Six Impossible Things

A Blog About Fiction and Reading

Pirate Curse

PirateThe Wave Walkers: Pirate Curse by Kai Meyer

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Last year, I was delighted to discover Kai Meyer through The Water Mirror, a fantastical look at Venice, Italy though the eyes of a young woman who owned a mirror with a surface of water, who also had a blind friend given sight through shards of a mirror.  He captured a sense of wonderment and excitement that I hadn’t read in a children’s book in a long time (including the Harry Potter series), and added a level of myth and fable to the entire story.  Now that I think about it, the book gave me the same sense that a Neil Gaiman book provides, so it’s no surprise that I liked it as much as I did.

The Pirate Curse is by the same author, but is the start of a different series.  This time, the author focuses on Jolly, a polliwog who was part of a pirate’s crew.  A polliwog is a person who can walk on water, and they are valuable to many people, pirates not excluded.  Once the ship is sunk, and the pirate crew defeated, Jolly escapes to a nearby island, where she meets a young boy and a mysterious trader friend of his.  Thus begins the story of Jolly and her friend, as they travel across the Caribbean and straight into fantastical adventures.

This book didn’t grab me quite like The Water Mirror did.  It has a magical sensibility about it, but it didn’t quite have the same atmosphere that the previous book had.  Nearly everything in Venice was steeped in magic and mysticism, and it was accepted as something normal and mundane.  In the Caribbean, though, the magic is a result of two worlds colliding together, and it’s more something to be feared and avoided, rather than part and parcel of the everyday.  As a result, I felt less engaged with the story, even though I raced through it.

Meyer is a fine writer, and has a great way of telling a story, but The Pirate Curse had fewer memorable passages than The Water Mirror had.  The prose was more firmly grounded, which would be fine under any normal circumstances, but after reading some of the poetic descriptions from The Water Mirror, I was expecting more along those lines.  So, I was a bit disappointed.

The funny thing is, this is a good book, and one that will likely appeal to young readers.  It’s about pirates, which is always good (it draws in the boys), and it has a strong female lead character (which draws in the girls), and it has magic (good for both the boys and the girls).  I also see some parallels to The Lord of the Rings, but to tell any more about that would be to spoil part of the novel.  The book has potential, no doubt, but for those who started reading Meyer with The Water Mirror, I think they’re going to be disappointed.

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January 30, 2007 - Posted by | Juvenile Fiction, Reviews

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