Hello humans! Did someone say, pirates? No? Well, this is me shouting PIRATES at you until you realise how amazing pirates are, especially female pirates, and that you should read Daughter of the Pirate King immediately. I got this book for Christmas because I knew I would want to read it before the sequel Daughter of the Siren Queen came out this year. If you’re into fun and frolicksome female characters and some swashbuckling (what is swashbuckling? We may never know) then hold on to your hats because this book is everything you need.
Content note: mentions of abuse, mentions of attempted rape.
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.
Let’s start with the character, since so much of this book and the marketing of it, surrounds Alosa, the daughter of the pirate king. She’s described on the jacket cover as ‘a female Jack Sparrow’ but since Johnny Depp is dead to me I’ll describe her as simply amazing. She dons corsets and fights people and kisses them when she wants to. There’s an element of Lila Bard in there which obviously brings me no end of joy. What I appreciated is that Alosa was more than just a sassy comeback in a corset, which ‘strong female characters’ have a tendency of being. While she does make comebacks that had to be outright chuckling at times, and she does wear many a corset throughout this book, nevertheless there was a fully fleshed out woman underneath it all, and she was given many an opportunity to shine through.
What saddened me was how little we got to see of Alosa’s female crew, the cast of characters in this book was predominantly male. I’m hoping that we’ll get much more female pirate in the second book. Only time will tell.
The lion’s share of the plot takes place on one ship, which should have made this an incredibly boring read, but through varying means, Levenseller manages to make this the most intricate and fascinating location. It also meant that any opportunity for action outside the ship was so much more powerful just by a matter of contrast. Again, I’m hoping for some expanded worldbuilding in the second book.
A lot of this method of storytelling relies on leaving you in the dark as opposed to the characters, kind of a reversed dramatic irony. In some cases, I could guess the big reveal that was about to happen (which some people like and some people dislike, I was a bit ambivalent towards the predictability in this case). I do think it’s a clever technique and it’s used to the best effect in this story, helping build your interest and spurring you to read on.
The romance, for there is some, I felt was well written. One could argue that at times it is a little bit clichéd ‘love to hate’ but we can all indulge in a little cliché now and then, particularly if it is well written. Again it’s something to develop in the sequel but it is well done in the first book.
Should you read this? If you enjoy pirates, interesting protagonists and a plot that keeps on giving you will definitely like this book. It’s a great start to a series and I can’t wait to read book two.
What say you? What piratical novels are your favourites? Let me know in the comments below!