Book Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Disclaimer: I was provided with an Advance Reader’s Edition for the purpose of writing this review; no other compensation was offered or requested. There will be changes in the final product; the one I know about is that the published version will have a darker cover, less “chick lit” and more “piratey.”
We first meet Alosa disguised as a cabin boy on a ship that’s been captured by the pirate ship the Night Farer. Despite this, she is soon spotted as a woman, and the very prize Captain Draxen and his brother/first mate Riden attacked to find. Soon Alosa is secured in the Night Farer‘s brig, and a ransom demand is being made to her father, Kalligan the Pirate King.
Just as Alosa had planned. For the brothers have one third of a legendary treasure map, and the only way to get on their ship to steal it was to be invited. But though Alosa is clever and skilled, there are a few secrets she doesn’t know, and that could sink her mission before the fortnight is out.
This adventure novel is aimed at the higher end of young adult, with a protagonist who doesn’t hesitate to kill people if that’s what’s needed to accomplish her job. Alosa has had a rough, even abusive, childhood being trained up to become a worthy successor to her father. As a result, she has quite an edge, and her first-person narration often puts other people down in the process of showing herself to be good enough to please her father.
The one person on the enemy crew who can keep up with her acid tongue is Riden, who is perhaps a bit more compassionate than is safe for a pirate. It comes as no surprise to the reader when the two start falling in love despite their respective positions. The romance might be obvious, and take up more time than the action, but the banter is nice.
Alosa at times comes across as smug, especially when she reminds us that she’s holding back to hide her true awesomeness, but that does make the moments when the rug is pulled out from under her more satisfying.
The world building is minimal; it’s the Age of Sail but with a vastly simplified political situation, and a fantasy element that becomes more important in the last third of the novel. While most of the immediate plot threads are wrapped up, this is a bit too obviously a book with a sequel coming soon.
Content: In addition to the child abuse mentioned above, sexual assault is something Alosa thinks about a lot, due to her circumstances. There’s some heavy petting scenes, but the characters never go all the way. Also torture just off-stage.
Primarily for pirate story fans who do not mind a heavy romance subplot.