Good morning, book lovers! Prepare to go on a swashbuckling adventure with SEAFIRE by Natalie C. Parker, out TODAY! That’s right, you can go to your favorite bookstore or snag a copy online and start reading!
I’ve had a chance to read this one early and, as part of the blog tour organized by Penguin Teen, am sharing my thoughts on SEAFIRE today! Keep scrolling for info on the book and my review!
by Natalie C. Parker
Series: Seafire #1
Published on August 28, 2018 by Razorbill
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, whose lives have been turned upside down by Aric and his men. The crew has one misson: stay alive, and take down Aric's armed and armored fleet.
But when Caledonia's best friend and second-in-command just barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether or not to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all...or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for?
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Oh Seafire. All of these pirate-y YA fantasies are giving me life but while some are home runs, others fell a bit flat. I feel like half of me loved this book to death and couldn’t put it down, while the other half struggled to push through it.
Pirate. Adventures. Or perhaps “swashbuckling” is a better term because Caladonia and her crew are more rebels than pirates. . . It’s a fine line. Most of the book is spent going on one adventure or another in an attempt to stick it to the man, Aric Athair, who has claimed the seas for his own. And with an entirely female crew, I expected there to be some fierce characters kicking butt and taking names.
Instead, I felt like most of the interactions between Caladonia, the captain of the Mors Navis, and her crew ended up as arguments rather than rallying together. And it all fell on Cala. Honestly, I didn’t like her as a protagonist. She spent the entire book either feeling guilty over something that happened 4 years before that she blamed herself for, or being bull-headed and refusing to listen to what her crew said. Almost every fight between characters came down to Cala being stubborn and ignoring what was said to her.
It wasn’t even that I found Cala unlikable, because not every character needs to be liked, but that I didn’t want to read her story. If anyone, I wanted more about Red, one of the crew. Or Hime. They stood out as having more to their backstory and I found them the most interesting. The rest of the characters, including Caladonia and her second-in-command, Pisces, fell into the background.
ESPECIALLY when the romance came in. First, there didn’t need to be a romance. It came on last minute and there was no build up to make it remotely believable. Second, this is an entirely female crew and you’re telling me that you couldn’t add in a F/F romance? I see people calling for it and this book had the perfect set-up but instead gave a lukewarm romance that had no strong plot backing. The book didn’t need it and it took away from the story.
But I did still enjoy this book. There were plenty of great action scenes and I loved seeing the crew take down the enemy Bullets with intelligence and strategy as well as physical strength. I don’t always see that balance in fantasy heroines, where the authors cast the women as either damsels or brawny and kick-butt with little in between.
Also the world? So I’m calling this a fantasy but it reads almost like a alternate futuristic world with solar powered ships and radios, but also feeling archaic with the ships (more of that pirate-y vibe). I liked the contrast because it made it memorable. It reminded me a bit of The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie (which does feature a F/F romance and pirates for anyone interested).
So. Ultimate consensus on Seafire? Loved the world, appreciated the almost entirely female cast of characters and all the swashbuckling adventuretime across the sea. But it lost me with a protagonist that I didn’t care about and a last-minute romance that threw the whole thing off.