Review of Uncharted by Alli Temple, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
Since their father passed away, Georgina – George – is under her half-brother’s “protection”, which, in the bleak kingdom they live in, means she’s his property and if he wants to marry her off to the cruel prince, she has no say in the matter. The fact that she’s a spy for the rebellion makes it even more difficult to resist if she doesn’t want to endanger her comrades. Just as she’s trying to find how to use her new position to help her people, she gets kidnapped by pirates and finds herself a prisoner on the infamous Captain Cinder’s ship.
George is a wonderful character, a young woman whose fear won’t stop her from doing what’s right, at any cost. Captain Cinder is not what or who she expects at all and even though her true identity is revealed pretty early in the story, I don’t want to say too much. I’ll just say I liked her a lot too, I liked the complexity, the broken soul, the will to survive.
They’re surrounded by characters I came to love, such as George’s maid Rosie, Ender the giant pirate, Maro the non-binary first mate; and face villains I loved to hate: the prince, George’s brother, at least one other I can’t write about without spoiling.
When I think pirates, I think adventures, and I wasn’t disappointed on that front either. The pace is fast, there’s always something happening, usually ominous. There’s some violence, “largely of a piratical nature”, as the author warns (there are more detailed warnings on her website). The story is darker than I expected, and I probably liked it even more because of that.
I have very minor complaints about Emily Woo Zeller’s narration. George’s voice sounds a tad too old at times but the voices are overall really good. The tone is overly dramatic here and there. The drama is already in the words and doesn’t need to be overstated, especially at the end of chapters. Other than that, the pace is right and the characters really come to life.
As I wrote in my review for the book, there can never be enough lesbian pirates stories, and this one is well worth your time. I don’t know whether the author plans to give us more of these characters’ voyages but I certainly hope so.