I absolutely adore stories set in the age of sail (or it’s nearest fantasy equivalent). The Aubrey/Maturin novels of course, classics like Raphael Sabantini’s Sea Hawk and Captain Blood, and modern pirate stories like Cinnamon and Gunpowder. And while there are sea faring adventures I’ve not yet read, it’s unfortunately hard to find ones with elements of romance unless I want to read bodice ripping pirate stories (which I don’t, really [well, most of the time]).
Anyway, all that’s my rambling introduction to a review/reaction to Tricia Levenseller’s debut novel Daughter of the Pirate King. In short, I absolutely loved it. In fact, it’s been a while since I enjoyed reading a book quite this much. Alosa is now one of my very favorite narrators ever and the rest of the book is peopled with nuanced, dynamic characters as well. In many pirate stories, only the lead character and love interest get much development. That’s not the case here, where secondary characters in the crew also receive individual attention.
But getting back to Alosa. I love this woman. She’s my new best friend. I’m signing up for her pirate crew. It’s actually pretty rare that I prefer the female character in a novel to the male character — usually I fall for him as the female lead does. But while our roguish first mate is a pretty great pirate love interest, Alosa stays the most interesting of the two characters. And that’s as it should be. It is, after all, her story and she’s not the sort of girl who’s going to let him take over.
I don’t want to give much of the plot away (though if you accidentally see the title of book two you’ll probably guess the big spoiler). But it’s an original take on the whole “woman taken captive by pirates” trope told in a style that keeps you gripped to the pages. I had to take a break from reading for church services and wondering what was going to happen next was embarrassingly distracting (I literally couldn’t put this book out of my mind and kept wishing I’d put it in my car so I could hide away and read it). It’s that good. In short, a highly recommended tale of the sea for lovers of fantasy and pirate fiction.