Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuzniar, and I am excited to be sharing my review with you all.
A massive thank you to @The_WriteReads, @thecosyreader, and @puffinbooks for allowing me to be a part of the tour, and for providing me with a physical copy of the book, in exchange for an honest review.
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.
I don’t usually read a lot of middle grade, but when I heard about The Ship of Shadows, there was no way I was turning down that opportunity! I’m a sucker for a good pirate story, and this one sounded too good to miss.
Aleja is an excellent main character, who you really grow to love throughout the book. She is strong, adventurous, and truly a great friend. She isn’t afraid of a little danger, and will put herself in harms way to help those that she cares about. I certainly think we can all relate to Aleja’s love of books, and I really loved how she would sneak in to the library to read!
The Ship of Shadows crew is an interesting mix of people, and each member had their own exciting qualities and strengths. I definitely enjoyed learning about each character, and their backgrounds. The shadows themselves were also extremely interesting, and a joy to have around.
The legend of The Ship of Shadows is so exciting, and after hearing the rumours of it towards the beginning of the story, I couldn’t wait to find out more about the ship, to discover if the rumours were true, and for the secrets to unfold.
The description of the ship is so well written, I could actually visualise it in my head, especially the library, which sounds like HEAVEN! Life on board the ship sounds so amazing, despite it being a little strenuous at times, and all of the different activities sound like they would be so much fun! I would actually love to give weapons training a go myself, and I personally think I would be quite good at it. I would love to live on board The Ship of Shadows, and I actually think I would make quite a good pirate given the chance!
The world building is done to perfection, and you can completely immerse yourself in it, not only the ship itself, but also the many places that the crew visit along their journey. It really gives you that travelling bug, and has made me want to travel the world and see as much as possible (more than I already did).
There is also a very good lesson within this story too. Aleja’s family tell her that she can’t do the things that she dreams of (mainly because she is female), but she goes out and she proves all of them wrong. You can do anything you put your mind to, and you shouldn’t let anyone or anything stand between you and your dreams, or tell you that you can’t reach them.
This book is full of magic, adventure, and is lots of fun to read. Pirate stories have always been a favourite of mine, even as a child, and the fact that The Ship of Shadows is an all female crew makes this one even better! It certainly surpassed all of my expectations. I hope that this becomes a series, because I would love to see how Aleja, and The Ship of Shadows‘ story continues. There aren’t many books that I could read over and over again, but this is one of them, and has definitely become a favourite of mine.
I give The Ship of Shadows a 5 star rating!
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.