Seafire (Seafire #1)
By: Natalie C. Parker
Publication Date: August 28th, 2018
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, who have lost their families and homes because of Aric and his men. The crew has one mission: stay alive, and take down Aric’s armed and armored fleet.
But when Caledonia’s best friend and second-in-command barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether 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?
Some time last year, when I first became aware that I was in something of a reading crunch, I went out and bought a large stack of books from Barnes and Noble–which have since sat on my TBR shelf, almost entirely untouched. But with the New Year, my resolution, and the recent reveal of the next book in the Seafire series, I decided that this book was a good one to get me back into the habit of reading. And, quite honestly, ‘female pirates’ sounds like the kind of thing that is never NOT an excellent read.
As the tagline promised, the first thing to grab me was the sisterhood. Especially when the Big Bad is a dictator with a fondness for male child soldiers, having a ship full of teenage girls fighting him naval battle by naval battle was GREAT. I also loved how Parker showed the cohesion of the crew, how well they worked together, from the first page. Sure, there was tension–otherwise there wouldn’t have been a plot–but I still liked how it felt that from the get-go, sisterhood was an important thing, maybe the most important thing.
And this, as I mentioned, was a great way to set up opposition to the navy full of drugged-up child soldiers that Caledonia and crew are fighting against–along with her personal beef with the Bullet that she believes got her mother’s crew caught and killed. But I did like how they did somewhat have to rethink that, when her first mate Pisces brings on a rogue soldier who claims he can help them find their brothers. Part of the book is about them making peace with the idea that they don’t have to be a girls-only, boys-are-gross-and-stinky kind of sisterhood, which I also liked. (although that being said, one boy on a ship with 50-odd teenage girls seems like a RECIPE FOR DISASTER, and I’m still not sure if there’s going to be a love polygon happening).
I also really enjoyed that this wasn’t the kind of thing that was set in the Carribbean, but instead felt…maybe post-dystopian? There were lots of references to a lost civilization and old, foraged tech, like pirate boats powered by solar power, but also references to the entire world being a series of archipelagos (kind of like maybe a cataclysmic climate event caused the seas to rise and wiped out the old civilization–only clearly they were better than our civilization of impending doom, because they actually had cool solar power things). Anyways, I enjoyed the subtle dystopia of the setting, and thought it made the book a lot more interesting than it might have been. It also added a sense of realness to the big bad–someone who seemed to have capitalized on food production in this new archipelago was then able to become an evil tyrant and subdue everyone else by force.
I guess the one negative thing I have to say is that I wasn’t terribly fond of the character of Caledonia, the MC. I didn’t DISLIKE her, per say, but she also didn’t feel terribly compelling. A lot of her internal conflict is driven by the sense that she got her mother’s crew killed, singlehandedly–which is a big chip to keep on one’s shoulder, and I did understand why she was acting the way she was acting. But at the same time, I wished she would just open up and trust someone, for chrissakes, and also I wasn’t sure why the whole issue of her non-trust hadn’t come up in the four years preceding the book. But, like I said, I didn’t necessarily dislike her. Hopefully book 2 will start with that personal conflict resolved, and I’ll have a chance to actually like Caledonia. But I actually really liked every other character, and I enjoyed the dystopian pirate feel of the book. So, that being said, I’m looking forward to Steel Tides, the next book in the series.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.