Kestrel was born a Promise, a child with magical talents, and as such sought by the Danisoban mages who control all use of magic. After the Danisoban Brethren kill her parents, Kestrel survives as a street urchin and tavern maid before running away to sea. The sea cancels Danisoban magic, but Kestrel soon learns she retains her untrained ability to command the weather. She signs on with Capt. Artemus Binns, only to see him arrested for piracy and hauled away. Kestrel promptly sets sail in pursuit and finds herself in the middle of a civil war between the Ageless King of the Danisobans and his treacherous and ambitious son, Prince Jeremie.Published by Macmillan on 2009-02-03
Genres: Fantasy, Speculative Fiction
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The first offering from author Misty Massey has my interest piqued. A dash of piracy, a pinch of magic, and some memorable characters I really became fond of made this a fun weekend read. Kestrel suffers an all too-familiar prejudice against women on boats (which the reader is made ever more cognizant of by Massey’s quote selections from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” that headline each chapter), but she keeps her magic secret, and it is both of these things which cause problems for her later. I am a huge fan of Coleridge’s poem, so it was with geekish glee that I opened the book and saw a small quote there to greet me. Some of the themes in Coleridge’s poem also present themselves, and it seems almost out of genre for something purportedly this simple and easy to recall the classics, but it does it anyway, almost to spite the reader’s impressions of what Massey is writing.
Ultimately, the plot is very simple, so it is Kestrel’s character development, and how she relates with the crew and the origins of her loyalties that make it a worthwhile read. I’m interested to see more of this world, because Massey drops hits that there is a much richer world out there, which Mad Kestrel only samples. I do love a good seafaring tale, so this satisfied my whims, all while recalling another recent read, Dawn Cook’s Princess at Sea, where another lady sailor has the ability to control the winds. While Kestrel’s story might be over, I think there are still stories out there for Massey to share – maybe something about these controlling Danisobans who are mages tied to their home soil and who truck crates of earth about with them like Bram Stoker’s Romanian prince. If you want some swashbuckling with a tinge of magic, pick this up and maybe we can get Massey to treat us to more of her potential!