Who doesn’t like pirates? They get to do the badass-est things in fiction. Is it any wonder that I was practically vibrating with excitement about Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller? After all, it’s about a future pirate queen on a mission to steal a priceless map, planted on an enemy ship, surrounded by people who would not hesitate to kill her if they discover her plans. Plus, there are sirens. And sirens can be so delightfully vicious and deadly. So, I was sold.
The pirate princess
Alosa is the daughter of a notorious pirate king who rules the seas with a firm fist. Supposedly, She’s All That. Supposedly, because while she certainly likes to talk about herself like she’s super cool, her actions do not back it up. And to me, that was the biggest let down with this book. Now, I don’t need every character to be kick-ass and bad-ass. I would’ve been fine with Alosa, honestly. I would’ve been fine with her posturing and her looking down on people. I like characters who aren’t particularly nice. I would’ve probably even been fine with her idealistic black-and-white look on the world even if I expected something else from a pirate with Alosa’s kind of past.
But, gosh, her narration style! It was the most annoying first person point of view I have read in a while. The particular brand of annoying where the heroine likes to go on and on about how she’s this and that, even when her actions suggest the exact opposite, and purposefully downplays the darker bits of her past, which makes them all the more exaggerated instead. And then, she keeps explaining and elaborating on what everyone around her is feeling. Why describe facial expression and tones of voices, when you can just… State it all brutally plainly instead? With no explanations as to how she arrived at that conclusion? Because obviously Alosa Knowns It All. Geez, girl, leave some mystery for the reader! We can, you know, read.
Surrounded by people who are Not Nice
While Alosa was my main problem with Daughter of the Pirate King, I was also quite disappointed with the lack of world building and scenery. Most of the book is set on the same ship, where the same things keep happening. Repeatedly. And those things are so, so painfully obvious. To the point where I honestly started to doubt if maybe every character in that books really is that stupid for not seeing it. Including Alosa.
Then, of course, there are the relationships. The one I liked most is Alosa and her father. Conditional love creates most interesting complications. Delightful! That is definitely something I want to see more of in the next book. The romance, on the other hand… While both characters are potentially interesting, and there maybe even were tiny sparks of chemistry… There is a serious lack of build-up. The entire romance is such a typical case of “I’ve done this thing so many times before but this is the first time I’m feeling like this” and “I couldn’t explain why but…” Oh, please.
Pirates are still the coolest though
This review may make it look like I hated Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levernseller but I didn’t. Mostly, I was just disappointed. Not because I had my expectations raised too high, but rather, I just like pirates, okay? And because I was hoping Alosa would be like, well, Celaena Sardothien—badass, sarcastic, selfish, brutal, not nice. But she wasn’t. And that’s okay. My problem with her wasn’t her personality. But if the protagonist doesn’t work for me… I just cannot love the book.
Honestly, I really liked the ideas in this book. From characters to relationships and definitely the storylines. It’s the execution that didn’t work for me. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that this is a debut novel and a start of a new series. Most of the things that bothered me personally are quite common in such cases. So I’m definitely sticking with the series, even if the best way to describe this book for me is: “It wasn’t bad but it would’ve been so much better if…”
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Daughter of the Pirate King #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 28th 2017
Fantasy, Young Adult
More info on Goodreads, Amazon, BookDepository
There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I've gotten what I came for.
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.
In Daughter of the Pirate King, debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.