Demons of the Ocean: Vampirates, Book 1

Common Sense Media says

Vamp/pirate mashup is intermittently exciting.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Piracy and theft are portrayed positively, though Connor is reluctant to hurt others and take the spoils for himself.


Fighting with swords, several people are knocked out with a frying pan. A man is killed by a vampire (not described) and his body is thrown overboard.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teens and adults smoke and drink beer and rum.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is some violence here, though mild by the standards of a pirate story. Piracy and pirates are portrayed positively, and though the hero displays some reluctance, he participates in a pirate raid.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

After their father dies, twins Connor and Grace, faced with a choice between an orphanage or adoption by an odious banker, instead steal their father's sailboat and put to sea. Caught in a storm, their boat is wrecked and they are separated. Connor is picked up by a pirate ship, while Grace is rescued by a ship full of vampires. Determined to find his sister again, Connor joins the pirates, while Grace tries to avoid becoming a \"donor\" to the vampires.

Is it any good?


Combining pirates and vampires is an interesting, if peculiar, idea, and one that holds some promise. But that promise is not fulfilled here. The story is entertaining in a pleasant sort of way (perhaps not what you'd expect when you hear it's about vampires and pirates), but there's a notable lack of action, given the subject matter: one brief battle scene where the pirates grab the loot from a slower, poorly manned ship. Mostly everyone, pirates and vampires, is ... nice. Though the series is called VAMPIRATES, in this first book the vampires don't do any pirating -- they just float around in a sort of vampire cruise ship with weekly feasts. And the ending, rather than the cliffhanger you'd expect in a series opener, is rather anticlimactic.

If there's not much action, there is a lot of confusion. The book reads like something about the 18th century, but the novel is actually set some 500 years in our future. And though there's nothing futuristic other than the date, it does yield some surprising anachronisms, such as Connor responding to the offer of a cigarette with, "No, that's cool." By the end there are many unanswered questions: Why does the vampire captain protect Grace? Why does the food keep putting her to sleep if it's not drugged? How do they get the food when they don't seem to put in to shore? These questions may be answered in future volumes, but from the way the author seems to drop plot threads, it's just as likely they won't be.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the author's portrayal of pirates. Why are they portrayed as kind and caring, whereas the townspeople are cruel? Why are even the vampires portrayed more sympathetically than normal people? Why do pirates and vampires fascinate us? Is piracy acceptable if they prey only on the rich, and try not to hurt more than they have to?

Book details

Author:Justin Somper
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:October 7, 2006
Number of pages:330
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Read aloud:9
Read alone:10

This review of Demons of the Ocean: Vampirates, Book 1 was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Read books 1 and 2!...

I must say I love this series and all I would talk all about it.I think it is a great book, but some scenes of violence are graphic.But the way the crew of the diablo and connor work together shows, well teamwork and I know that counts for something!Well peace out!
Parent of a 11 and 15 year old Written byresar September 25, 2009

Quirky Story with a lot of familiar tropes stuck in

This strange mash up reads part classic adventure tale like "Shipwrecked" or "Treasure Island" and part modern vampire tale-- the kind where the vampires, though scary blood suckers, are really aren't that scary and are sort of nice, after all. The plot suffers from a bit of overloading. We have special orphans, global warming, vampire secrets and pirate politics all jammed into one not overly long story. It's a dreamy read though, and my 11 year old daughter was dying to know what happened next through the entire thing. Until Vampirates, she hadn't had a book that engaged her attention so fully. For that reason alone the book will remain dear to me despite its faults. :)
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


I loved this book when I read it not much violence and is a great story. the beggining was a littel fast but it slows down towards the end you'll love it!


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