Aleja whiles away her days in her family’s dusty tavern in Seville, dreaming of distant lands and believing in the kind of magic that she’s only ever read about in books. After all, she’s always being told that girls can’t be explorers.
But her life is changed forever when adventure comes for her in the form of a fabled vessel called the Ship of Shadows. Crewed by a band of ruthless women, with cabin walls dripping with secrets, the ship has sailed right out of a legend. And it wants Aleja.
Once on board its shadowy deck, she begins to realize that the sea holds more secrets than she ever could have imagined. The crew are desperately seeking something, and their path will take them through treacherous waters and force them to confront nightmare creatures and pitch-dark magic. It will take all of Aleja’s strength and courage to gain the trust of her fellow pirates – and discover what they are risking everything to find.
The Ship of Shadows is the kind of book you would want to place in any child’s hands. It’s full of adventure and magic, but it’s also filled with strong female characters and a reminder that women can fill roles that are traditionally depicted as male. Personally, I was never interested in the roles society assigned to women. I didn’t want to be a princess or a damsel in distress, I wanted to be a pirate or an astronaut or a knight in shining armour. Books like this are so important to break down those barriers, that sadly still exist, from a young age but also to remind older generations that no matter who you are, you can be whoever you want to be.
I loved the idea of the magic ship, and all the wondrous things that occurred because of its magic. It was such a fun idea, coupled with a lot of traditional pirate factors (rum, missing limbs, lots of cutlasses etc). There were also plenty of monsters along the way, including the fearsome kraken! This all combines together perfectly, and will no doubt set young minds alight with possibility.
Aleja was intelligent, and absolutely full of life. Her enthusiasm for adventure, whilst retaining a strong sense of family was wonderful. The rest of the crew, filled with strong, diverse women, were all special in their own ways. But of course it was cake loving Frances who really stole my heart. From the minute we first meet her, I just knew she was a new favourite.
I found the book was slightly slow paced at times, and perhaps a little too wordy. Having said that, I know this is one that others will love, and it’ll certainly capture the imagination of the audience that it’s written for. The Ship of Shadows has now set sail, and if you have a young reader, I highly recommend you hop on deck!
Thank you to the publishers for my e-arc in exchange for an honest review, and The Write Reads for the chance to join in the swashbuckling blog tour!