Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
Warnings: attempted sexual assault, mention of rape, physical violence, murder, child abuse
I was excited about Daughter of the Pirate King for two reasons – lady pirate and sirens! The book is like imagining what Elizabeth Swann would be if she had been born as a pirate. Alosa, our protagonist, is on a mission from dear old dad to retrieve a map from a pirate ship. She is sassy, well-trained, and a headstrong girl – she has this shit handled! Or so she thinks. Because being a girl in a pirate world means being constantly underestimated, but she uses that to her advantage. She gets ‘kidnapped’ by the pirate ship she intends to steal from, and then stealthily searches it when she can. However, looking for a long-lost map is not easy and the ship’s first mate, Riden, keeps an extra close eye on her. Also, out there is another pirate lord who has taken an interest in her skills, and her mission gets a lot more complicated than originally planned.
The book is set in a fantasy world that also has the legends of sirens, only that few people have seen them and lived to tell about it. The connection with the plot of the novel comes later in the novel, but it is not entirely unpredictable. In fact, much of the novel isn’t – it heartily relies on tropes and cliches, but still manages to be extremely entertaining. The banter between Alosa and Riden alone can leave you in splits, and I had a smile going through most of their scenes like ‘oh just kiss already’. They go through some stuff, too, though as this book is not entirely fun and giggles – this is a pirate story after all, and there is a body count (5 minutes into the first chapter and 3 people die). Alosa is a trained fighter and has a good heart, but she is also the daughter of a pirate king and has not been brought up as a princess, mind you. Her father is depicted as a ruthless man, more interested in what value she has a captain and her skills, rather than any natural affection to his flesh. For her part, she accepts the cruelty of her world as a part of existing in it, and rarely questions the morals.
Which is why I must speak about the normalization of sexual assault in this book. The threat of rape is frequently used as a device in fantasy stories, and this one is no different. Alosa faces attempted (sexual) assault twice, but there is a difference in how it is resolved. The first time, she outright kills the guy, and Riden stands by, condoning it. But the second time, when it is his brother who is doing it, he asks her not to kill him, and she relents, thinking about Riden’s feelings. Never mind that he (Riden’s brother) was a turd since the moment she met him, and she is more than capable of protecting herself thanks to her skills, but Riden didn’t even do much to stop his brother, and then he is advising her not to take her natural course of action? Yeah, that put a damper on my shipping for those two, even though their relationship is fraught with manipulation, lying and you know, all that first date stuff.
And lastly, as I read this in audio, I want to add a note about the narrator Marisa Calin, who does an amazing job with the book. She brings out the personality of Alosa so well that I did not even want to read this in text, because it felt lacking compared to her narration. She also does the other voices extremely well, from Riden to even the basic crew member, and makes the story feel much more alive.
Overall, though, this book is quite entertaining with an amazing empowered heroine, who has her own mostly-female pirate crew (which I really am hoping to see more of in the next book) and a high stakes plot, plus some fun flirting and banter.
3 thoughts on “Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller”
It’s interesting that this book is actually more dark then what it smees. I only read super excited review on much this novel is funny. It’s bad to hear about the rape stuff. One thing is describing a mind”society system that attempt to normalize it and the heroine is growing in that society, but this –
This things really piss me off.
Yeah SFF has had the problem forever but it’s 2017. Not cool then and not cool now. The rape which is mentioned (it happens in the past) is subversive in theme, but still rape nonetheless.
Hmmm this sounds interesting. Lady pirates? Hell yes! Normalization of sexual assault? Nope. Overall, it does sound pretty good. I wouldn’t mind giving it a read to see for myself.