Image © Jeremy A. Bastian.
This handsome hardcover book from Archaia does not stint for effort. From the artist’s intense and detailed drawings (in black and white) to the top quality production values and extras like deckled paper and a sewn binding, it’s a quality package. The story has some entertaining and quirky elements, but the main character did not convince me. She is eternally confident, bloodthirsty and good-humored in the face of every monstrous threat. Yet she looks like a young girl of perhaps 10 or 12 years old, and there is little credibility in her being able to thwart and defeat the huge, strong pirates and other threats she meets without any apparent effort. It’s kind of like putting a girl like that into an action movie against battle-seasoned adult fighters, and having her win without breaking a sweat.
The fantasy elements of the story are interesting, but also hard to accept at times, like a parrot that travels the oceans inside a living fish. Really? The characters other than the pirate girl are actually more convincing, and in general the book is entertaining, but the lettering is quite small, not so good for eyes my age, so that was another problem for me. I wanted to like the book more than I did. As it stands, I can only mildly recommend it.