A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
Talk to your kids 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?