DEVIL'S BALLAST

A satisfying seafaring adventure.

A swashbuckling fictional account of two of the world’s most infamous pirates.

Fiery 18-year-old Anne Bonny flees from her abusive husband into the arms of Calico Jack Rackham and a life at sea. Disguised as a boy, she sails as a pirate aboard Calico’s ship—only he knows her true identity. When a dalliance with Calico leads to an unwanted pregnancy, Bonny plans to wait out her pregnancy in Cuba, where they are headed. When their ship is attacked by pirate hunter Jonathan Barnet, Calico’s crew flees, leaving an injured Bonny behind. She befriends Martin Read, an even-keeled sailor from Barnet’s crew, and the duo escape to Havana, where Bonny waits out her pregnancy. However, both Barnet and Bonny’s husband are on the hunt. Bonny’s first-person narration is punctuated by chapters following Barnet in close third person; Bonny’s narrative voice is compelling while Barnet’s portions mostly just work to keep the plot at a clip. While some aspects of Bonny’s and Read’s intersecting timelines are rearranged, Caddy maintains historical authenticity throughout, neither dampening the violence of the setting nor the dangers of having a marginalized body. Most characters are white. The two black pirates on Calico’s crew were formerly enslaved; one is also implied to be gay. The author plays with gender and identity, maintaining the spirit of the traditional story while adding much-needed trans representation.

A satisfying seafaring adventure. (map) (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1925773-46-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Text

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

THE NOBLEMAN'S GUIDE TO SCANDAL AND SHIPWRECKS

From the Montague Siblings series , Vol. 3

An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage.

Adrian, the youngest of the Montague siblings, sails into tumultuous waters in search of answers about himself, the sudden death of his mother, and her mysterious, cracked spyglass.

On the summer solstice less than a year ago, Caroline Montague fell off a cliff in Aberdeen into the sea. When the Scottish hostel where she was staying sends a box of her left-behind belongings to London, Adrian—an anxious, White nobleman on the cusp of joining Parliament—discovers one of his mother’s most treasured possessions, an antique spyglass. She acquired it when she was the sole survivor of a shipwreck many years earlier. His mother always carried that spyglass with her, but on the day of her death, she had left it behind in her room. Although he never knew its full significance, Adrian is haunted by new questions and is certain the spyglass will lead him to the truth. Once again, Lee crafts an absorbing adventure with dangerous stakes, dynamic character growth, sharp social and political commentary, and a storm of emotion. Inseparable from his external search for answers about his mother, Adrian seeks a solution for himself, an end to his struggle with mental illness—a journey handled with hopeful, gentle honesty that validates the experiences of both good and bad days. Characters from the first two books play significant secondary roles, and the resolution ties up their loose ends. Humorous antics provide a well-measured balance with the heavier themes.

An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage. (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291601-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

CHAIN OF THORNS

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 3

Fiendishly romantic from start to (eventual) finish.

Belial, Prince of Hell, makes his move on London in this trilogy closer.

With 11 ensemble characters (not counting the odd Greater Demon) to juggle, Clare uses up most of her chunky page count untangling the romantic snarls of the first two volumes—plus chucking in occasional attacks by lesser demons or raving maniac Tatiana Blackthorn to give her demon-slaying Edwardian-era Nephilim something to do besides steamily tonguing one another, lengthily weltering in secret longing and self-loathing, or (at last!) explicitly consummating their ardor. The angular figures posing stiffly in Curte’s randomly scattered tableaux do little to either raise or turn down the heat of a narrative that runs to lines like: “He was about to crush his lips to Alastair’s…when a scream split the air. The scream of someone in anguished pain.” Eventually Belial does get around to launching his evil scheme to take over London and then the world despite already bleeding from two wounds previously dealt by legendary magic sword Cortana. The love matches among the tight circle of friends are notably diverse, involving couples whose various members include some who are part Indian or Persian, those who are gay or straight, and even the formerly undead. The book closes with a tidying-up epilogue and even a bonus story, “Aught but Death,” which focuses on Cordelia and Lucie.

Fiendishly romantic from start to (eventual) finish. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9781481431934

Page Count: 800

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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