Author: Celia Rees
Published: 2003 by Scholastic
Nancy Kington, daughter of a rich merchant, suddenly orphaned when her father dies, is sent to live on her family's plantation in Jamaica. Disgusted by the treatment of the slaves and her brother's willingness to marry her off, she and one of the slaves, Minerva, run away and join a band of pirates. For both girls the pirate life is their only chance for freedom in a society where both are treated like property, rather than individuals. Together they go in search of adventure, love, and a new life that breaks all restrictions of gender, race, and position. Told through Nancy's writings, their adventures will appeal to readers across the spectrum and around the world.
”I was of a roving frame of mind, even as a child, and for years my fancy had been to set sail on one of my father’s ships.”
So, Celia Rees is a strange writer. I have read two books by her now, and while the premise, the characters, and the details (often too many, though) have been lovely, her writing itself is confusing. Her pacing, word choice, plot, character development, and endings are hard to understand and make the book weird.
This is rather hard to explain, so you should read one of her books to really understand (I read Sovay and this one). Basically, her plot starts off and you think it’s going this way and than BAM!, it changes direction and heads another way. While in most cases, plot twists or unpredictable-ness is desired in books, the way she writes it is just really confusing because it makes hardly any sense (this happened more in Sovay, and less in Pirates!).
I did enjoy the adventures of the girls, and I thought that (for the most part) she had a good sense of direction in her story, and her characters were pretty well developed. Although the romance between Nancy and William was…absent. Okay, it was there, but they didn’t spend much time together as adults, most of their time together was as kids, and then they never considered loving anyone else. Someone like me can readily accept this as adorable, but more realistic people might be annoyed by it.
Content Warnings: Mild language, attempted rape, and violence.