Genre: fantasy, pirates
There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.
Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.
More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.
Rating out of five: four
This is a fun and enjoyable book. It’s fantastic to have girls who kick ass in fantasy, especially when it’s someone as cunning and dangerous as Alosa. I was hesitant to pick this book up because I noticed how it seemed to be talked about like “this princess isn’t sitting around in her ballgown, she cares about her clothes and appearance AND is a pirate captain who kills a lot of men”. I read this book fast, it was entertaining, but I am certainly a bit worried about why and how people are praising it. There’s not a lot of deeper world-building or truths, for a lack of a better phrase, in this book. It’s pirates, and it’s bloody and it’s fun – and better than a lot of similiar books I’ve read.
the main character Alosa
Alosa seems too overconfident at times as she tells herself over and over that she could get out of the captivity of the other pirate ship anytime, she just needs to get the map first. I mean, she was still in the middle of the fucking ocean. And then there was a revelation that made all of it make sense, she had a plan out, and I was impressed. I saw it coming a couple pages before the reveal, but it still was done in a really clever way. Alosa is the definition of cold, she reminded me of the character Katsa in “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore. Katsa also had an king relative who basically tortured her and gifts that enhanced that coldness. Also she’s one of my all time favs, so of course I would like Alosa.
plot and romance
The plot of this book is simple, but it’s well executed. Alosa is captive to find a map, she’s faced with challenges, both in searching creative hiding spaces, trying to not hook up with Riden and trying not to be tortured by the captain Daxen. The romance with Riden is what it seems, he’s her nicer-than-most guard after she escapes for the hundreth time, a lot of banting and suddenly they’re sharing stories and making out. It wasn’t as exciting as other parts of the book, but it’s obvious that they both have ulterior motives and know what they’re getting themselves into so.
What I was feeling reading this book: entertained and a bit concerned for everyone in Alosa’s path. Also I was laughing when Alosa ended up trashing a particular room and was found drawing octopuses on the maps.
a mini rant
I don’t like the reviews saying how “feminist” or girl-empowering this book is. There’s little in this book that I find feminist??? It’s set in a world with very clear patriarchy and where Alosa has carved out her mainly female crew, but we barely see them all book and don’t interact much with them, as she’s held capture on another ship because she’s the daughter of a pirate king. The fact that Alosa has certain skills, and that her father trained her to use them, does not overwin the fact that she has to avoid getting raped throughout this book and is constantly underestimated because she’s a girl, to the point where it’s almost comical because they know she’s the damn pirate princess. Alosa killed three guys without flinching to get her dresses when she was captured, she does not have much of a conscience. And that’s fine, especially as we learn more about her and what she’s been through, but she’s not the good person in this book. None of them are, Alosa and Riden discussed so at one point. They are pirates for a reason. I do think Alosa’s treatment is choices made deliberately by the author, and I don’t have a problem with that, just the way this book seemed to be discussed.