Author: Bev Stout
Release Date: December 4, 2013
Publisher: Bev Stout (thank you!)
Description: 488 pages, Young Adult Historical Fiction
Blamed for her uncle’s death, fifteen-year-old Annie is on the run. Knowing the perils she will face on the streets of eighteenth century London, she disguises herself as a boy. Her life on the streets is cut short when she becomes Captain Hawke’s cabin boy.
Not only must Annie work alongside the Realm’s motley crew of outcasts and gentlemen, she must also keep her superstitious shipmates from discovering she is a girl.
Annie vows she will never leave the Realm, where dreams are chased, shattered lives can mend, and secrets are stowed like keepsakes in an old desk drawer. But when her past catches up with her, can she return to the Realm? More importantly, will she have a choice?
Despite having taken me roughly five months to clinch a discursive review on this novel, it was by no means due to the fact that I was wholly disinterested (it was a matter of time, and you knew that). If truth be told, Annie’s adventures on board The Realm was extensively piquant and engrossing, and her shipmates themselves were none less appealing, though the plot itself could have used more of an embellishment, and everything did progress much too quick for my taste. However, I found it quite intriguing that I was never altogether assured of which crew member to hold in trust and certitude, such that it made every encounter whimsical and incalculable, and it was always a blast to read on about their adventures onboard, their encounters with pirates, their crazy antics and individual quirks.
As a matter of fact, the only real thing that bothered me was my own bewilderment regarding seafaring matters, which meant that to me, most of the nautical terms were nothing short of unfamiliar, and even then none of them were given friendly explanations. Furthermore, other scenes were rather awkward and peculiar, still others considerably flabbergasting, though I attributed this to the fact that most of the sailors were uneducated, naturally churlish, and accustomed to filth, which meant that I was the problem because to be honest, I’m somewhat prissy (confession bear).
So of course, this didn’t stop me from delighting in the book overall. Never was there a vapid, dreary moment at any time during Annie’s stay aboard The Realm, and despite the fact that her preferences were thoroughly averse to mine, I found myself in complete assimilation of her thought processes somewhere along the way. And though I couldn’t seem to find an absolute emotional attachment to her character, she could never really bear a grudge against the world for an extended period of time, which was refreshing to see in a teenage girl with rebellious tendencies. Suffice it to say that I embraced her personality.
The rest of the characters were painted colorfully, each with a unique dynamism that made set them apart from the rest. Ambrose Barrette would have to be my favorite, however, because apart from being apparent eye candy, he remained thoughtful and kept an open mind, and had a great sense of humor to boot. The rest of the men aboard the ship weren’t half as charismatic in my opinion, with the exception of Christopher, though of course the mystery that enshrouded most of them made it easy for me to eagerly turn each successive page in anticipation.
And though most of the predicaments were met with cursory solutions, which of course cut the foresight short, I was pleased to note that most of the twists were largely unprecedented. And despite the fact that the ending didn’t exactly cater to my fancies, I’m quite sure that it would have been appreciated by many others, heart and soul. Believe me, this book deserves so much more attention than it’s getting.
So if you’re interested in adventures across the sea in 18th century London (though I’m pretty sure they strayed far from English territories across the seas) then this page-turner of a novel is sure to captivate you, just as much, or even more than it did me (which should impress you because this has never really been my thing).
P.S. To the author, Bev Stout (if you get to read this), my apologies for having taken this long to put the review up. I explained myself before, and the same reasons apply here. But here it is, nevertheless!
P.P.S. I’m embracing a new format for the new year, because I wanted to create a better basis for my ratings, and consequently provide a more comprehensive review. I hope you like it!
So what do you think of this book? If you haven’t read it, will you? Sound off in the comments below!