Swept up by the Sea
Fantasy and fairy tales – what’s not to like? I am a fan of fairy tale adaptations, and though this book isn’t really a retold fairy tale or classic, it has the same feel to the plot as some of Shakespeare’s works, and some of the same characteristics as stories like Aladdin or Cinderella (or The Princess Bride, though I’m not sure how many people think of that as a classic other than myself).
Percival Taylor, wannabe buccaneer and gentleman pirate, has left home (and his almost-fiance) to find his fortune in the world. The con artist Madame Zoltana convinces him he is the long, lost child of Captain Merryweather, gentleman pirate. To fulfill his destiny, he must travel the seas, find his long lost father, and win the heart of the fair Tuppence, the governor’s daughter. Of course, there are a few problems – the Madame Zoltana is, after all, a con artist, Percival already has an (almost) fiance, and he discovers fairly quickly that he gets a bit sea sick. Not to mention the djinn and naiads, ghost pirate ships, real pirates, and finding a ship for their journey in the first place. Percival certainly has his work cut out for him.
This reminded me a lot of books like Robert Asprin’s Myth Adventures series, a little like Terry Pratchett on crack. The prose is overly ornate, a parody of the genre, and had me giggling most of the time. It was, flat out, just a lot of fun. Everything is just so wonderfully ridiculous, I loved it. At one point, Percival and his fair Tuppence have, basically, a Romeo and Juliet balcony scene moment, complete with “if they find you, they will kill you” – it was brilliant.
And it makes perfect sense that Vestia (Percival’s almost-finance) pretends to be a lady pirate to get him back from Tuppence, but instead becomes captivated by Adrian Wright (the shipwright) who helps her get a ship. Everything is so complicated and convoluted that when you get to the end, it takes a moment to realize that the story, all the little threads, have been wrapped up in a wonderful, nice plot bow. All of the elements, which would easily fall into the realm of cliches, fit perfectly.
In the end, I loved this story. I want more in this universe. The characters were interesting and entertaining, the different pieces of the plot fit together, everything just worked. For me personally, it was missing a certain spark to make it a DIK – the prologue (while interesting) was a little weighed down, and parts of the journey towards Percival’s destiny dragged a bit – but overall, definitely a fun time was had by all.