Title: Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King #1)
Release Date: February 28th, 2017
Genre: YA fantasy/pirate book
Plot: Alosa is the feared “Daughter of Pirate King.” She allows herself to be kidnapped and taken onto the feared “Night Farer” ship to find the piece of a map that leads to legendary, but protected treasure. But things start to get complicated when she starts having feelings with Riden, the enemy captain’s brother.
This is a book that’s following the emergence of pirate YA books. It has the blurb of providing a “female Jack Sparrow” and have Pirates of the Caribbean feelings. I had heard decent things about the book and after reading a few pages at the book store, I decided to buy it. And I completely regret it. This book was flat, uninspired and failed to deliver on almost every level. Here’s the breakdown.
Writing: Let’s start with the largest part of this review. To be completely honest, this writing style didn’t work for me and felt immature and in serious need of a better editor. This book is told from Alosa’s first person POV. This leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. Alosa talks about every single detail of: facial expression, true intentions, plans of escape, what makes her “special”, how she’s so strong and can beat three men, how she can kill without remose…I could keep going. Here’s some examples from the book that show how Levenseller’s writing style is vastly underdeveloped.
“Because I won’t fail. I can only imagine what my father would do to me if I did. But I’m not afraid. I’m doing this not only for my father but also because I want to. ” (pg. 39)
“I’ll say whatever I please. I’m not a lady, I’m a pirate!” (pg. 155)
“It’s pure irritation expressed as a physical need. Interesting. I’ve kissed many men, pirates and land dwellers alike. Normally it happens right before I’m about to steal something from them. Or because I’m bored.
Right now I’m not sure I have an excuse. In fact, I’m sure there are several reasons why I shouldn’t be kissing him. I just can’t think of them at the moment.” (pg. 156)
“Currently, he’s surrounded by blue. Blue is confusion. I’ve spent years trying to understand the meanings of colors I see. I’ve had to ask pirates what they’re feeling when I’m like this, so I can associate words with what I see.” (pg. 179)
So, from what you can see here, there’s different instances where the author contradicts her own writing, inserts useless pieces of information that are never brought up again and I did question what Alosa actually defines herself as.
Alosa is a girl who wears fancy colored blouses, corsets and stockings. She dresses like a noblewoman who lives on land. The very first page talks about how she hates wearing “men’s” clothes and how she misses her beautiful clothes. But if you’re raised by pirate king, it doesn’t make sense to me that you want to wear corsets and bright colors at sea. You don’t want to be seen from far away or having tight constrictions with the corset. Pirates wear loose clothes and plain colors because: they don’t want to be spotted whether on land or sea and they need to be able to cut their clothing if they get caught. It’s fine if you want some nice things to wear on the side and even have a nice room with a vanity, jewelry and stuff like that.
But she was vain and obsessed with clothes and her red hair. At one point in the book, the enemy captain threatens to cut her hand off and she doesn’t react at all. But she throws a fit and has an inner monologue about how men don’t understand how important hair is to a woman. She freaks out when her nice clothes are dirty and when she doesn’t get the outfit she wants to wear. For the daughter of a ruthless pirate king, who tortured her and made her suffer awful trials to make her a trial, she acts like spoiled heiress who’s never sailed the seas.
And then, there’s a small explanation of how Alosa can see colors. This is only brought up once on page 179 and is never mentioned again. This felt like an idea taken from the popular Caraval by Stephanie Garber. The mention of this sudden ability felt like it was missed during the editing process and is completely useless. It’s moments like this where the story feels like a rough draft that got published.
I also felt like the author had gone more than a hundred pages into writing this book and decided “Oh! I’m more than halfway done and I need to put the romance in now.” Then, she forces the male character to suddenly care for Alosa and they kiss and engage in a cringeworthy and weird romance. She also gets a “special snowflake” moment where she’s so special and isn’t human and the author literally gives you seven sentences/hints before she blantantly reveals what Alosa is. It felt like the author was beating the reader over the head with hints because “we can’t figure it out” which felt insulting and lazy.
Characters: I’ve talked a lot about Alosa. But I have to say that the male characters were thinner than paper and were either drunk or weak. The enemy pirates take her on their ship to find out information. But even though she escapes three times out of her cell, they NEVER punish her! Their words are empty threats and she knows it. They could’ve shed more blood or thrown her into a scary situation to get information out of her. The enemy captain Draxen especially shows up a small handful of times, and every time he’s in the book, he never follows through his threats and just tries to look intimidating. They allowed her to walk all over them, kill them and beat them up without punishment. Riden was even like this as well. He does have a few great lines of standing up to her and saying this like: “You’re a prisoner. Nothing’s supposed to be fair to you.” (pg. 175) But lo and behold, he never follows through this threat because he likes her and he’s written like a weak character.
The two love interests had some good banter in the beginning and you could tell that they didn’t like each other. But then, when she’s moved from the cell into his bedroom (yep you heard me), now he starts to actually flirt and care about her. While she does kiss him and give into the stupid feelings (quote mentioned above), she treats him awfully. She felt borderline sexist to me, with how she verbally put down the male characters and she even labels a male character as “slow and can’t catch any of the women” in the final chapter. The nails in this book’s coffin are relentless.
She does have a female crew, but when you see them, they’re only labeled by their special ability. There’s nothing more to them. They don’t have voices unique to their personality and felt more like branches of Alosa herself. Another group of vastly underdeveloped characters.
World Building: This is set in an original fantasy world, but it honestly reads like historical fiction. There’s no map in the book to give you a picture of what the world looks like. The only fantasy element is a creature that’s rumored to protect the island of treasure. Other than that, it’s a flat world that doesn’t get any attention. Another thing pushed to the side.
Overall: I actually enjoyed the first three chapters of this book. I read those first couple chapters at the book store and thought it had potential. I like the idea that it’s a pirate story, looking for a treasure map and such. But man, after chapter 3, this failed on practically every level. I had to skim read several chunks of the last half to see what the ending gave me. If you hate the type of characters mentioned, I would skip this book. It glorifies an awful main character whose never challenged, never changes and gets everything she wants. I can get along okay with characters that are rougher around the edges, but if they offer no variety in their personality and don’t offer some kind of change, it’s a major disappointment. I would just recommend the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie and I’m gonna read more pirate books to find one I like. This book is not worth anyone’s time, especially paying full price.
Comment below and let me know if you’ve read this, what you think of the review and any recommendations for pirate books. I have Passenger on my book shelf, but not sure what other ones are out there. Have a great day guys!