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Book Review: Cross Bones

Title: Cross Bones

Author: Kimberly Vale

Expected release date: 10/5/21

What's it about?

They say "Never trust a pirate" and it's not the worst advice, but is it all the best? That's debatable. But the question is impossible to NOT ask when then Blood Bell rings, announcing the Pirate King's death and as there's no known heir, the thrown now sits empty. The next step is a deadly trial, at the end of which, one pirate captain will be named the new King....or the first ever Pirate Queen.

Csilla Abado. She's strong, determined and in touch with her humanity. She's the caption on the Scarlett Maiden, the only all female pirate ship but what if those who she thinks she can trust, can't really be trusted? Will she put her faith in the wrong people or will she trust no one? She wants to wear the crown more then anything but where will she draw the line? How far will she go?

Kane Blackwater is living his life trying to prove to his dead father that he's not the black sheep of Blackwater family, and to everyone else (mostly himself) that he is the right captain for the Iron Jewel. He's a little broody, keeping his thoughts and emotions to himself with a bit of an anger issue and he's bound and determined to be crowned king.

Lorelei Penny isn't a pirate at all. She's just a girl living with her mother who seems to be going mad. She's pulled by the sea and fascinated with the pirates that everyone else seems to think dangerous and heartless, but finds herself anxious when she comes face to face with real life powers but when she finds herself with no other choice but to trust the very people everyone says you can't, will she trust the pirates or will she become another victim?

Desperate times call for desperate measures when the Bone Crown is at steak. Will Kane, Csilla and Lorelei manage to survive the trials and the other pirate captains long enough to see who gets to wear the crown in the end? Or will the die before they ever know the newest occupants of the Pirate King's throne?


Favorite Character: My first thought was that Csilla was going to be my favorite. I instantly loved her strength and humor. Then I met Lorelei. I know what some of you are thinking. One of my favorite T.V. shows is Gilmore Girls, so of course I liked the character named Lorelei! I admit, I can't hear that name without thinking of Gilmore Girls but that's not what I liked about her the most. That's not why she's my favorite. I think the initial appear was that she didn't seem to have soft edges like Csilla and Kane. I have nothing against their sharp edges, but compared with them, the softness of Lorelei was nice. But it didn't stop there. Her whole world is destroyed and she keeps going. She keeps fighting, not becuase she wants to, but because she knows she needs to and she's strong enough to do what she needs to. She wasn't taught to be cold and tough. She didn't spend her life fighting and being totally oppressed, though her mother's declining mental health didn't earn her any advantages. She witty and sarcastic and stubborn (not entirely unlike Csilla). She fights for what's right whole heartedly and unapologetically. The others tend to question more then Lorelei does.

Least Favorite Character: Rove without a doubt. He's scandalous, manipulative, dirty, cruel and heartless (not unlike a traditional pirate may be). There's really not much nice to say about him at all.

Favorite Part: I think it was in the first chapter when Csilla yells a curse at a villager. There were a lot of parts that were good or made me laugh, but I chose this one becuase that was the moment I knew that I was going to enjoy this book. And it reminded me of the end of the first Harry Potter book and the moment I decided that Harry Potter was worth the hype.

Favorite Quote: "Csilla wished it was that easy for her- to just laugh away the ache in her heart. 'Pain is necessary. If you don't know pain, you'll never know true happiness. Think of each day as a canvas fresh and new. You can't paint everyday yellow without leaving one for gray.'" (pg. 262) I loved this quote because I loved the imagery of it. It's been said many times before that we must know pain and darkness to know hippieness and light, but never quite like this. There's also this cool way of giving the illusion, at the very least, of control to it all which I can't help but love.

Any other thoughts?

When I first received this book, I thought, "Okay, so this is like if Pirates of the Caribbean and the Hunger Games had a baby." Okay. I liked Hunger Games. I didn't hate Pirates of the Caribbean. I was wrong. That's not what this is at all. The closest pirate to Jack Sparrow is hardly seen and the "trials" is a treasure hunt with unbelievably giant stakes. Few people die. There is no sadistic game coordinator, but there are deities that aren't exactly out for the best of all humanity. Those no raiding towns and raping their women. Nope. Not at all and I'm okay with that. I don't like rape.

So what is it then? Pirates is more like ethnic group. They have their own culture, their own rules to live by but it's up to the pirate to figure out how to live by those rules or break them. They have the choice to be a good person or not, just like the rest of us. Not all of the pillage or kill for fun. In fact, many of them don't. Yet, the word "pirate" has a negative connotation and people continue to be afraid of them. So, of course, they are oppressed and punished even when they've done nothing to be punished for. Yet, they aren't perfect. They all (Lorelei, Csilla and Kane) have a past they need to deal with and accept as the past. They all have something to prove, and while they often say that they are proving something so someone else, it's really them they need to prove themselves to.

Cross Bones hooked me from the very first chapter. I was sold. I was rooting for Csilla. I believed in Kane and I was absolutely on Lorelei's side. I wanted to see the trials. I wanted to win the trials and I thankful that the trials were more of an adventure then a mass murder for sadistic on lookers (Yep. I'm talking to you Suzanne Collins with your Hunger Games). It was fun, it was thrilling, it had emotion and the bouncing between three perspectives was done well. I appreciate a book that can make me cry and cheer in the same sitting!

What do I rate this book?

I give this book a


out of

10 gold pieces

But that's just me (and I usually don't chase down pirate stories). Maybe you wanted more of Rove? Or maybe you wished that Flynn's perspective was the fourth perspective we experienced the story through. What did you think? Let us know in the comments.

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