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Friday, March 24, 2017

"Daughter of the Pirate King: Daughter of the Pirate King Book 1" by Tricia Levenseller (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)





 Visit Tricia Levenseller's Website Here

OVERVIEW: 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.

FORMAT: Daughter of the Pirate King is the first novel in a proposed duology. It is a YA adventure novel involving pirates with a heavy dose on the romance. The novel is told purely in the first person from Alosa's POV.

Daughter of the Pirate King stands at 320 pages. It was published February 28, 2017 by Feiwel & Friends.

ANALYSIS: Daughter of the Pirate King promises to bring readers a tough, female pirate captain who has just a dash of Jack Sparrow mixed in. Considering that pirates – and female ones at that – are rarely found in YA fantasy, I thought I'd give this novel a shot. I mean action, adventure, and a female pirate captain? What more could you ask for?

In many ways, Daughter of the Pirate King is very much a debut novel. I wouldn't say the writing is juvenile, but it reads like it was a first novel and has many problems I've encountered with a first debut novel from an author. Problems such as repetitiveness, inconsistent writing style, a heavy focus on romance when other elements should have been highlighted, telling readers and not showing them things, and a case of trying just a bit too hard to make the main character funny and likeable were some of the things I encountered.

Repetitiveness was a huge issue in this book. Alosa is, as the title suggests, the daughter of the pirate king. While this is a huge part of the story, it is mentioned ad nauseam. I am really not sure we went more than two or three pages without having someone – Alosa or the pirates that 'kidnapped' her – mentioning that Alosa was the daughter of the pirate king. If the pirates weren't saying "We are looking at the daughter of the pirate king", then Alosa was telling people and saying things like, "I am daughter of the pirate king. Do these people know who I am?".

When someone wasn't saying it out loud or Alosa was thinking it, she was reflecting on what being the daughter of the pirate. Her internal dialogue would include memories of being the daughter of the pirate king or thinking to herself that she was daughter of the pirate king. It was just a little bit too much.

The inconsistent writing style wasn't a huge issue, but it was noticeable at times. Most of the book both the narrated sections and the dialogue were written in modern English. Every so often there would be a random old time word thrown in. Something like 'Tis' or 'ye'. It wouldn't have been bad if it was during a conversation, but it was usually done in Alosa's internal thoughts. It was hard to understand why 99% of the time she'd talk normally then have a random old time word thrown in.

The romance issue was extremely noticeable. The novel revolves around Alosa trying to find a map on a pirate ship. To find the map, she gets herself kidnapped. This is what should have been the main focus of the novel, but instead this romance instantly becomes front and center to the novel. The minute the love interest is introduced, our "strong" main character immediately turns to mush. While she is fighting she thinks things like 'wow... why does he smell so good' or when being intensely questioned she thinks 'Oh you are so handsome. I wonder what you are like to kiss'.

Don't get me wrong, romance can be good for a novel and in some points necessary. It just seemed to push everything aside and made what should have been the main plot seem secondary. It is also extremely frustrating when a female character is supposed to be super strong and tough, and then the minute a good looking guy walks in her brain turns to mush and her thoughts center on his smell, hair, body, voice, etc.

Telling and not showing was another huge issue in Daughter of the Pirate King. Almost everything that happened, all the information and world building was told to the readers. This was usually done through very long, lengthy monologues given by the characters.

Some examples of telling instead of showing include the following situations. Alosa is supposed to be this tough, no nonsense pirate captain. How do we know this? Because she tells us that she could beat people up, she could kill, that she is tough. Time and time and time again she tells us this, but she doesn't ever really show it to us. There is a brief fight scene here and there, and she even kills someone, but for the most part her tough persona is developed because she tells us she is tough.

Another example is her training and upbringing with the pirate king. The pirate king was apparently mean, cruel and really hard on Alosa. Readers are never really shown how this happens through memories or anything. Alosa just told us it was rough and hard growing up with him. It would have been nice to see some of the stuff instead of being told everything after the fact.

The last issue was – and this is just a personal opinion – I felt the main character Alosa tried too hard to be a female Jack Sparrow. The stuff she did just came across as immature instead of funny. For example, she is locked up in a cabin. She doesn't want to be locked in the cabin and she is upset. So she throws things on the floor, messes up the maps, jumps on the guy's clothing. When that doesn't work, she then hums loudly while he tries to sleep or makes noises so he can't sleep. Remember – Alosa is the toughest pirate captain, so you would think that her approach to things would be rougher.

In addition to the immature antics, Alosa has a habit of trying to have this witty banter with comebacks to everyone. Most of the time it just seemed like she was trying too hard, but sometimes – rarely – the conversations came across as funny and witty. It almost came across as a parody of Jack Sparrow, but I don't think that was the intent of it.

Even with all these problems, it would seem like I didn't enjoy the book. I wouldn't say that was the case. It was an average read. There wasn't anything that made it stand out and it was a fast paced novel. There were a few twists and turns thrown into the novel, but most of them were easily predictable which sort of ruined the 'surprise' element of them. It is also a debut novel so some of these issues may go away in the future. I believe if the book had been portrayed as more of a romance novel or had things been a bit more polished, it could have taken this novel up a notch and made it stand out.

I do think that there might be an audience for this book, especially if you go in knowing this is going to be a light-hearted, sometimes silly novel with a lot – and I mean a lot – of focus on the romance. However, if you are looking for rip-roaring, action and adventure with rough and tumble pirates, you will probably be fairly disappointed.

The question I am left with is – would I continue with the series? I would definitely give the second novel a chance. I understand debut authors have some kinks to work out and I see potential. I would say to weigh what I said and if you still find it interesting to give it a shot. It might surprise you and be a novel that you enjoy.

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