When I started reviewing pirate books, I never would have guessed that I’d so often also be reviewing time-travel books. I suppose it makes sense, as piracy – the swashbuckling, romantic sort, anyways – has long gone the way of the dodo, and time-travel would seem an obvious method of connecting the modern protaganist with a true buccaneer adventure. Also, never would I have guessed all the different methods of time travel I’d discover – antique contraptions, offshore wormholes, time-stretching caverns… and now, sleep. With so many methods of time travel available to us, it’s really a wonder that real-world quantum physisists are having so much trouble pinning it down. Maybe they just don’t read enough pirate books. Continue reading →
This is an actual photograph of this book as it appeared to me while reading it.
I tried. Really, I tried. But I use a reading light, you see. It’s because my wife doesn’t like to sleep with the lights on, and I can’t read in the dark. So the reading light is our solution. But as with all things, batteries don’t last forever, and so mine died before I was even a full page into Hook&Jill by Andrea Jones. No worries, I have spare AAs… somewhere. I dug and dug, and found four. My light needs four because it’s old and inefficient. I changed the batteries and again set myself to reading, but then the bulb went out. Again, I have spares. I changed the bulb in the dark. It’s tricky business getting those two teensy weensy prongs to fit in place without being able to see. But as with all things, I was victorious in the end. I read another paragraph…
and then the bulb again died. I again replaced it. That one burned out too.
Come morning, I learned that two of my AA batteries only *felt* like ordinary AA’s. Had I been able to see them, I would have known they were special voltage AA’s intended for my cordless mouse. I guess that’s why the bulbs kept overloading and burning out. But burn out they did, and so here is my review of Hook&Jill, as best I can do without having been able to see the words: Continue reading →
There’s always something special about young adult pirate books. They seem less bogged down than adult books at times, and often revel in a fascination with pirate mythology that’s both nostalgic and timeless. The Pirate Vortex by Deborah Cannon, however, is a strangely different beast altogether. Hardly timeless, it’s rather decidedly contemporary as it follows the adventures Elizabeth, Lulu, Wang, and CJ (a rather foul-mouthed parrot) as they search for Liz and Lu’s mother, being a pirate archaeologist who suddenly disappeared.
While the heroes of the story are quite modern, the journey largely is not. Yes, time travel is involved, and never before in a pirate adventure have I seen the modern in such stark contrast with the historical. The narrative of this story, much like its heroes, is a clear product of modern materialism and technology. Scuba gear, iPhones, Swatch Watches, text messaging… Continue reading →
Let’s see… a jolly band of misfit pirates take their flying ship to an amusement park in search of treasure – while there they’re bombarded with parents wanting to take pictures, kids thinking it’s ok to climb on the pirates, and security guards who just don’t understand that it’s all in good fun…
Sounds like a typical weekend to me. Well, except for the flying ship. Someday, maybe.
Baltazar and the Flying Pirates is more or less the tale I just described, brought to life in colorful, friendly artwork. The pirates are a misfit crew indeed, with some members you may recognize (Anne Bonney, Long John Silver) and still more that are new to this story (Flynn, Captain Redlocks, Big Queeq, etc.) Each is a character is unique and memorable as their names, to say nothing of the story’s “every boy” protagonist, with the truly unusual name of Baltazar. Continue reading →