If you liked the premise of S.W.A.T., but wished that instead of a group of cops protecting a mob boss from profit-seeking ruffians on the way to prison it was a rag-tag group of outcasts on a ship made of sea creature bones protecting the last of said sea creatures from... well, profit-seeking ruffians...
I know, that was a long way to travel to compare a fine, character driven, modern-day Moby Dick to a popcorn action movie, but something about the focal point of the book being a suspenseful trek from point A to point B with chaos buzzing around it reminded me of cinematic prisoner transport, a la Kingpin in Netflix's Daredevil, or Coleman Reese in The Dark Knight. But enough about that.
Bone Ships brings together a capable captain on a mission to prove her worth and a drunk who may have Peter Principled his way into (and out of) his captaincy. Their dynamic and relationship growth is a highlight of the book, much as Girton and Merela were in Barker's The Wounded Kingdom series. (If you haven't read that, do it immediately.) The development of Joron's and Lucky Meas' leadership would make John Maxwell proud as they progress from Position leadership to The Pinnacle, with Joron finding he is properly suited to second in command, like some NFL head coaches are better as coordinators.
Much of the world-building forces the reader to pick things up on their own, as new vocabulary (or perhaps just nautical vocabulary that I'm not familiar with) is used early and often. There are bizarre new creatures, interesting world politics, an in-depth instruction manual on the mechanics and operation of a giant crossbow, and a ship energy tracking straight out of a video game. The action sequences are furiously paced, throwing you on the deck of the Bone Ships, whether your sea legs are ready for it or not.
Between The Bone Ships and Rob Hayes' Best Laid Plans, I didn't realize how much I enjoy high seas fantasy. Highly recommend.