5th March 2021, UCLan Publishing, 312 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Book summary from UCLan Publishing
The year is 2512. The oceans have risen. A new dawn of piracy has begun.
Following the sudden death of their father, twins Grace and Connor Tempest hastily depart the suffocating small town of Crescent Moon Bay in their dad’s old sailing boat. Caught in a vicious storm, they are shipwrecked and separated in the cold, cruel ocean.
Connor is saved by Cheng Li, Deputy Captain of The Diablo – the notorious pirate ship, captained by flamboyant rule-breaker and pirate royalty, Molucco Wrathe.
Grace, meanwhile, is taken by handsome Midshipman Lorcan Furey, onto a mysterious ship with no name, a blood-red deck and an enigmatic, seemingly absent, Captain.
In a world of danger and secrets, will the twins ever be reunited?
It's an absolute pleasure to be part of this book tour for the revamped version of the Vampirates series by Justin Somper. I reviewed this first book in the series all the way back in 2009 which can be found on my blog here, although the first publication was 2005. Pun was intended. There is new content which Justin explains in the guest video below this review. The book may have a sleek new look which is far less scarier than the original cover (I do not like skulls),
but the sense of adventure and excitement of rereading this first installment remained as wonderful as the first read. Even though I knew exactly what was going to happen to Grace and Connor - surprisingly I remembered quite a lot of the details - I had more excitement butterflies in my stomach when coming to my favourite part when Grace is rescued and when she eventually reunites with Connor.
Both the twins grow emotionally through the course of the book and indeed the series, but my favourite is undoubtedly Grace. She doesn't know how much danger she is constantly in, especially with Sidorio. Her spunk and curiosity may lead her to trouble, but it's the only way she gets answer because both the captain and Lorcan keep secrets from her. To be frank it's understandable because the truth is terrifying, but I love that she doesn't become a donor and does have special privileges on the ship, even if not all respect those privileges. Not all that I remembered is in the first book (I did read the entire series all those years ago), but it is an exciting start to Grace and Connor's adventures. The pain of their separation lifts of the page, they learn to both grieve and have hope to see each other again. I can't quite remember her name but my other favourite character is the Vampirate ship's figurehead, who lets Grace enjoy fashionable clothes at an unsettling time in the tale.
I liked how Connor is thrown into a harsh life but one which he ends up enjoying, whereas Grace lives in luxury which can't entirely mask the terror of exactly where she is. Their individual experiences shape them and will go on to affect their decisions in later books. The fact that some of the vampirates have an honour code in terms of how they get their blood is intriguing: it sets them apart from the purely blood thirsty ones who don't care about the feelings and lives of their human victims. Celebrating and minimising the amount of damage to those who donate blood to the vampirates adds a unique spin on the vampire concept, and makes the traitors even more frightening with their lack of moral code.
There is a fine balance of action, adventure, with well placed moments of pure terror and the start of a romance that will be present in the other books. The truth about the twins' past is not revealed in book one, nor is the path their lives will take set in stone, but it's an adventure you will want on your bookshelf be it physical or electronic.
You can find Justin on social media including Twitter.
Be sure to check out the Vampirates official website!
Video guest post from Justin Somper
Justin kindy created a video talking about villains for today's stop on the tour! Yes I did totally have a fangirl moment when watching this for the first time. This series is epic and I really love it! I'm definitely more into heroes than villains, but I can understand why Justin loves his villains. Enjoy and please do check out other stops on the tour!