Title: Magic Marks the Spot (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1)
Author: Caroline Carolson
Narrator: Katherine Kellgren
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Acquired Via: Publisher (print) & Library (audio)
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Admiral Westfield sucked in his breath and released it in a tremendous gust. "My dear," he said, "let me be clear: You are a young lady. You will not tell silly tales and you will never be a pirate."
Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors. She particularly enjoys defying authority, and she already owns a rather pointy sword. There's only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.
Girls belong at Miss Pimm's Finishing School for Delicate Ladies, learning to waltz, faint, and curtsy. But Hilary and her dearest friend, the gargoyle, have no use for such frivolous lessons—they are pirates! (Or very nearly.)
To escape from a life of petticoats and politeness, Hilary answers a curious advertisement for a pirate crew and suddenly finds herself swept up in a seafaring adventure that may or may not involve a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a rogue governess who insists on propriety, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.
Will Hilary find the treasure in time? Will she become a true pirate after all? And what will become of the gargoyle?
I promised myself a blog hiatus, but here I am writing this review. It's an illness, I tell you - very similar to the pleurisy that has taken over my lungs and breathing. But you're here to read my thoughts about Magic Marks the Spot. I'll start off by saying that this book is unbelievably, painfully, and wickedly adorable, with my new favorite middle grade character. However, I started this book back in May, which means that it took me approximately seven months to read. I started with an eARC, but I got accosted with All The Life Things and finally had to finish with an audiobook. Let me tell you something - the audiobook is SO GOOD, that you're missing out if you read Magic Marks the Spot any other way.
Hilary Westfield is a saucy young girl who wants no part of High Society and has her heart set on piracy ever since she was a little girl. She was a great heroine, but her sidekick, the gargoyle, stole the show. He wants to be a pirate like Hilary, but he is unfortunately part of the door frame of Hilary's bedroom in the Westfield home. If Hilary had not removed the gargoyle and taken him with her to "finishing school", I would have been forced to find a way to Augusta to have the gargoyle come live with me. How can you not love a statue who dreams of being a pirate and enjoys romance novels? Oh, and he's pretty funny, too!
"This," the gargoyle announced, "is completely undignified." He spit out a strand of curly yellow hair that had detached itself from his wig. "I'd rather eat beets."I must admit that it is a LOT funnier with Katherine Kellgren reading the lines, because, hey - who can beat a British accent? (The answer to that is always "no one".) She is able to execute each of the characters fabulously, but my favorite voice was for the gargoyle, which was usually dreamy or a horrified half-whine. It was so cute, and I wish the gargoyle lived with me (and spoke in Katherine Kellgren's voice). To the point, Kellgren executed each character's voice well, with each being distinct, and I was able to tell who was talking before it was pointed out by the he said/she said business.
"I, for one, think you look radiant." Hilary smoothed the shiny green fabric around the gargoyle's torso and adjusted the seashells on his top. "You're the most beautiful mermaid I've ever seen."
The gargoyle snorted. "If anyone sees me looking like this, my name is mud back in the quarry."
- Location 1785 of 3344, eARC
The main problem that I had with the story is something that I should not have let bother me at all, as Magic Marks the Spot is a middle grade novel. There weren't a lot of twists or surprises in the novel. As an adult reader of adult books (okay, and young adult), I expected there to be intrigues and twists. There aren't, but it just makes the book that much more accessible to reluctant readers. I'm even going to attempt to get my daughter to read it, and she's as reluctant as they come.
Magic Marks the Spot is a very cute book with an amazing audio version that you should definitely check out. It'll be a adventure-filled, swashbuckling good time!
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book for reviewing purposes from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.