Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
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Series: Yes, #1 in the series
Release date: February 28th, 2017
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends (Macmillan)
Length: 372 pages
Rating: crack fantasy
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.
This review is going to be a total chopped up mess of contradictions, because on the one hand, this was intensely entertaining with PIRATES and PLOTS and STABBING, but on the other, I really didn't like the writing or worldbuilding, but on the other OTHER hand, the ship and their chemistry/banter were off the charts. And now I have three hands, so you see the problem here. THANKS A LOT, DOTPK.
Alosa is the teenage, swashbuckling captain of a mostly female crew we never really get to know or care for who deliberately gets herself kidnapped so she can steal a map from her enemies (bamf set up). She's fiery, fiesty, and kind of completely hilarious, and always has a trick or twelve up her sleeve. Alosa was a very fun narrator, and with a bit more depth and development, could have been a standout. I like her backstory as the daughter of the pirate king (duh), though I don't really buy her apparent undying devotion to her crew (what even is a Sorinda, who are these people). I loved that bitch was ruthless though. Most fictional pirates tend to be a bit too cuddly, but Alosa will straight up gut a dude without any qualms.
The other best part was RIDEN. WHO DESERVES ALL CAPS. Honestly, if it weren't for Alosa's humor and her dynamic with Riden, I would have been very whompppppppppp on this book. (I'll get into my whomps in a sec.) Riden is the first mate of the crew that has "kidnapped" Alosa, and even though he has a ponytail, I forgive him, because I lurve him. He and Alosa have a totally great ship thing going on (on a ship! SYNERGY. SHIPCEPTION) where they're basically pitted against each other and always outdoing each other and I'm just here for it, and he's shirtless a lot, and it's just FUN. It's fun ship TRASH which is my middle name and I'm here for it with bells on
I liked some aspects of the plot, and the overall shape of it, and a few of the characters. Mostly, though, my whomps (the technical term) boil down to the...flimsiness, I guess, of the book. it's very short, and the world-building is basically nonexistent beyond pirates! Sirens! Ocean! Boat! Stab! Which, okay, but eh. The names drove me bonkers. The prose was definitely on the simplistic side, and often clumsy, but Alosa's voice was strong enough to sustain me through most of that. The "twist" with Alosa was pretty darn obvious, but I'll admit a few things took me by surprise (and a few other things made me go ALOSA YOU IDIOT but that's very spoilery).
ALSO...the book is kinda accidentally sexist. It's all rah rah, Alosa is a bad ass pirate lady with her bad ass pirate crew, but Alosa thinks a lot of subtly No Bueno girl hatery things, and the world is all sexist even though it's a secondary fantasy world and we can live without thisss thanksss, and then there's a part where Alosa uses "thinking like a woman" as a slamming insult and I just
Why that one, Alosa? Go with a good pirate insult classic.
I will admit that most of her comebacks make me snort. It's just that one that made me snarl.
The flimsiness extended to character, plot, prose...even impact. Like, we FINALLY get to see the mighty Pirate King, scourge of the seas, and, you know, ALOSA'S ALMIGHTY FATHER, her motivation for her entire life, basically...and there's not one sentence of description. He walks on deck of the ship and they start talking and we don't even get to know what he looks like? That should have impact! It was just little things like that that just make this a sliiiiightly subpar book. But I also enjoyed reading it tremendously.
So...IDK. Have at it and see? I AM A WEIRD THREE HANDED REVIEWER TODAY. Don't come for legit fantasy times or PLOT or FEELS or DEPTH (do come for OCEAN depths, though. ba dum tsh). Come for banter sass chemistry smoochie times, and definitely come in a forgiving mindset. But I'm definitely hoping for a sequel with a whole lotta