Book Review: Ships, Secrets, and Survivors by Helena George and Sarah Rodecker


An assassin trainee fleeing his profession. 

A princess risking her reputation.

A talking ship with a mad captain.

Ravin should be dead. No one forsakes the assassin profession and lives. Attempting to evade capture and certain death, Ravin hides on a ship as part of the crew. Then his name is announced on Selection Day for the annual Scaera Dumeda, despite him never taking the entry test, declaring to the entire world—and the assassins hunting him for revenge—that he is alive. 

Princess Adima Radi Kashinda dreams of more than someday ruling Antovan. She desires to make a true difference for her people. When her name is called on Selection Day, she throws away her title, despite the uncertain future ahead. This may be the opportunity she hoped for.

When some of the other selectees are murdered, Ravin and Adi are among the suspects. With the help of Ravin’s captain and crew, they sail away to hunt down the killer and clear their names. Can they catch the murderer when he always seems to be at least one step ahead?


Ships, Secrets, and Survivors is a pretty classic seafaring fantasy novel, with a couple of fun twists. The most notable twist being ships that talk. The Red Wind is one such ship, and it’s her and her crew that we follow. Honestly, Red Wind herself was one of my favorite characters. She cares for her crew, she’s steadfast, and she likes music; what’s not to love?

The rest of the characters were something of a mixed bag. I liked Ravin and Adi, even if I was a little disappointed with how the latter’s arc ended, and I appreciated seeing the story through their eyes. Ravin’s assassin etiquette was interesting, and I enjoyed seeing his skills, knowledge, and connections employed throughout the story. Arrow and Josiah were also fun characters, though I wish they’d been fleshed out more. The rest of the characters mostly felt underdeveloped, so I was never really able to connect with them. Shade was the only character I can think of that I really didn’t like; he didn’t get a lot of time “on screen,” and his character development felt rushed and inconsistent. I also wish we’d learned more about Bonnie, because she mostly left me confused.

The worldbuilding was primarily your standard fantasy fare, but I enjoyed the talking ships and the Scaera Dumeda; I wish there had been more time to focus on the Scaera Dumeda and see it fleshed out more. I also enjoyed the snippets of Jay’s thoughts surrounding Red Wind and her legends at the beginning of each chapter, giving insight into the larger world’s thoughts on the ship.

Overall, Ships, Secrets, and Survivors was an enjoyable read that I’d give about 3.5 stars.

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US Giveaway:

  • 1 Annotated Copy of Ships, Secrets, and Survivors
  • 1 Mug
  • Tea
  • 1 Sea Dragon Sticker
  • A Map of the Red Wind
  • And a Book Sleeve

International Giveaway:

  • An ebook copy of Ships, Secrets, and Survivors
  • A PDF of Fearless, a Pirate Hunter Chronicles short story
  • And a phone wall paper

Enter the US giveaway!

Enter the international giveaway!

About the Authors

Sarah Rodecker and Helena George have done countless crazy things together since they first met in 2005. One such thing was write Ships, Secrets, and Survivors on a dare. It went so well, they decided to expand it into a series and publish it together.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Ships, Secrets, and Survivors by Helena George and Sarah Rodecker

  1. Thank you so much for participating in the blog tour!!

    The Red Wind was such a fun character (though it still feels weird to call her a character, seeing as she’s a ship). I’m glad you enjoyed her!

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