. Dialogue: Contrived. Not even Jane Austen's Bennett family talked like this. Action: Detached, uninvolved. Theme: Missing one. Ah, but give the author an A+ for Literary Aspiration and if your idea of that is to abandon any plot, liberally sprinkle your prose with foreign phrases, Latin botanical and zoological terms, use the most obscure words in the OED, convolute your sentences, eliminate transitional phrases, and in general condescend to your readers, then you, too, could achieve the same literary heights as this Pretender. This is not literature. It isn't even good nautical fiction.

    1 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2014

    To:valary

    Continue the story.dont leave poeple is supence.

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  • Posted November 7, 2012

    Terribly boring from page 1. At page 200 I had given up. The ram

    Terribly boring from page 1. At page 200 I had given up. The rambling sentences and the fact that the author jumps from subject to subject makes the 200 pages I have read uninteresting. I have read Dudley Pope and Alexander Kent. The "Sophie" book comes no where near the level of these aforementioned authors. Toss in a bunch of Latin words to aid the boring factor and there is a book that is terrible. I do not recommend it and will not buy the next volume.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2004

    Yuck

    For those of you who actually enjoyed this book--WHAT'S UP? Something's wrong with a book when the only thing I found enjoyable about it was the love making of the preying mantis. I read a book a week, and this was by far the worse I've ever read. I forced myself through it, but would never read another of O'Brian's 'master pieces'. I hated reading something, only to have it explained a few chapters later in the book. At first I kept going back to previous pages, assuming that I'd slept through the subject in question, only to find that it was explained later--in a following chapter. A huge disappointment.

    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2004

    What a Mess!

    Do Not.......I repeat, Do Not waste your time with this book. It's so boring and confusing that I'm certain Admiral Nelson wouldn't have been able to make sense of it. I want my money back!!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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