Monday, March 5, 2018

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller | Oy Matey, Come Board My Ship!

Daughter of the Pirate King #1
Date Read: Jan 27 to 20, 2018
First Published: 2017
Young Adult, Fantasy
There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.
Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.
More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.
DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING is a really fun ride that had a lot of things I really like, and a few I really didn't.

First of all, I really enjoyed our spunky heroine Alosa. A fierce, brutal pirate with a heart, she's sarcastic, violent, petty and a whole lot of fun. Her abilities are rivaled by her pride only, her red hair matching perfectly with her feisty persona.

You will watch her kill men without a blink of an eye, but you will also watch her worry for her friends and struggle with her growing attachment to one of her handsome captures, Riden.

Riden is smart, keen-eyed and strong. Out of all the pirates in this book, he fits that title the least. Most of all because he's got a heart, and he doesn't like seeing people hurt, yet he is forced into that position due to his unwavering loyalty to his brother. On occasion, he can be a smug SOB. Which, not gonna lie, I really loved.

And this two banter. A lot. They clash wits and words and verbally fight for the upper hand, with most battles ending in a draw. And as far as YA couples go, these two are definitely hot together. There are some scenes in this one that may make you want to fan yourself a little bit! Be that as it may be... this is kind of slow burn. I may have said "YA couples" but these two aren't that... yet. I'm fully trusting Levenseller to set sail to my ship unquestionably in the follow-up, which I will be reading this March!

Another character I am hoping to see more fleshed out in the sequel is actually Draxen. Those of us who pre-ordered DAUGHTER OF THE SIREN QUEEN got a special bonus chapter from Riden's POV, and I loved the humanity we got to see in this character in that one, on top of the obvious love he has for his brother in DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING. So.... what would win - that love or the darkness? Here's to hoping we get to find out!

Now, the things that I didn't quite enjoy about this one...

First of all, directly from the synopsis: "Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map--the key to a legendary treasure trove". Yeah, don't expect much of that. I mean, yeah, that's the setup. But there is very little actual searching or information about this treasure trove. I kind of wanted to experience a lot more of it with Alosa, as opposed to being mostly told about it. Like, this would have been so helpful to show us how capable she is, as well as illustrating her mounting panic and desperation as she fails to find it.

Then, there were moments where the book intentionally dumbed Alosa down in order to keep tension, or simply to have a plot for the next book. And... I am not a big fan of that. At all. Ever.

*Mark the next parts with the cursor if you want to read the spoilers! Warning: it's a major rant so read only if you like those (I know I do lol)*

SPOILER For example, the book expects me to believe Alosa didn't figure out Theris was actually Vordan once on that island. When I, a mere reader who has never experienced a Pirate's life called it from a mile away. And I'm not talking about reading hints in the story. I'm talking about good old-fashioned logic.

She is the daughter of the pirate king. She has lived all her life under his thumb. She knows he would never defer to a simple spy--so why does she think "Vordan", a pirate lord like her father, would? Why doesn't it raise her suspicions? Then, there are moments when she discusses with herself the strangeness of things; how "Vordan" didn't want to experience her abilities for himself for some reason. That, coupled with the earlier point, should have definitely tipped her off. But it didn't. THEN one of his men actually slips up and starts to call him "captain". AND SHE STILL DOESN'T REALIZE THE TRUTH.

That made my blood boil. ALOSA, freakin' daughter of the pirate king, would know when someone is talking to their captain. She would read all of the signs. She would see the way they listen to everything Theris says carefully, never dismissing him. She would fucking figure it out.

But she doesn't, because the reveal is not half as shocking otherwise (even though it's so obvious there is no reveal...), or something of that sorts. So instead, she is just dumb. Great. END SPOILER

Now, if that's not enough to get your blood boiling, there is one thing that Alosa is made to do by the author in that sequence that made me furious. Seeing red, blowing steam, sheeting mad. It was so upsetting because it was so out of character. Because it threw out everything that is smart and logical and in line with who Alosa was up to that point. All because the author put herself it a pinch and had to solve it for the next book to exist.

It wasn't a result of our plot, but a direct response to what the plot of the next book needed to be. I FUCKING HATED THAT.

And it wasn't even well done. It was just so incredibly sloppy and dumb and I am still getting upset just thinking about it.

SPOILER So let me paint you a picture: 

Alosa has just been freed from her cage with the help of Riden and goes after her captures, full Siren on. She tells herself how she doesn't feel remorse for their inability to protect themselves because that's what they would have done to her and Riden. Then... she stops, with Theris--AKA Vordan--and his two men still alive. She stops so she can go search the body of a freaking dead man. A dead man who would still be lying there after she has killed the other three. For God's sake, he is not going to go anywhere! With the other three dead, there will be no one alerted to her and Riden's escape. She will literally have all the time in the world to search "Vordan", and take Riden to safety.

No, she stops for one reason only. She stops because she can't just kill Theris in book one because there will be no sequel and the story is not half done. She stops for plot reasons. Badly set up plot reasons. That PISSED ME OFF SO BAD.

And, again, Alosa, fucking daughter of the pirate king, would not make this type of mistake. END SPOILER

I hate that. I hate when authors decide to overlook logic and character personalities in order to set up the sequel. There are so many other, better ways Levenseller could have handled that. A million and a half reasons for Alosa to stop, or for that character not to be there in that moment.

But no.

That one moment was enough to knock at least half a star from this novel. And I hate when that happens to me with good books.

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