Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Pirates!" by Celia Rees

Pirates! is the kind of book I expected when I picked up The House of Four Winds: a tale mainly about pirates, with a believable world (in this case, a historical one), plenty of adventure, and nail-biting moments. Pirates! starts out slow, but quickly builds into a rather inspiring tale of an unlikely friendship and the courage it takes to find freedom.

The Plot: (taken from the back cover)
"Nancy Kingston, an heiress fleeing an arranged marriage, and Minerva Sharpe, a runaway slave, both find unlikely salvation on the pirate ship Deliverance. Life as a pirate is difficult enough, but can the two young women escape the cruel Captain Bartholome, who has pledged to follow them over the seven seas? And will Nancy's long-lost friend, a sailor in the Royal Navy, love the pirate she has become?"

What drew me to the book as a teen was the promise of pirates, and the story elements that come with pirates (lying, cheating, adventure, stealing, being an outlaw, etc.), definitely not the romance. As a teen I was deeply unromantic, having been raised with an older jock brother who exploited the lust of women (girls bought my brother chocolates on Valentine's Day, not the other way around). This book was right up my alley- the romance is sweet, but it isn't used as the main plot (even though Nancy is a bit attached to her beau).

Cheating Pirates! From Giphy
This is my first historical read that deeply explored the concept of slavery from multiple angles. It's almost horrifying to read some passages where people are left out to die or die slowly and horribly, knowing that it actually happened. Even though this book is fiction, it paints a gut-wrenching picture of a time in history when our humanity wasn't valued, much different from the glossed-over depictions of Gone With The Wind.

I kind of wish they'd used this as the cover- Minerva deserves a place on the front as well.
I also liked the tentative friendship between Nancy and Minerva- I mean, if they were insta-buddies, it would have been odd. Their friendship may have started as one of convenience, but grows as the plot unfolds. Young Adult characters usually aren't my favorite, but these two grew on me.

This is a book choice both the adult and teen me can agree on- Pirates! is a historical adventure that goes beyond being just a story. It isn't often you have such an interesting (and unlikely) depiction of friendship in YA, and it truly made this book be memorable for me (having not read it for six years). If you're looking for a historical that doesn't gloss over the history, but isn't likely to bore you with details, Pirates! may be a book for you.

Pirate Rating:
From Giphy
Actual Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for a nautical historical YA that takes you (many) places!

Content: Lecherous scum, naivete, slavery, and violence. Best read when Ages 14+.

Page Count: 374 pages in my paperback edition

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