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“My mother, sir, was a Queen of the Seas. She was a Pirate Empress, with a fleet of twenty ships.” Art – Piratica
by Tanith Lee
AR Test, Strong Female Character
Art attends a school for proper young ladies. That is, until she bumps her head and remembers her long-forgotten past. Her mother was Piratica, a pirate queen, and Art grew up on her mother’s pirate ship. Art lost her memory not in a mundane accident, but from an exploding pirate ship that claimed her mother’s life! Now that she remembers where she came from, Art quickly takes on her mother’s mantel and runs away to find her mom’s old pirate crew.
Felix was already down on his luck when an unfortunate run-in with Art leaves people thinking he is a famous highway robber. Unable to convince the law that he is innocent, Felix is forced to flee for his life. He ends up on Art’s pirate ship, where he is courteously imprisoned. The pirates promise he will be put ashore when they are far enough from London that he cannot turn the pirates into the law. However, as their adventures continue, Felix finds his utter distaste for pirates warring with a growing admiration for Art’s fearlessness.
Piratica honors bravery, loyalty, and a bit of pirate flair. Art is an inspiring character, who is not immune to doubt, but she is unwilling to let it slow her down for a moment. Determined to will her dream of becoming a pirate into reality, her pirate crew cannot help but be swept along by her vision. With a delightful cast of well-developed supporting characters, every scene carries readers along this swashbuckling tale.
Full of fun, adventure, and a healthy helping of piratical ridiculousness, Piratica is a must-read for anyone who loves adventure, pirates, or strong female characters. The silliness is over-the-top, yet remains believable and thoroughly enjoyable. With plenty of action but not much gore, this is an excellent story for readers looking for more exciting adventures who aren’t mature enough for adult content.
- A girl kisses Felix as he escapes from a fight. “She kissed Felix so forcefully it knocked him into the chute.”
- When the pirates reach Africay, “Slender black locals . . . offered them wives. . . Even Art was offered a wife.”
- When one of Art’s pirates slanders her, she slaps him. He “raised his fist . . . but Art had ducked Black Knack’s blow with the perfect weaving motion of the trained fighter. Swimming back, she punched him instead with a sharp thwack on the point of his shaveless jaw. Black Knack’s eyes rolled up. He keeled straight over.”
- A fight breaks out in a bar. “Cutlasses sparkled and fists flailed. Flying bottles and cuts filled the air . . . Art avoided a descending beer mug and shoved off a fighter who had got carried away and was trying to brain her with a chair.”
- Art and her pirates capture a ship. When the captain tries to fight, “Art kicked him hard in the leg, and he went to one knee. Behind her at once she heard a scuffle, two or three cries, a series of thuds.”
- Art and her pirates defend themselves when another ship tries to board them. “She fired. The bullet whizzed, unseen, over the sea between the two ships . . . The bullet struck, as Art had meant it to, a smoke-wreathed barrel of gunpowder left on the forecastle. Which blew up like a firework of pink and primrose.” The fight is described over three pages.
- A pirate shoots Black Knack. “Then Goldie fired. Fire flash. The silliest sound—like a huge twig snapping. Black Knack seemed to jump—that was all—to jump forward—forward—The jump took him right past the hatch . . . it threw him instead to the lip of the cliff. And over.”
- Art and Goldie duel. “As she sprang, Art saw Mr. Beast rearing, cutlass and pistol in the way, and landed a fist of ringed knuckles at the base of his nose . . . one of those little knives came zipping out, straight for Art’s throat. Art dodged . . . the knife cut her thinly along the right cheekbone. But Goldie, they now all saw, was bleeding at the temple where the hair had been sliced away.” The fight is described over five pages.
Drugs and Alcohol
- When running away, Art sees the gate porter “drinking hot gin. He never noticed her, and minutes later she was over the wall.”
- When a highwaywoman comes to a tavern, the owner says “I’ll take a look at your loot, dear, and we’ll drink some gin.” The highwaywoman responds that she wants sherry because “You know I can’t stand the gin.”
- Art and her crew visit a tavern with “tall tots of rum and liqueurs.”
- After a victory, Art’s pirate crew “downed everything—rum, wine, the brandies of Africay, the home-brewed lemon ciders, coffee in which a knife could have stood upright.”
- For their last meal, Art receives “a bottle of wine.”
- God is used as an exclamation twice. Art’s dad says, “By God, what’s this?” Another time, Felix says “Oh, God.”
- Devil is used as part of exclamations. Art’s father exclaims, “Why the devil are you smiling?” A man says, “If a woman did such a thing—she was the devil itself.”
- Funny exclamations are used often. A few examples include “Cat’s Wallopers,” “Goat’s Gizzards,” “Caterwauling Stars,” “Dastardly Custard,” “by the Sacred Pig of Eira,” and “By the Yak!”
- Variations of damn are used several times. A man says, “You’re damnably late, sir.” Another man says, “Get your act together, and we’ll be off, dammit innit.”
- Hell is used as an exclamation several times such as “Hell’s Porcupines,” “By the Blast of Hell,” and “Hell’s Kettles!” Also, a pirate calls Art “a hell of a captain”, and once Art asks, “What the hell could that be?”
- Poo is used twice. A man says, “And poo to you, too!” Another man says, “Poo to you, sir!”
- A man calls someone a “pompous asp.”
- When going into a pitch-black cave, Black Knack tells Ebad, who is black, “Don’t you go in, Ebad. We’ll lose you.” Durk turns and slaps Black Knack in response.
- Bitch is used twice. Goldie tells her pirates, “You lazy pigs—come here and help me finish this bitch.”
- A man exclaims, “By the Lord’s Armchair.”
- One of Art’s pirates says, “I wish to God Molly were here.”
- A pirate cries, “Fill ‘em full of lead, by the Lord’s Armchair” and another says, “by the sacred Blue of Heaven.”
- Ebad says, “It’s Molly. By the Lord God. Our Molly Faith.”
- The pirate Black Knack tells Art, “You’re no girl. You’re a demon. But—a hell of a captain, I’ll give ye that.”
- Before supper, a pirate says, “Thank you, God, for the gift of greed.”
- Art finds a message left by pirates. It reads, “We are the Pirate Kind. We live by blood and murder. We end our days on a rope, or under the pitiless acres of the Sea. After which, we are told, we must suffer forever in the Kingdom of Hell, for our Sins.”
by Morgan Lynn