Saturday, April 18, 2015

Review of Eve Bunting's The Pirate Captain's Daughter

By Eve Bunting

Star Rating: 
Date/Time Started: 4/17/2015 at 4:15 pm
Date/Time Finished: 4/17/2015 at 11:30 pm

Genre: YA Fantasy
Number of Pages: 208

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
"I always knew my father was a pirate and I always knew I wanted to be one, too."  At age fifteen, Catherine's life is about to change.  Her mother has just died and Catherine can't stand the thought of being sent to live with her aunt in Boston.  She longs for a life of adventure.  After she discovers her father's secret life as captain of the pirate ship Reprisal, her only thoughts are to join him on the high seas.  Catherine imagines a life of sailing the blue waters of the Caribbean, the wind whipping at her back.  She's heard tales of bloodshed and brutality but her father's ship would never be like that.  Catherine convinces her father to let her join him, disguised as a boy.  But once the Reprisal sets sail, she finds life aboard a pirate ship is not for the faint of heart.  If her secret is uncovered, punishment will be swift and brutal.

I had been genuinely looking forward to reading this book since I bought it at a the Montpelier bookstore, Rivendell books.  Unfortunately this book was a major let down.  Bunting did well showing that a pirate ship was not the most clean of places, and that the food left much to be desired.  She did well to squash hopes Catherine had from romance novels of what the pirates and life would be like.  What she didn't do well was bring tension.  There were no stakes in this novel, in part, because the heroine (if you can call her that) told us everything.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.

There was no moment of discovery about her father being a pirate, because she already knew.  There was no moment of true worry about being a woman on board the ship, because the reader knew it would have to be discovered eventually.  The stakes, her father's life, were already being wagered on before her true identity was revealed, because of a gem he had possession of.  And of course, despite being on a pirate ship, there was romance.  I don't think many fifteen year old boys would be able to put up with a lashing without revealing why they had attacked someone. The most disconcerting was towards the end, when Catherine and William were running out of food, how they relished being in love and holding each other.  I doubt that would make someone close to starvation feel that much better.  Catherine and William are rescued at the end, which, according to some amazon reviews, opens the book up to a sequel--a sequel that, if it does exist, I do not think I have any true desire to acquire and read.

While this book is listed at for grades 6-9, I think the cap age would probably be around 11, or up to grade 8 if trying to get reluctant readers to give it a try.

Author Information:
Eve Bunting has written more than 200 books for children.  Usually she writes for very young readers.  She lives in Pasadena, California.

If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.

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