Friday, July 26, 2013

YA Review- The Pirate Captain's Daughter

(Cover found at GoodReads)

"I always knew my father was a pirate, and I always knew I wanted to be one, too."
-Opening Line

Book: The Pirate Captain's Daughter (Pirate Captain's Daughter #1)
Author: Eve Bunting
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Published: Sleeping Bear Press 2011
Medium Read In: Hardback
Pages: 201

Rating (Scaled 1-10): 5

Why I'm Reading It: I've spent forever looking for good books about pirates. Every time I see one, it's very likely to be a bodice ripper, when I'm more interested in finding fun, light reads along the lines of Treasure Island, or whatnot. I was ecstatic when I found The Pirate Captain's Daughter at my library. I liked the blurb for the book, and promptly brought it home with me for a read.

Summary: After the death of her mother, Catherine is determined to go to sea with her pirate captain father. Despite his reserve, he allows her to come aboard his ship, the Reprisal, disguised as his son 'Charlie.' Catherine has always believed in the romanticized version of pirates, and is disturbed by how dirty and vile their lifestyle is. As she struggles to find her place on the Reprisal, Catherine grows close with the cabin boy and makes enemies aboard the ship.

Review: This book had a lot of potential. I was super excited to read it, and despite the simplicity and slowness of the beginning, I continued to hope in vain for the book to gain more momentum. I liked William, the cabin boy, and I found the pirates we were introduced to to be fairly interesting. Ms. Bunting's writing was crisp and filled in just enough detail to not leave the reader wanting. She kept me engaged in the story, especially with her portrayal of Catherine's emotions. 

The emotional aspect was probably the best part of the novel. Catherine's sorrow at her mother's death, her relationship with her father, her original eagerness for sea, and then her disgust for the situation were all covered with fantastic language and accuracy. However, the relationship with William was under developed, in my opinion. The book was obviously geared toward the younger set of the YA readership, but that doesn't mean that the author needs to make it a magical-love-at-nearly-first-sight kind of romance.

There came a point about halfway through my read where I was about ready to put the novel down. Catherine makes quick enemies with two of the pirates, brothers Herc and Hopper. However, they sort of seem to ignore her. Sure, they bully her around a little, but her response to the two much senior pirates is a terribly stupid one. It almost seemed as if Catherine were the one going after the pirates, instead of them disliking her. Despite my reaction to this, I chose to continue on because of the short size of the novel and how quickly it took me to read the beginning.

Some reviews I have read have mentioned her father's willingness to take her aboard the ship as a dilemma. I feel the need to address this. I can see how that would be a problem in the actual setting of the novel,  but I also realize that without that small action on the father's part there would be no story. I personally allow my suspension of disbelief to accept that little falter for the author, especially with how realistically everything else is portrayed. These are not your gung-ho Disney-esque pirates: there are rats and rum and little-to-no water. The Pirate Captain's Daughter captures the essence of piracy, and so I will give it that.

Overall, The Pirate Captain's Daughter wasn't a horrible book, but it wasn't really a good one, either. I've heard there is a sequel(Voyage of the Sea Wolf), which I plan to read and review shortly because of the potential there was to the book. It captured my attention enough that I am willing to give the next one a chance, in hopes that the author decides to expand her characters a little bit and hopefully engage the bit of plot she had going. I will recommend this book for the younger set of YA, mostly because it is a well written story. Here's to hoping the next one is slightly better!

Happy Reading!

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