Piratica: Being a Daring Tale of a Singular Girl's Adventure Upon the High Seas (Piratica #1) by Tanith Lee
Published: Dutton Juvenile (2003), Hardcover, 288pg
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fiction
Artemesia is the daughter of a pirate queen, and she's sick of practicing deportment at the Angels Academy for Young Maidens. Escaping from the school, she hunts up her mother's crew and breezily commands them out to sea in a leaky boat. Unfortunately, Art's memories of her early life may not be accurate-her seasick crew are actors, and Art's infamous mother was the darling of the stage in a pirate drama. But fiery, pistol-proof Art soon shapes her men into the cleverest pirate crew afloat. And when they meet the dread ship Enemy and her beautiful, treacherous captain, Goldie Girl, Art is certain that her memories are real. The Seven Seas aren't large enough for two pirate queens: Art will have the battle of her life to win her mother's title--and the race for the most fabulous treasure in pirate lore. This gaudy, outrageous tale sparkles with swordplay, skullduggery, and salty language--not to mention over-the-top comedy! (from Goodreads)Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Immediately upon reading the first page of Piratica I was sucked into it, and it kept my interest and enthusiasm right up until the end. I’ve never read a Tanith Lee book before this one, although her name did seem familiar to me, but if her other books are like this one I think I may have discovered one of my favorite YA authors.
That’s not to say that Piratica doesn’t have problems– it’s a little bit melodramatic and the plot takes suspension of disbelief to its limits– but Piratica‘s romanticism and adventuresome plot and delicate handling of the heart’s thoughts makes up for those stumbles.
Delicacy and melodrama don’t seem to go together, but the melodrama was mostly in the dialogue and some parts of the plotline. The delicacy was in the character’s interactions with each other, in the way they fell in love with each other, for instance. The combination is kind of a weird one, but Tanith Lee’s writing manages to pull it all together and keeps it from being annoying or stilting. Plus, I think melodrama goes well with pirates, don’t you?
Art is a weird character: I really liked her, but she has a tendency to be stubborn, close-mouthed, and sneaky. Good qualities in a pirate, I think, but they don’t really make me trust her. Art also has a fixation on her mother, which is understandable but somewhat frustrating when I want her to find her own destiny– not just follow her mother’s. She’s tricky, that one, and I hope being in love doesn’t cloud her judgment or something in the sequel. (She doesn’t really seem the sort who’d do that, anyway.)
The other characters vary from campy and humorous to mysterious and intriguing, and they made a good supporting cast. Piratica is mostly about Art, but it’s also about the people surrounding Art, and it’s not all pirate antics. It’s about family, and love, and trying to recapture something that was lost. It’s also just really, really fun.
Piratica isn’t your typical high seas adventure book, and though it toes the line between “too much” and “just enough,” it’s supremely enjoyable and makes for a pleasant Saturday afternoon. There aren’t nearly enough books with female pirates as leads, either, so that’s worth a look at least. Plus, swordfights!
Read: January 23-24, 2010