The Ship of Shadows
By Maria Kuzniar
Rated: 4 stars ****
The Ship of Shadows is a mysterious vessel. Travel with Aleja from her imagination to the library to actually being on a ship, just like she always wanted. This is a great book, especially for tweens to go on an exhibition of the high seas, where not all is always as it seems. There’s a Kraken and some pirate magic about.
Thanks to The Write Reads group for inviting me to review and to Puffin Books and Maria Kuzniar for supplying a print copy of what really is a beautiful book. The cover is incredibly eye-catching.
Discover the blurb and review below.
About the Author
Maria Kuzniar spent six years living in Spain, teaching English and travelling the world, which inspired her debut novel The Ship of Shadows. Now she lives in Nottingham with her husband, where she reads and writes as much as she can and bookstagrams at @cosyreads. She is always planning her next adventure.
Aleja whiles away her days in her family’s dusty tavern in Seville, dreaming of distant lands and believing in the kind of magic that she’s only ever read about in books. After all, she’s always being told that girls can’t be explorers.
But her life is changed forever when adventure comes for her in the form of a fabled vessel called The Ship of Shadows. Crewed by a band of ruthless women, with cabin walls dripping with secrets, the ship has sailed right out of a legend. And it wants Aleja.
Once on board its shadowy deck, she begins to realize that the sea holds more secrets than she ever could have imagined. The crew are desperately seeking something, and their path will take them through treacherous waters and force them to confront nightmare creatures and pitch-dark magic. It will take all of Aleja’s strength and courage to gain the trust of her fellow pirates – and discover what they are risking everything to find.
The stunning cover is enough to feed anyone’s curiosity into picking it up. The content is enough to want anyone to want to sail away with it on a voyage. Where to? You can see on the map provided within it.
Aleja has an insatiable appetite for adventure, with an admiration for explorer – Thomas James. She has siblings – Miguel and Pablo. Where they liked doing the average things such as baking; Aleja dreamed of ships and pirates. It sounds exciting from the start.
She wishes to follow in the footsteps of intrepid explorers and sets off to investigate many books and comes to the absurd belief that girls can’t be explorers or pirates. I’m glad she ignores this momentary belief and starts to think of cozy libraries and ships; where she studies more about Thomas James and ‘The Most Dangerous Pirates Who Sailed the Seven Seas’. The ship, belonging to Thomas James is The Ship of Shadows. Cleverly, the author has written some passages of what Aleja is reading. It adds to the intrigue of it all. In someways its also championing reading books, as well as giving an insight into what is inspiring Aleja. The book also joins the raft of books over the years that gives their characters courage and independent minds.
Aleja gets her adventure as she joins the mysterious ship, full of women and meets Captain Quint on-board as they head out to sea and discovers an encrypted book, which she begins to work out what it could be from another book she has read. The Ship of Shadows seems to be, to show that girls too can be explorers, which can be encouraging to those who don’t think they can be, as it seeks to dispel that. It is also quite a swashbuckling adventure that would certainly feed into many imaginations. I think however, the book is suited for both boys and girls as boys too can enjoy the exploration of different places and creatures on the high seas.
It also shows that reading is key to knowledge that you never know can come useful.
The Ship of Shadows also holds secrets and perhaps even a curse!
The scenes with the Kraken add excitement and are superbly written, as trepidation is upped as it stretches out its tentacles and a posed threat from Francois Levasseur who wants to find the elusive Ship of Shadows.
Overall it’s a very good adventure that will feed curious minds and it’s nice to see books of such adventure around. It certainly brings another element back to reading genres, which I view as being welcome in expanding choice.