Thanks to Orion Children’s Group and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went into this. I have read some meh YA seafaring related novels recently *cough*The Beholder and To Kill a Kingdom*cough* so wondered if this would be a similar experience.
HOW WRONG I WAS.
This main character of this book is the seventeen year old daughter of ‘The Viper’ a pira…nope, a PRIVATEER. Sorry, this history teacher has to be pedantic. The Viper is charged by the King to defend the Twelve Islands with his merry band of assassins, The Snakes. Each island is different geographically and economically e.g. one is known for its medicinal plant life, one is known for its mining etc. Marianne chafes against her father’s rules, and struggles to live up to his (completely messed up) expectations.
There are a lot of really cool things about this novel. I liked, nay loved, Marianne immediately. She seemed so much more rounded and believable as a character than the usual YA heroine. Her motivations, actions and emotions made sense to me given the context of her upbringing and what she has gone through. The author has also done a great job at researching the realities of life at sea and its clear that she’s done her seafaring homework.
The story was fast paced and didn’t have that mid story slump that many YA novels can suffer from. Something that also really surprised me with this novel was how brutal it could be. Some of the events were genuinely shocking and the plot has lots of twists and turns and heart thumping moments. The romance doesn’t take away from the plot and isn’t overbearing and twee. The author has taken some risks with this story and I think its really paid off.
What didn’t I like? Well nothing I can think of to be honest, it was all pretty damn great. This is quite simply the best new YA novel I’ve read so far this year and I can’t wait for the next one.