Attracted by the promise of a ship's name, outcast Jess finds herself trapped amongst the most dreaded outcasts of all. As the days pass and dangers escalate aboard The Constance, Jess is forced to call upon a gift she is not even sure she has to save a boy she thought she did not like. The Accidental Pirate is the story of a girl hero in a man's world. It is the story of finding friendship and family in the most unlikely of places. And it is the story of buccaneers and buckles and a cook with no tongue. Yo, ho!
Plot: This novel unfolds at exactly the right pace—details are revealed organically as the plot progresses, pulling the reader along with the story. The main plot point—a girl disguised as a boy on a pirate ship—doesn’t overwhelm the narrative. Instead, the real story is about how an orphan finds herself at home with what she originally considered a bloodthirsty group of pirates.
Prose: The author’s use of the present tense has the potential to be distracting, but instead it lends a surreal sense of urgency to the text and heightens the supernatural scenes when Jess uses her fortuneteller gift. This book is rife with rich descriptive passages and lovely, nuanced writing.
Originality: While the initial premise is reminiscent of that of the Bloody Jack series, that’s where the similarities end. Jess’s moral objection to being part of a pirate crew wars with her recognition of the humanity of those on the ship—this adds an element of emotional tension that is new and exciting. Jess’s abilities as a fortuneteller and the danger this ability puts her in also add a new element to the pirate ship trope.
Character Development: On the pirate ship Constance, “ugliness sails with beauty.” Although the characters use what might be considered stereotypical pirate-speak, there’s nothing stereotypical about these pirates—they’re nuanced individuals. As the characters slowly unfold and their personalities are revealed, both Jess and the reader learn that most people are complex and have both good and bad inside of them.
Blurb: Lovely descriptive imagery combined with complex, nuanced characters make this story about an orphaned girl disguised as a cabin boy not only a rollicking pirate adventure, but also an emotional story of home and family.
Date Submitted: August 29, 2017