Title: Daughter of the Pirate King
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Series: Daughter of the Pirate King, #1
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 28th 2016
Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Pirate King won’t awe you with its world-building, but is still an undeniably entertaining fantasy. Alosa is on a secret mission from her father to steal a map that leads to the mythical island of Isla de Canta. Feigning her own capture is only the first step. Alosa must contest with a ship full of pirates, convincing them she’s nothing more than the daughter of a pirate king instead of a skilled pirate in her own right all the while searching the Night Farer in secret. But it is the ship’s first mate Riden who gives her the most troueble. Just when she thinks she might succeed, Riden seems to catch a glimpse of who she really is beneath her facade, but she can’t risk failing no matter the cost.
Alosa is a strong character that many readers will be drawn to. Her father rules the waters and as his heir a lot is expected of her. She’s had rigorous training and constantly needs to check herself in order to conceal her skills from her captors. She’s incredibly strong-willed and while this doesn’t always work to her advantage, it’s hard not to root for her. The most interesting part about her character was her relationship with her father. While readers do not get a chance to meet the pirate king Kalligan until the end of the story, it’s clear from Alosa’s perspective that he isn’t a man to be trifled with. It becomes clearer as the story progresses that Kalligan has used destructive methods to train his daughter. Alosa herself needs to believe that her father loves her, that his methods come from a place of love, but it is clear that this is not the case. This mission is her way of proving herself to him, but it’s also about her proving to herself that she is more capable than she’s been given credit for.
Alosa isn’t the only character with father issues. Riden’s older brother Draxen has taken over captaining the Night Farer from their father. Though readers aren’t given the full story until later, it’s clear from the start that Riden didn’t agree with his father’s ruthlessness. Riden, much like Alosa with her father, needs to believe that his brother is better than their father, but his unwillingness to confront the truth often renders him ineffectual. Riden’s greatest weakness is his love for his brother, but unlike Draxen, he has a moral compass that he constantly struggles with. Alosa calls him a coward and while this isn’t an inaccurate description, I would have liked to have seen Riden call her out in turn. There was a lot of give and take between the two and while I do think it pushed Riden to confront issues with his brother, I wanted to see Alosa struggle with her own demons as well.
Much of the story is driven by the tension between Alosa and Riden. I loved the banter between the two and it was really easy to enjoy the exchanges. There’s a hate to love element underneath these conversations that made the ride more enjoyable. That being said, the plot does take a backseat as a result and sometimes feels like it disappears altogether. There are some interesting fantasy elements like the Isla de Canta that is said to house a trove of treasures, but is also the home of beautiful and deadly sirens. Sirens were the most interesting part of the worldbuilding of the story and while we learn a few things about their abilities, I was really eager to travel to this isla and learn more.
Daughter of the Pirate King is a fun fantasy if you’re looking for something more on the light side. A lot of fun can be had with Alosa’s adventure, but if you’re looking for a book with really complex characters and worldbuilding, you might want to look elsewhere.