Hey, hey friends! I’m so excited to be back for another @WriteReads blog tour for The Ship of Shadows. This was such a fun and fast-paced read and I’m so glad this was put on my radar because of this tour 😍 Be sure to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour over here.
Super big thanks to Dave for organising these tours and to NetGalley and Puffin Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! Let’s get to it…
Goodreads: The Ship of Shadows
Publisher: Puffin Books
Published: 16 July 2020
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
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
Buy a copy: Amazon
This is the book that I wish was written when I was a young middle schooler! A crew of all-female pirates and swash-buckling adventures full of Kraken, pirate hunters and hidden treasure?! Yes, please! I’m so glad that this book was brought to my attention because it was such a joy to read! Although I admit that I did have to suspend my disbelief a few times, I know that I’m not the intended audience for this book, and I have no doubt that this story will bring so much joy to many readers.
First of all, major cover appreciation because it is absolutely stunning! I love the little details and I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy because I could probably start this cover all day. I also love the chapter illustrations, which are honestly always such a bonus and one of my favourite things about the MG fantasies that have them!
Aleja was a wonderful character. She’s smart with a mind that was always curious and eager to consume more knowledge and stories, and she’s also full of mischief. I loved her love for her family, although I wish we got to see more of her interactions with them–but she also finds a “new” family with the shipmates aboard the Ship of Shadows. The ship itself was amazing and Kuzniar’s writing brought the magic that fuels it to life–there were so many moments I felt like I was there experiencing the wonder of it with Aleja! While I loved the magic of the ship (so very cool!), the adventure, and treasure hunting, my favourite aspect of this story were the friendships. Kuzniar wrote strong, female friendships full of love, mutual respect and unconditional support and I was here for it!
These types of honest, wholesome and strong friendships are what I love most about MG fiction! There were very strong found family vibes too and it was just so very heartwarming. All of the ship’s crew members were also very likeable and I really appreciated the diversity and inclusiveness of the characters. My favourite character was Frances with her love for food and magical stories! I could fully relate to her LOL there’s a lot of mystery that follows everyone on board and I hope that we get the chance to learn more about them in the future, which will also obviously mean more Ship of Shadows adventures (YAY)!
Overall, such a wonderfully written, magical and fast-paced adventure story that I happily sped through. I do wish that the ending wasn’t so abrupt but it does have me looking forward to future stories even more now! Surprised to know this is a Kuzniar’s debut so I’m very keen to read more by her 🙂
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.
Have you read The Ship of Shadows or is it on your TBR?