Book: Pirates!

Pirates! by Celia ReesPirates!
Celia Rees
2003

This is a really interesting novel set in the 1700s and told by a girl who grows up as a sugar plantation heiress and ends up a pirate. Believe it or not, the story is very well fleshed out and makes a lot of sense. The characters are extremely real and you can’t help but have strong reactions to them. At no point did I want to be in Nancy’s shoes, but her story had me fascinated from beginning to end. One of the nicest things about this book was that it didn’t soften anything. Slavery, piracy and the consequences thereof were all out there without any sugar coating. It made the book dark, but without that darkness and realism the story wouldn’t have worked. I wouldn’t have believed that piracy was a good idea for Nancy if the darkness of life on the plantation and the accepted evil of her intended husband had not been very realistic. Nor would I have believed the rest of the book if the piracy had been dangerous and extremely unusual for a woman.

The writing was excellent. Every character had a distinct voice. One of the best elements of the story was that Nancy is telling it herself with the benefit of hindsight and the book never forgets that. There are places when we know something is going to go wrong because Nancy comments that if she had known what would happen she wouldn’t have done something. This is unusual in novels like this because the author usually wants big dramatic things to come as a surprise, but it worked really well in this book to enhance the realism and keep the fact that Nancy survives each incident in view. The tactile and emotionally charged descriptions that popped up often in the book also maintained the feeling of the story being told by a real person who experienced these things.

I was wonderfully impressed with this book, and particularly fascinated by the ending. It is so nice to read a book that keeps me thinking past the last page. It left me wanting more, but not wanting a sequel, if that makes sense. I was impressed enough with Rees’ writing that I intend to pick up some of her other books as well.

This is a great book, even if you aren’t a big fan of pirates, and I highly recommend it! It starts a little slow, but after a while you can’t put it down and the pay off makes everything worth it!

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