Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Series: Seafire #1
Source: Libby (My Library app)
After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, who have lost their families and homes because of Aric and his men. The crew has one mission: stay alive, and take down Aric's armed and armored fleet.
But when Caledonia's best friend and second-in-command barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all . . . or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for?
I should take a minute to tell you how much I love pirate books. There’s not enough of them! Now I know that Captain Jack Sparrow has the corner on the market for this, but seriously!! No excuse!!
I should also preface this by saying that Seafire was not actually a pirate book. They don’t really *identify* themselves as pirates, in fact, they only use the word maybe twice and it was while referring to the enemy. But they live on the sea and make a living by stirring up trouble for their enemy. So I’m considering this a pirate book! But they probably prefer the term “sea rebels.”
“Take your ship, take your crew, and prove to that man that he has not quelled all of us. Prove that there is a fire on these seas he cannot contain.”
Seafire follows Catadonia Styx, a 19-year-old captain of a ship with a crew of fifty-four girls. She reads the sea like a book, is one hell of a fighter, but carries a guilty conscious from when her mistake killed her parents four years ago, when she was forced to take over captaining the ship after everyone else onboard was slaughtered by an enemy.
Everyone else, that is, except for her dear friend Pisces, who survived that awful night with Catadonia, stranded on a nearby beach.
“Alaric Athair killed us long ago,”
The smile she offered them held no warmth.
“We simply seek to return the favor.”
In the beginning, I’ll admit, I was worried about the similarities between this and Daughter of the Pirate King, even though Seafire was published first. But I needn’t have worried, I quite enjoyed it! Although they both feature an all-female pirate crew of colorful characters, take an enemy boy captive, and fight against the tyrannical reign of a man who has kinged himself over the whole ocean, the tone was quite different.
Not to mention, that’s basically the plot of every YA book ever, just on sea instead of on land.
Seafire featured some of my favorite tropes: hate-to-love friendships/romances, found families, and adventure! I always enjoy adventure books, but for some reason, I never gravitate towards them except by happy accident. Not to mention, this book’s romance was very light and infinitesimal. It was almost nothing, but the flutter of feelings in the background that just enhanced the story that much more.
But at its core, it was a book of sisterhood, trust, and unity. Which had me crying several times throughout the book, but I adored it! The relationship Catadonia had with her crew and the journey she had to go through to get there was humbling.
“Remember, when they call you girl, they’re trying to tell you something. They’re trying to tell you that they’re more than you, that the body you’re in makes you less. But you know, and I know, that you’re exactly what you need to be. “
My favorite part about this was Catadonia herself. I couldn’t help but compare her to Alosa from Daughter of the Pirate King, but the two really couldn’t have been more different. Alosa was brash, and the kind of confidence and swagger that hit people over the head with glaring obviousness. Which I loved!!
But Catadonia from Seafire had a steady kind of confidence that was much less aggressive, and there was definitely nothing brash about it, but she’s got a backbone and loves her snappy comebacks just as much as I do. And for every vulnerability, there was a bloodthirsty snap of anger just around the corner. Which kept me on my toes!
“Captain,” she said, “We found trouble.”
“Can we eat it?” Caledonia asked.
Redtooth’s lips spread in a devilish grin. “Sure,” she answered. “We’re the crew of the Mors Navis. We eat Bullets for breakfast.”
Seafire is exactly what’s it’s marketed: a fun adventure book with sass, friendship and regret all packaged together in an admittedly engaging story. But there was a surprising depth to this one that suspended it above the threshold of being just a “fun adventure book” into a five-star read that I’m anxious to continue onto the next book. If only I didn’t have to wait until September…
Another read you may enjoy …
Are you participating in the Book Junkie Trials this month? What’s the last book you read that took place on sea? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!