Aleja whiles away her days in her family’s dusty tavern in Seville, dreaming of distant lands and believing in the kind of magic that she’s only ever read about in books. After all, she’s always being told that girls can’t be explorers.
But her life is changed forever when adventure comes for her in the form of a fabled vessel called the Ship of Shadows. Crewed by a band of ruthless women, with cabin walls dripping with secrets, the ship has sailed right out of a legend. And it wants Aleja.
Once on board its shadowy deck, she begins to realize that the sea holds more secrets than she ever could have imagined. The crew are desperately seeking something, and their path will take them through treacherous waters and force them to confront nightmare creatures and pitch-dark magic. It will take all of Aleja’s strength and courage to gain the trust of her fellow pirates – and discover what they are risking everything to find.
- I can’t put into words how much I adored adventuring with Aleja. This was everything I want in a middle-grade fantasy–imaginative, full of rich world-building, interesting characters and non-stop adventure.
- Not only does this book have one of my FAVOURITE tropes–pirates–but these are kick ass lady pirates with smarts and snark. I adored getting to know each one of the crew as the adventure progressed, catching glimpses of their past lives and how they came to join The Ship of Shadows.
- I also thought the magic and legend surrounding the ship was done absolutely beautifully, and really gave the story a fresh twist. I especially enjoyed the shadows that inhabited the ship–Aleja’s shadow in particular was utterly adorable.
- Maria’s writing was GORGEOUS. I fell completely in love with her words. I have highlighted SO MANY sentences that gave me chills.
- Our heroine, Aleja, is an explorer at heart, but until she boards the Ship of Shadows she only reads about adventures in books. As a bookworm all my life, I can DEFINITELY relate to this. (Although I have yet to sail the seven seas on a magical ship!)
- Fast-paced and never predictable, THE SHIP OF SHADOWS is one of my favourite reads of 2020 so far. Utterly, utterly brilliant, and I can’t wait to read more of Aleja’s story (fingers crossed for a second book ASAP!!)
Maria Kuzniar spent six years living in Spain, teaching English and travelling the world, which inspired her debut novel The Ship of Shadows. Now she lives in Nottingham with her husband, where she reads and writes as much as she can and bookstagrams at @cosyreads. She is always planning her next adventure.