Yes, here I am again, playing the critic. Did you honestly expect anything less? I mean, really?
And if you know either of us, you’ll know that we couldn’t pass up a book about pirates. So, without further ado, the sins of Daughter of the Pirate King.
The Most Grievous Error: No Map
Okay. Okay. *pulls out hair*
THE ENTIRE POINT OF THIS BOOK WAS A SASSY WOMAN TRYING TO FIND A MAP.
Naturally, when I flipped open the front page, my eyes fell to a beautiful, detailed drawing of a parchment NOTHING. The inside cover was blank. The first few pages? No map. The back? No map. I flipped through the entire book and there was NO MAP.
Wow. I don’t get it. I’m in love with book maps, sure, but who isn’t? And why in the world wouldn’t a book in which the sole plot is to find a map would there not be a map? It’s ludicrous. It’s shameful. It’s EXTREMELY disappointing. I’m still disappointed.
No World Building:
Soooo… a map would have seriously helped me on this point. I’m just saying. But either Alosa has no idea that there is a world that she’s sailing through (or being-held-captive-in) or she doesn’t care. Neither seems true about her, so we’re going to pin this fault on Ms. Levenseller.
It’s like… worldbuilding in YA is taboo. ‘No young reader can handle worldbuilding’ someone said in their large office while sipping Starbucks, and every single YA author listened and saluted. There’s no worldbuilding. There’s hints of a sea king (pirate king) and a ‘land king’ (he wasn’t called exactly that but he’s not important to the story. He’s not even important enough to have a name) and that they are at odds, kind of. Or maybe pay tribute to each other? Huh. Not sure. Apparently, there are other pirates somewhere. Stalking.
The island names don’t HELP. Maybe it’s a fantasy Carribean? Maybe it’s a fantasy Spanish-controlled world? Maybe we’re just off mainland Mexico? Really not sure.
Also, the character names don’t help, either. They’re definitely fantasy names: Draxen, Alosa, Mandsy, (ish), Riden, but they they’re all blank slates as far as culture, ethnicity, and background go. They all speak the same language (ish) and sure they have quirks, but they don’t give us any hints as to what the world’s like.
Okay. Let’s talk about this one really fast. So. This is a book about pirates. Pirates live and breathe and die on ships.
The ships on which these pirates sail are barely talked about. No sailing talk. No nautical terms. Nothing. They might as well be floating around in boxes or on sofas, or maybe not on the ocean at all, for all the descriptions she gives. If she happened to be worried about confusing her reader, she could easily have had a ship-to-vocabulary diagram. On the other hand, she didn’t even have a map, so… maybe she’s opposed to illustrations altogether?
How hard it is, really? Alosa lives and breathes ships. All pirates do– it’s their livelihood and home. And yet we can’t mention yardarms or tackle or sheeting or the mizzen? We can’t talk about the fo’c’sle? We hear a little about the brig and the deck and the captain’s quarters, but what in the davy jones about something a little more obscure?
Is Alosa actually a pirate? Or maybe in this world of no-worldbuilding, the ships aren’t comprised of a whole lot except a sail, a single mast, a deck, a couple cages below decks, and the captain’s quarters?
And lazy, if you ask me.
Competency is a Lie:
Maybe the fact that Alosa believes her crew is competent is a lie she’s telling herself. She’s always thinking about how great they are and how awesome it is that they’re all women and how much better her crew is than this one of young punks who are either 1) sweet and kinda dumb or 2) really evil.
The only clues we have in the book as to how competent her crew actually are… prove the opposite. They don’t do as she says, they get caught, they’re found out… it’s like they don’t understand competency. Maybe this is nitpicking, but I’d love to see them being clever.
Welcome to Alosa’s world, where clothing is important but doesn’t really make sense.
“Stretches!” he exclaims. “No. You will not wear this.” He tosses me instead a wad of purple fabric that he’d been holding in his other hand. It’s a corset, but this one is an over bust instead of an under bust. It’s complete with a hood and short attachable sleeves. (pg 174)
Clothing is important. I like clothes. I like jeans that feel like yoga pants and I like cozy sweaters/ socks/ shirts/ scarves/ everything. I like renaissance gowns and cute cocktail dresses.
I also know when to wear what and why. Alosa has great taste in clothing. She’s concerned about it (but this is sins, remember?)
Does she understand the point of a corset? What she’s describing sounds like a piece of flirty armor. Okay. Enough said.
Lady Jack Sparrow….?
This book is touted as on the cover: ‘readers should rejoice because now we have a Lady Jack Sparrow on our hands!’
This sounds like one of those weird marketing schemes where people are like; “this book is like ‘Desperate Housewives meets Lord of the Rings’!” and it doesn’t help you imagine anything AND it’s just wrong.
Alosa is not like a lady Jack Sparrow. She’s nothing like him. She doesn’t exist in a rum-induced stupor, nor does she execute amazing and improbable stunts.
For the Wins of this book, please visit: Wins of the Daughter of the Pirate King