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Master and Commander (Aubrey-Maturin Series #1)

Average Rating 4
( 103 )
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5 Star

(61)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

14 out of 16 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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  • Posted January 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    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 deeply sympathetic character, a little bit more so than the braggadicio and excessive volubility of Aubrey.<BR/><BR/>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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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