Series: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1
Published by HarperCollins on September 10th 2013
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Pirates! Magic! Treasure! A gargoyle? Caroline Carlson's hilarious tween novel The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1: Magic Marks the Spot is perfect for fans of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events and Trenton Lee Stewart's Mysterious Benedict Society.
Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword.
There's only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.
But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.
Written with uproarious wit and an inviting storyteller tone, the first book in Caroline Carlson's quirky seafaring series is a piratical tale like no other.
Magic Marks the Spot is the first in the series of the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates. Hilary is a girl who has always wanted to be a pirate and applies to the League, only to get rejected because she is a girl. Her father will hear of none of it, so she has to escape finishing school so she can fulfill her dreams of sailing the high seas. With the help of her gargoyle and her ex-governess, she lands herself on a boat with a pirate crew, one that she had a run-in with. They may be the ones who are going around stealing magical items, but they seem much nicer than evil pirates.
Narrated by Katherine Kellgren, I could not resist getting this one on Audible. There were obvious reminders of the Bloody Jack series, going so far as having the same school name for young ladies, but I only connected it because of my love for Jacky, who is also narrated by Katherine. The gargoyle has to be one of my favorite characters, who adds a lot of humor to the story as he seems to be dragged into this adventure with some reservations. Hilary is a much more proper version of my beloved Jacky, but will all the sauciness and will power.
Possibly the most hilarious moments in the book were when the pirate handbook was referenced. I remember gafawing loudly several times when the tidbits of advice were given. I would definitely recommend this one on audiobook. I’ve talked to others who have read this one and were put off by the different formats of the letters and excerpts, saying they were hard to read. If you want a plucky, well read audiobook about pirates, Magic Marks the Spot is the book for you. I’d peg it as a more mild, middle grade version of Bloody Jack.