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The Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuzniar

Written by Maria Kuzniar, Cover by Karl James Mountford, Publishing July 2020 by Puffin Books

This incredible adventure has everything! A crew of fierce female pirates, treasure to be found, magic and a journey to a lost city. Myths, legends, hopes, dreams, family and friendship and finally feeling as though you belong. I want to belong to the family on The Ship of Shadows.

The beginning of the story is every book lovers dream- a young girl, avid reader and lover of libraries. Aleja lives for her books and holds a huge amount of knowledge inside, not just ways to escape her room or the library but languages and legends, history and explorers. She is desperate to explore the world, but girls are not encouraged to explore. However, the arrival of a mysterious ship in Seville’s harbour, an accusation of theft and a daring escape over the homes of the city give Aleja the opportunity she has been dreaming of.

Welcome Aboard The Ship of Shadows! Not all is as it seems and the pirates life is hard work and at times dangerous. Spending hours in weapons training, attempting to crack codes from history and sleuthing around this magical ship keep Aleja from missing her family too much. Aleja has much to prove of herself to Captain Quint, especially if she wants secrets to be shared with her.

The Ship of Shadows holds magic within, and secret rooms reveal themselves, jungles live in cabins and shadows of past pirates roam free. Aleja, friend Frances and other crew members work together to fight kraken, plunder treasure and traverse the desert in search for a piece of map. Legend has it that when the map is put back together, all the treasure in the world will be revealed. On their trail is a shadow catcher, Francois Levasseur, and he means to kill the Captain and crew for past battles lost.

The crew all have their talents and are specifically chosen by the Captain. Frances is an skilled thief, Malika is the weapons master, Aada is the navigator, Griete an expert at mechanics. All work together in harmony and there is space for Aleja as a languages expert but she must ultimately make the hardest decision of her life. Does she stay on The Ship of Shadows and travel the world, adventuring and exploring, living her dream or does she travel back to Spain to be reunited with her family?

And that is where I leave you…wondering what choice Aleja makes!

This swash buckling adventure will leave you breathless, craving an adventure of your own. From the glorious cover by Karl James Mountford, through the adventure and to the ulitmate choice, you will not be able to part from this book. I predict big things for this book and can only hope we meet Aleja again.