A huge thanks to Dave from The Write Reads for organising this tour and to Maria Kuzniar, Penguin Random House and Netgalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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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.
What do you get if you take a an adventurous young girl constantly being told that girls don’t have adventures, a pirate ship with an all female crew and a tonne of magic? Answer: a kick ass pirate adventure novel that will delight younger readers everywhere whilst flying the flag for the girls.
Alija has a thirst for adventure and longs for something beyond the norm of her Spanish village and constant reminder that girls were not supposed to experience thrilling adventures. On one of her late night prowls through the town and to the library, she stumbles across the all female crew of the legendary Ship of Shadows. Alija is sucked into the adventure of off she goes into a world of pirates and magic.
Alija is a brilliant character and I love how she rebels against a very traditional view of a girl and how they should behave. I adore her curiosity and how her love of books is what leads her to her adventure. The rest of the crew all have the unique personalities and I feel any young reader will relate with at least one character.
The settings and descriptions are stunning. From the rooftops and alleys of Servillas to the shores of Morocco, the descriptions are so immersive. Every sight, sound and smell is vivid and exquisite and just sucks the reader in.
This is an excellent adventure/fantasy for middle grade children that breaks stereotypes and has an adventure like nothing else I’ve ever come across.
Author Bio – Maria Kuzniar
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.