Monday, May 16, 2011

A Pirating we will go...

Steel by Carrie Vaughn:

Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.

The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.

Time travel, swordplay, and romance combine in an original high-seas adventure from New York Times bestseller Carrie Vaughn.

Summary provided by GoodReads.

Jill is still recovering from a devastating loss at her last fencing bout when the family vacation in the Bahamas comes around. Self-doubt has her distancing herself from the family fun in the sun, and upping her solitary walk on the beach intake. It’s during one of these walks that she finds the tip of an old rapier. Unwilling to give the tip up to a museum – who wouldn’t appreciate it as much as a fencer – she tucks in her pocket before embarking on the latest family sanctioned activity, the  boat tour. A sunny trip on the high seas quickly progresses to high waves, and over the side Jill goes.

And who should pull her from the water, but pirates. This must be a tourist thing, right?

Hauled to their ship, she is introduced to their Pirate Queen Captain, her hardened crew, a saucy cabin boy, and the fact that she’s no longer in the 21st century.  Instead she fallen back to the 1700s and smack dab in the middle of a pirate war, all thanks to that sword tip. A sword tip, it turns out, that belongs to the most evil pirate of all. Now instead of agonizing over a lost fencing bout, she’s got to learn how to duel for blood, swab the decks and stay alive until she can get home.

In Steel, Carrie Vaughn takes “live by the sword, die by the sword” and applies some teenage piratetude. Jill has only ever experienced fighting in her fencing whites and by scoring electronic points, so it’s a big shock when the sword she now holds could kill someone with one wrong swing. If anything can jerk you out of a depressing loss though, it’s fighting for your life. The captain and crew of the Diana teach her about hard work and living each day like it might be her last.

In truth, I checked this book out because, duh, PIRATES. Scurvy, wicked and pillaging they may be, pirates just hold a little piece of my heart. Besides, I was interested in what Carrie Vaughn would do with a 21st century girl, a 21st century sword-fighting girl no less, who is thrown into the reality of a pirate’s life. What I got wasn’t quite what I expected. The story gives us this pirate tale through Jill’s eyes, but the limited third person made me feel distanced from the connections the character was making. This was compounded by Jill as a very distant narrator who never commits to the life she’s fallen into since she’s just trying to get home.

As a story, Steel skims along the surface like the pirate ship Diana, but never really delves too deeply. For a summer read, this makes for a fun light read, but for someone who looking for a little more booty to their pirate stories, this one might be lacking. Just when you think it’s going to commit to the fight, it runs away.

You can purchase Steel from these fine retailers: Powells, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Your Local Indie, or you can pick it up at your local library.

Book Source: la biblioteca.

1 comment:

GT Goddess said...

My girl-pirate favorites are the Jackie Faber series by L.A. Meyer and "Pirates" by Celia Rees.