Goodreads Rating: 4.80
Format: ARC from BEA13
Pirates! Magic! Treasure! A gargoyle? Caroline Carlson's hilarious tween novel The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1: Magic Marks the Spot is perfect for fans of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events and Trenton Lee Stewart's Mysterious Benedict Society.
Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword.
There's only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.
But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.
Written with uproarious wit and an inviting storyteller tone, the first book in Caroline Carlson's quirky seafaring series is a piratical tale like no other.
I found this novel enjoyable to read because of its humor and its many twists and turns. Although the novel was about pirates, there were minimal sword fights and blood and gore. Over all, there were two major fights, which did not have a bloody outcome. What surprised me about the book was the lack of pirate language. As I read the novel, the 'pirate curses' were 'Blast!' or 'Curses!', but never did I encounter real pirate language. This made a novel about pirates seem more light-hearted, and fun.
I believe this book was well-written with a few complex characters to create a mysterious and confusing atmosphere. For example, when I first read about the character Miss. Grayson, I knew she wasn't your average prim and proper lady. As the story progresses, her true personality begins to surface, and it creates some suspicion about the character. I can't tell you too much about her character, however, but I can tell you she is not who she seems. Her obscure behavior made her a interesting character to read about. Miss. Pimm is the same. She is like a pop star with a double identity. Every few chapters, more and more information starts to seep out about this 'normal' lady. Again, she is not who she seems. Miss. Pimm becomes an interest later in the novel. (When something is revealed.) I was very interested to learn more about her character. The main character, Hilary, was exactly who she said she was. She was a pirate. She always considered herself a pirate; she would encourage herself to act in a way a pirate would as well. I was proud of her when she wouldn't back down from her dreams. She wanted to be a pirate and she wouldn't stop until she achieved her goal. I admired her for that.
I read this book in three days. The novel was 378 pages, but the pages flew by fast. It was a moderately difficult read, but I couldn't put the book down. Whenever I would finish a chapter and wanted to stop reading, the chapter would end in a cliff hanger. Every chapter ended this way, so eventually I had to force myself away from the book, which was nearly impossible.
I would recommend this novel to anybody who loves pirates, but does not like violence; even non-pirate lovers would enjoy the sense of adventure this novel has to offer. I would recommend this book to younger pirate lovers as well. It is not inappropriate in any way, so it is definitely geared towards a younger and more conservative group of readers. I am a fan of swordfights and Pirates of the Caribbean, but this novel was the complete opposite of those types of pirates. However, I really enjoyed this novel, even though it didn't contain my preferences. The humor and the characters really made the book interesting and a great read. I would rate this book 8.5 out of 10, and I would read it again in a heartbeat.