by Gregory Mone
I’ve said it before; reviewing pirate books geared at young adults is always a treat. The reason for this is twofold – first, it’s a noble effort to induct the young into an early appreciation of piracy. And second, it’s often a refreshing change of pace from reading material aimed at adults, which tends to be far denser, and at times daunting.
Fish is the story of Maurice Reidy, a boy who’s rather unremarkable save for his apparently inborn talent for swimming. Swimming comes as natural as walking for Maurice (who’s of course nicknamed ‘Fish’ by friends and family alike), but it’s a talent that’s of little use on a farm, and even less use when life finds Fish working for his uncle as a courier in the city. And so it would have continued, had young Fish not run afoul of some mischief during one of his routine runs. Not so routine, actually, as Fish had been tasked with a package of extreme import – so extreme, in fact, that pirates (and worse) seemed to spring from nowhere in an effort to acquire it at any cost. Continue reading
As someone who reads a LOT of pirate books, I’m finding myself increasingly appreciative when an author contributes something truly unique to the genre. Standard pirate fare is well and good – I wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t – but there’s always something special about being hit with the unexpected, or enjoying a pirate adventure far removed from the usual stomping grounds.
And no one does this better than Ted Bell, author of Nick of Time, and now its sequel The Time Pirate. Set in the early days of World War 2, Nick and his family reside on a strategically important island in the English Channel, which soon finds itself overrun by Nazi invaders. Nick, who was already established in the first novel to be a boy of admirable patriotism, daring, and creativity, does his best to defend his homeland, even going so far as to restore (and fly) his father’s WWI airplane and engaging in home-made bomb runs over a Nazi base-camp. Continue reading
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
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
Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth
by J.V. Hart
I loved this book. I freakin’ loved this book.
I’ll be honest – I’ve rarely given Captain Hook much thought. I’m not a particular fan of the Peter Pan story, and most depictions of its famous villain have left me rather indifferent. Jason Isaac’s incredible 2005 portrayal was a notable exception – but exactly that, an exception. So Hook in general? Meh.
All this has changed due to Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth. This is the story of Hook before he was hook – back when he was merely James Matthew, the bastard child of a British Lord, and a new student at Eton. Continue reading
Nick of Time: an Adventure Through Time, by Ted Bell, is an aptly named book. Not only because its story involves time travel, but because the book itself seems like something from decades past. This is a proper boys’ adventure, full of ships, daring, submarines and heroes. Its very nature hails from an earlier time, making it a thrill and a delight to read.
The majority of the story takes place in England, in the years just prior to the full breakout of World War 2. Nick and his younger sister, Kate, reside with their parents on Greybeard Island – a quaint, sleepy sort of community that’s also full of history, reefs, and shipwrecks – and also happens to be strategically useful to the growing Nazi threat. It’s troubling times, made all the more so by the political bickering in Parliament regarding what to do about the impending danger, or if such danger even exists at all. Continue reading
by Tanith Lee
I liked the swears, in particular. Wonderfully creative, g-rated swears. Swears such as “dastardly custard!” and “by the Sacred Golden Pig of Eira…”
Artemesia is a restless young girl trapped in a boarding school that’s hellbent on making her into a proper young lady. Her life prior to the school is a mystery to all, especially herself, as she’s afflicted with amnesia. But this changes drastically when a whack on the head brings back memories of her late mother, Piratica, and their adventures together on the high seas during Art’s youth. Determined to recapture her former life, Art escapes her boarding school to seek her mother’s old crew and once again pluder the seas of the world. Through luck, determination, and guile, Art seizes her new (old?) life and claims her mother’s identity as Piratica for herself. But while pirating is all she’d remembered, her own past isn’t, so to speak, and Art learns that her memories might not be quite what she, er, remembers. Continue reading