Monday, March 5, 2012
Review: Piratica: Being a Daring Tale of a Singular Girl's Adventure Upon the High Seas
Piratica: Being a Daring Tale of a Singular Girl's Adventure Upon the High Seas by Tanith Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Why was this book not around when I was younger? This had everything my young self loved: adventure, romance, pirates who don't kill, a treasure hunt, and an awesome young woman at the helm. Had I read this book when I was young, I would love it to pieces.
Alas, I'm older now, and I couldn't help but see flaws rather than the parts I loved. The style of this book is choppy and abrupt. There's some creative imagery, but there's also a treasure hunt scene with a distinct lack of tension, an issue with pacing, foreshadowing laid on thick, and an unconvincing reason given for the title character's innate talent for piracy.
The style of the book is straightforward, to the point of terseness. There are a few different perspectives the story is told through (it's third person semi-omniscient), and the transitions from one perspective to another aren't always obvious.
The style takes away from the tension quite a bit. I felt like the most interesting part of the story was told in the middle. While the ending still held some surprises, it was told with a hopeless, resigned tone that made it hard to plow through. The treasure hunt and subsequent climactic duel is the most interesting part of the book, but the hunt, itself, feels like reading about someone's afternoon walk.
There were a lot of elements in this book that I enjoyed, but this is a book best enjoyed by the age group it's written for. It's safe for a preteen audience; while there's romance, it's people pining after one another in a very distant, signals-crossed sort of way. Bad language is expressed in a made-up slang for the book, and the title character never drinks anything stronger than coffee.
This was an enjoyable enough book, and if I had a son or a daughter to read it to, I'd probably like it more. But on its own merits, reading it as an adult, it left something to be desired.
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