Tag Archives: pirates

Strangers in Atlantis (Seaborne #2)

Title: Strangers in Atlantis

Author: Matt Myklush

Series: Seaborne #2

Dean Seaborne had hoped to leave the life of a pirate behind. Then he got arrested, and he’s left with the choice to hang or participate in another dirty scheme. This time, he’s tasked with robbing a castle island for nobility. But the island hides the undersea kingdom of Atlantis, a kingdom of legend . . . and secrets.

It’s pretty funny to watch other people call Dean out on his bluffs. In this case, it leads to him, Waverly, and Ronan being mislabeled “entertainers,” and therefore required to show off the skills that supposedly got them hired. So Dean told just enough of the truth that this means they’re all considered professional daredevils.

Which means Dean just volunteered himself to go swimming with sea serpents. Again.

I liked the growing tension between Dean and Waverly. They just aren’t connecting with each other anymore, and she’s pushing him away with her assumptions. I do wish Ronan had more of a role, as his best moment happens offscreen.

It’s also fun to see the depths of the mess Dean’s embroiled himself in this time. He’s got so many villains surrounding him he’s spoiled for choice, but the right answer isn’t obvious.

Overall this is a good continuation of the first book. This story would also be decent by itself, if you never got around to reading the first one. I rate this book Recommended.

Yona of the Dawn (anime)

Yona of the Dawn

Episodes 1-24

Yona is a pampered princess with a peace-loving father. She’s in love with her cousin, Su-won—but when Su-won kills her father and usurps the throne, Yona becomes a fugitive, with only a single guard, Hak, to protect her. In order to survive, she’ll need allies. So begins her quest to gather the four legendary dragon warriors.

I was hoping for something similar to the excellent 12 Kingdoms, and in that regard was disappointed. Yona is very solidly a shoujo with a dash of reverse harem, and the show focuses a lot on the string of guys she accumulates and the various semi-romantic hijinks that occur between them. That said, there’s a fair amount of action as well, and even if I didn’t like Yona, the guys tended to be a lot more interesting.

Hak, for all that he isn’t a dragon (officially, at least) can rampage just as well as any of them. He’s also in love with Yona, although his position as her servant won’t allow him to admit it (and Yona is extremely clueless). The dragons themselves are a fun lot. Each of the dragon warriors has a specific power, and generally very different relationships with that power depending on how their villages viewed it. The one major exception in the anime is the Yellow Dragon, mostly because he shows up in just the last episode, but presumably the manga digs into his character more. I like Jaeha’s power the best, and his stubborn insistence not to let dragon-blood-destiny run his life (although he ends up coming anyway, of course). Rounding out the group is Yun, whose competence with everything not fighting makes him a vital support.

(I did read the manga and once we FINALLY get Jeno/Zeno’s backstory and get to see his powers, he easily became my favorite. I like his casual, happy attitude, rumpled appearance, the moments of surprising insight or wisdom that shows he’s not an idiot, the spirit of self-sacrifice that says, “This may be all I can do, but I will do it.” He’s really not a fighter the way the other three are, and his approach to battles horrifies everyone who watches him because of how much he has to suffer to use his abilities, but he never complains, and even volunteers his own suffering to save them pain. And his powers are SO MUCH FUN. Even if, far more than the other three, his could honestly be called a curse.)

Yona, though, is almost unbearable in the beginning. I’m glad the anime beginning included a flash forward, because I don’t think I would’ve stuck around long enough to get there otherwise. Eventually she realizes the depths of her helplessness and determines to get better, but it’s a long journey to even marginal usefulness. She’s almost more of a mascot, whose job is to keep everyone else happy and willing to fight. This is starting to turn around by the end of the anime, and I can only hope the manga grows her up more.

The plot can also suffer from some bizarre moments, particularly early on. Like the snakes that show up out of nowhere, at night, and are chasing Yona and Hak through a forest. Because . . . cold blooded creatures with no legs can run as fast as two humans? Yeah. Although I ended up liking the show, especially once I read the manga and got to see some of the later ways things play out, the beginning is just hard for me to watch.

Overall whether or not you like this is going to depend on how much you like the shoujo aspects of it. It does have a good amount of action, humor, and depth of character, so there is enough to enjoy if the presence of some of the tropes doesn’t ruin it. One of the more surprising aspects, to me, is that the usurper Su-won is actually a remarkably good king—and so much better than Yona’s father that it’s arguable if it would even be a good thing for Yona and the dragons to go against him. Certainly Yona’s not ready to sit on a throne. But neither the anime nor the manga treats that question much. It’s more about Yona being able to survive in a desperate and dangerous world. I rate this series Recommended.

The Lost Prince (Seaborne #1)

Title: The Lost Prince

Author: Matt Myklusch

Dean Seaborne has spent all his thirteen years with pirates. Under the orders of One-Eyed Jack, he infiltrates ships and then rats them out to pirate crews.

This time promises to be no different. One-Eyed Jack has a pirate who isn’t paying his full dues, so Dean goes in to figure out why (and to make sure he delivers). But things go from bad to worse when Dean ends up on the legendary island of Zenhala, about to pull off the scam of his life. If he can survive long enough to collect his freedom from One-Eyed Jack.

I don’t usually go for pirate stories, but I was curious about this one since I enjoyed Matt Myklusch’s last trilogy so much. This one hits many of the same notes: an endearing main character, wild adventures, and inventive solutions for terrible problems. I also liked Dean’s unfolding realizations not only about the island but himself, culminating in his ultimate speech to One-Eyed Jack.

Dean’s situation on the island is compounded by his allies (if you can call them that). One rogue who would happily stab him in the back, one probably-trustworthy except for the fact he hates Dean. And, of course, Waverly—the first girl Dean’s ever really had a chance to see up close, and fated to be his wife (as long as he’s really the lost prince). Dean finds himself warming to the idea quickly, but she has other plans.

All in all this was a good read. I liked the kiteboards best; this is a very visual novel with some great action scenes. I rate this book Recommended.