Good day to you all fellow readers and welcome to another fabulous blog tour by The Write Reads. Today on the blog is my stop on the blog tour for The Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuzniar!
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
Well this was fun! I really enjoyed this wonderful little adventure fantasy. It is an enchanting beginning to a series with a quick story with an even sharper main character surrounded by fierce lady Pirates. Hard not to have me on board. I don’t review middle grade books much on the blog, if ever and I really want to change that. Reviewing this for this blog tour was not only the perfect opportunity to change that while also being blessed to read Kuzniar’s spellbinding debut.
Let’s kick off with the world building. This book is utterly enchanting and I couldn’t get enough of the sheer experience of reading it. The atmosphere is there from the get go from the short lived moments we spend in Sevilla with Aleja running along the rooftops to the storms that wrack the ship while she is at sea with the whole crew on board. This is perfect for younger and older readers alike for that reason alone. I read this on a rainy day and it was such a feel good experience.
Aleja is everything I wish I could have had in books when I was younger. I often say this about Tamora Pierce and Diana Wynne Jones but these are the stories that help you feel good if you are the odd one out. These are the stories young girls need. Aleja doesn’t sacrifice anything of herself for the sake of fitting in, pleasing her family or even in Captain Quint’s presence when she is aboard the Ship of Shadows. She knows her value and at such a young age, will fight for both what’s right as well as what she needs.
The entire cast of characters really pleased me. I mean I was onboard the second I heard it was a band of girl Pirates running the ship. Some of my favourites being Frances and Malika. Frances and Aleja have the most wonderful, heart melting friendship. I love this kind of friendly support and how they really look out for each other. There is something clever done with Frances that I won’t spoil but if it’s true, I would like it to be hopefully more explicitly explored in the coming books. She also always has cake so, best friend material there. Malika being a scary weapon lady with one hand, scars and a blood-thirst to make the man who did those things to her pay while having a soft girlfriend back in Morocco is everything I love. Gay scary ladies with knives. Love it.
The story runs at a pace that you would expect for an epic sea journey on board a magical ship with kick ass pirates. And if you don’t get that, I mean it moves hella fast with no stopping for breath. It’s like working on the ship itself, there is always something to do and someone to help regardless of your role in the crew. I will say the last section of the book went a little bit faster and I do want to spend more time with that villain in the future. This is still the first book though and it is super impressive what is achieved here
A wonderful protagonist with adventure in her soul, a magical ship and a band of lady pirates who work together fabulously and danger is always near. What else could you want? Thank you to both Penguin Random House and The Write Reads for having me on this tour and sending me a digital copy of this book in exchange for review. The Ship of Shadows is out now!
Maria Kuzniar spent six years living in Spain, teaching English and travelling the world, which inspired her debut novel The Ship of Shadows. Now she lives in Nottingham with her husband, where she reads and writes as much as she can and bookstagrams at @cosyreads. She is always planning her next adventure.