Title: The Ship of Shadows
Author: Maria Kuzniar
Publication Date: 16 July 2020
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy/Adventure
Number of Pages: 288
Summary: From Goodreads: “Aleja whiles away her days in her family’s dusty tavern in Seville, dreaming of distant lands and believing in the kind of magic that she’s only ever read about in books. After all, she’s always being told that girls can’t be explorers.
But her life is changed forever when adventure comes for her in the form of a fabled vessel called the Ship of Shadows. Crewed by a band of ruthless women, with cabin walls dripping with secrets, the ship has sailed right out of a legend. And it wants Aleja.
Once on board its shadowy deck, she begins to realize that the sea holds more secrets than she ever could have imagined. The crew are desperately seeking something, and their path will take them through treacherous waters and force them to confront nightmare creatures and pitch-dark magic. It will take all of Aleja’s strength and courage to gain the trust of her fellow pirates – and discover what they are risking everything to find.”
Review: Thank you, Dave, at The Write Reads for organizing and inviting me to be a part of this blog tour. Thank you, Penguin Random House, Puffin, and Net Galley, for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Aleja dreams of magic and becoming an explorer and going on adventures like the ones she’s read about in books. Unfortunately, she doesn’t think she’ll ever get to leave Seville because girls can’t become explorers, and she has to help at her family’s tavern. Then one day, adventure comes for her when she finds herself aboard the legendary Ship of Shadows, setting sail across the ocean. What follows is a series of magical moments, dangerous adventures, mysterious puzzles, and events that Aleja thought only existed in books.
This book was absolutely fantastic, and it set the bar high for any future pirate books that I read. This book had basically everything you could ask for, and it was full of adventure, magic, friendship, and cake! The group of girl pirates aboard the Ship of Shadows are all unique and amazingly talented, and I fell in love with all of them while reading.
My favourite thing about this book was the adventure. Between the magical mysteries on the Ship of Shadows, the terrifying creatures the crew encounters, and the secret mission that the crew was on, I was completely hooked on the story. Reading this book brought me back to being in elementary school and being completely enthralled with authors like Cornelia Funke and wanting to go on magical adventures. The adventures in this book were full of twists and turns, and I didn’t find anything to be predictable, which is amazing. The descriptions of the ship and the places they visited were amazing, and it felt like I was a member of the crew, going on the adventure with them.
I also thought that the characters in this book were amazing. I love stories featuring strong female characters, and that’s what this book is about. Aleja is so incredibly smart, and her quick thinking is tremendously beneficial to the crew. Frances is such a fun character, and I love that she loves cakes and all things sweet, and her stealth skills are beyond impressive. Farren, Velka, and Griete are also fantastic, and their unique skill sets make them valuable members of the Ship of Shadows. Captain Quint, Malika, and other senior members of the crew are also fascinating, and I would love to read more about their adventures. I loved the friendship between all of the characters, and how the Ship of Shadows was a family.
The other thing that I loved about this book was that it was about an all-female pirate crew. As I mentioned before, I love stories featuring strong females, and I think they’re important. The characters in this book were all amazing, and they’re all characters that readers can look up to. They go on adventures, they see the world, they learn about different cultures and customs, they have talents, and they boost each other up and support each other.
Overall, this book was fantastic. It was full of adventure, magic, friendship, and cake. It featured strong female characters, and if I had read this when I was ten years old, I would have definitely gone through a major pirate phase. I can’t wait for book two, and I recommend that everyone who likes adventure, friendship, or cake go pick up this book immediately.
Rating: 5 Stars!