Monday, July 05, 2010

The Pirates! In An Adventure With Ahab

The Pirates! In An Adventure with Ahab. Gideon Defoe. 2005. Knopf Doubleday. 160 pages.

That one looks almost exactly like a whale!

This is not the first Pirates! novel, I believe the first book is The Pirates! An Adventure with Scientists. But it is the first that I've read. How to best describe this one? Silly, quirky, strange, funny. The Pirates! exist in a timeless world--you'll find them placed within a historically inaccurate world where all times, all peoples, all cultures, exist side-by-side. For example, in this one, you've got the Pirates putting on a Vegas show in a mad attempt to raise money to pay for their new luxurious pirate ship. But that Vegas show doesn't quite pay off as much as they like, so they end up making a bargain with Captain Ahab, a man on a mission to find the white whale that ruined his life.

Part of the quirkiness of this one--of this series--is that none of the Pirates have names. You have your Pirate Captain (which is as close as you get to a real name of sorts). Then you'll have pirates like "Pirate with a Scarf" and "Albino Pirate" and "Pirate in Green" and the like. You won't find fully fleshed characters by any means. And you won't find much of a true plot either. Instead you've got pirate-themed messages or social commentary. In this case, the "commentary" is about people trying to live beyond their means, and the burden of debt.

I think you need to be in the right mood for this one. I think silly and light. I do think it is enjoyable if the timing is right.

One of my favorite elements of the book--strange as it may seem--comes in the final pages. Where readers are told to watch for these other Pirates! titles. The list goes on for five pages! And titles include:

  • The Pirates! In an Adventure with Mondays
  • The Pirates! In an Adventure with Automatons
  • The Pirates! In an Adventure with Rita, Sue & Bob Too
  • The Pirates! Have Been Running with Scissors Again
  • The Pirates! Are Overdoing It a Bit

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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