Sunday, 3 July 2011

Book Review - Piratica

Title: Piratica
Author: Tanith Lee
Series: Piratica (book 1)
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release Date: 12 Aug 2004
ISBN-13: 978-0340854457

Taking place in a parallel world in the year Seventeen-Twelvety (approximately 1802) this almost historical adventure begins with 16-year-old Miss Artemesia Fitz-Willoughby Weatherhouse, or Art for short, coming to her senses in her select but dreary prison that is the Angels Academy for Young Ladies. She longs for the life her deceased mother Molly led and is determined to break out and rebel against her uneasy aristocratic father. Molly Faith was a notorious female pirate who coined and earned the feared nickname Piratica.
Taking a rare chance to escape her educational shackles, Art makes for Ports Mouth and the unruly inn where her mother's old shipmates congregate to drown their sorrows. Taking on her mother's mantle and battle cry--Art urges them to resurrect their former seafaring career of blaggardry and to strike out for further fame and infamy.

My Review - this review contains spoilers!
I had heard good things about this series and actually got the book about a year ago, but have only just got round to it. I am a fan of anything Pirate based so looked forward to this.
Art is a 16 year old girl who has been at a posh girls boarding school for the last six years, but she yearns for more. With flashbacks of memories of her mother - Piratica- the most feared and respected female pirate captain ever, Art wants to be just like her. Taking the chance to escape one day, Art makes her way to Ports Mouth and finds the old crew and sets out on the high seas, finally back at sea, just like her mother would have wanted.
I have to admit, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I hoped I would. The story was silly in places, and the writing a mix of ages. The characters said 'poo' quite a lot, and I'm not really sure why, just seemed to be put in their to make readers laugh, but it just annoyed me.
Ok, I have to put spoilers in to explain what I found unbelievable - Art finds her mums old crew and convinces them to go out to sea, but none of them are happy about it, as it turns out, they never were pirates, but actors from a small theatre - where they performed a pirate spectacular on stage - hence the memories Art has. Turns out none of them were real. However she manages to get them out to sea and become real life pirates, and sudden;y they all seem to know how a boat works and get sailing away on adventure - this didn't seem realistic at all.
Also all of these must have been somewhere between 30-45 years in age if not older, yet they accepted Art's captaincy and ruling with absolutely no argument, how many middle aged men do you know that would willingly follow a sixteen year old out to sea on life threatening missions, no questions asked. Just because she reminded them of her mum. Seemed a bit too silly for me.
But then saying all that the book did have some redeeming moments, I loved the parrot and the unwilling traveler picked up on the way - Felix, I spent most of the book wandering  if he was good or bad, in love with Art or not, and if he would leave or not. I liked his charm and quick mind.
The clues/puzzles leading to the treasure was very well thought out and really well described, a very good treasure hunt that had me trying to figure it out along with the characters.
Art herself as a character was ok, strong minded, and willing to do whatever it takes to live her dreams, thoughtful of her crew and never hurting anyone unnecessarily, she would steal from ships but never hurt the crew, so a merciful pirate. 
The ending got more exciting and had me turning the pages faster and I'm sort of intrigued as to what happens next, I may pick up the next book and give it a go.

My Rating
I would give this book 5/10, I really was torn by this book, some promising moments,but just not as good as I thought it would be.

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