Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Pirate's Lady by Julia Knight

The Pirate's Lady (2012)
Julia Knight
Grade: C++
Genre: ship, historical romance
Sex scenes: almost non-existant
Source: NetGalley

The brilliant, uncatchable Van Gast only wants one thing: Joshing Josie. He loves her with every fibre of his being and almost had her, but fate intervened and he’s been chasing her ever since. When Josie comes to save him during a twist and propositions him with a challenge that he can’t resist, Van Gast finds himself doing the chasing once again, hoping to catch the biggest prize of his life …

In Estovan, there are ten thousand gold sharks on Van Gast’s head and looking for a crew isn’t going to be easy when potential crewmates could make so much more simply by turning him in. He leaves it to his friend Holden to put together a crew that are lured more by the chance to work with the infamous Van Gast than the thought of all that money, while he tries to catch up with Josie long enough to discover what on earth she’s planning.

This is going to be a twist like no other twist that Van Gast has ever taken part in before, partly because he doesn’t know the complete details of the twist itself. It seems that Josie is keeping most of the information close to her heart and only letting Van Gast know what is necessary, even when it means that he has to get caught as part of her grand plan …

I was so unbelievably confused by this book, but managed to muddle through. I had no idea that this was the second book in the series, but once you start reading, there’s no way that you can miss it. A good author would have gently introduced a new reader into the lingo, characters, way of life and background so that skipping over book one wouldn’t have been too much of a tragedy, and this is where Ms Knight definitely lacked. In this case, missing out book one could be your downfall and I can imagine that many readers who don’t know that this is part of a series would put the book down very early on just because it is so difficult to try and catch on and keep up. So if you want to read The Pirate’s Lady, then get your hands on Ten Ruby Trick first and tell me how you get on.

Ms Knight wrote Van Gast well and I could believe that he was a genuine pirate or ‘rack’, as they are called. He has an energy and enthusiasm for life that you don’t see in many characters and you can easily get caught up and pulled along with the sheer ferocity of his love for life before you know it. I would have liked more background (i.e. linking with book one) about Van Gast so that we can form a more emotional connection with him, but Ms Knight did a good job.

Van Gast's relationship with Josie was really quite exciting to read. They'd been together, but then they weren't and there was a brief something with Holden that no one is quite sure whether the other is over yet - it sounds a lot more complicated than I think it actually is and the complication just makes for a juicier read. Van Gast and Josie are clearly devoted to each other and while Van Gast is much more willing to show his true feelings, Josie is much more reserved and this is all the more obvious because the book is told mostly through Van Gast's POV. The following is, I think, my favourite line in the whole novel which also sums up the gist of the book:
"Joshing Josie, supposedly his bitterest rival, his dearest enemy, and instead the one who got away. The one he'd never stopped chasing, never stopped loving. The stupid-but-exciting thing, the never-quite-in-his-grasp thing, and that was never truer than now."
I was just as confused about the twist as Van Gast was. Firstly, I had to get my head around the language, which reminded me of why I don’t particularly like to read fantasy/PNR/alternate-world novels unless the author introduces the reader into the world that he or she has created, well. It didn’t happen here which only made for difficult reading, but the twist itself was confusing because we also had a considerable number of scenes from the baddie’s perspective. It was hard to distinguish between what each character knew about the other and when you added in the complexity of the twist, it’s just too much mire to wade through in this review.

There’s just something about this book that kept me coming back for more. It’s only two-hundred odd pages, but I thought the chapters were long and found myself reading in fits and spurts where I could fit in the time. Ms Knight doesn’t particularly excel anywhere, but a combination of the lively Van Gast, on-off relationship with Josie and mystery of the plot reeled me in and against my expectations, I loved it.

It was an interesting story, but as I've already mentioned, if you're not a fan of reading series out-of-order (as I'm not) then make sure you read Ten Ruby Trick first. It'll (hopefully) make The Pirate's Lady make much more sense and you won't have to spend as much time getting your head around the lingo and the way that this world works. I had originally given this book a 'C+/B-' grade as I just couldn't decide which boundary this book falls into, but a fair bit of deliberation later, I've done something I've never done before and given this book a C++ because although it falls a tad short of a B-, it's more than a C+. This opens a huge new world of possibilities that I'm sure I'll come to regret in the future ...

Image courtesy of NetGalley

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