This book about a ship full of fierce, brave, loyal women ready to take on any battle on the high seas, is definitely an adventure with a strong girl-power message (as promised).
Captain Caledonia Styx takes charge of the ship Mors Navis after losing her family to a corrupt and vicious warlord, Aric Athair, and his fleet of ships who he fills with ‘Bullets’, boys and men who he doses up with the drug Silt. Caledonia vows to avenge her loss, and all those of her ‘sisters’, and leads them on mission to find her two brothers, who she finds are still alive (and also now Bullets), after capturing one ‘boy’ called Orna.
The characters on the Mors Navis are tight friends and fighters, loyal to the end, and they are all written with fascinating idiosyncrasies (and names!). What is so great about this book in general is that this is a story about family, friendships, the importance of bonds and loyalty, and how that carries these self-professed sisters through such adversity together.
Parker has written the book with a lot of sailing lingo (I just read that she grew up in a Navy family), so that took a bit of getting adjusted to, but is totally necessary for it to feel authentic. It’s interesting that she has chosen to have the book read as though it’s in some sort of past, but it’s written with talk of the ‘Old World’ and there is some interesting tech, ie the electromagnetic field around the Bullet ship.
The conflict that Caledonia has within herself, that makes her so hardened, is most interesting; I struggled with it a little though, in connecting with her, but it would be appropriate since that’s how it would be in reality. Other characters are also just as fascinating, and Parker will hopefully develop these further when this adventure continues. The pacing was a bit slow in parts, but when I think about that, I think about how the crew has to actually wait as they sail on the high seas, and would spend time preparing to reach their next port or venture.
Overall, this is an exciting take on a sea adventure, and I expect the reader will end up gunning for the crew of Mors Navis like I did. And unsurprisingly, the ending has left the reader with a major cliffhanger.