Book Review
The Pirates Curse: Brigands of the Compass Rose by Toni Runkle & Steve Webb

Book Review

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I am a firm believer that people of all ages can enjoy Young Adult literature, and The Pirate’s Curse: Brigands of the Compass Rose is a great example of this. It’s an exciting story filled with adventure and mystery, and I almost finished it in one sitting.

Pirates Curse

Published by Black Rose Writing (September 27, 2023). 353 pages. Paperback.

The Pirate’s Curse tells the story of Bonnie Hartwright, who is a headstrong, determined, yet troubled girl with a rough background. She has spent her life in the foster care system, and she had never been able to connect with the adults in her life. She was born with a mysterious birthmark – a crudely-drawn X on her shoulder blade.

After an outburst at her school, she is sent to Cormac’s Cove – a school for Brigands. Every student at the school is a descendant of a famous pirate, and Bonnie is no exception. There she meets other children like her, and finally finds people who understand her. However, she is presented with a mystery of her own to solve. All her life, she has had a great fear of water and drowning. She had vague memories of where she had come from, but upon her arrival at Cormac’s Cove, she begins to uncover the truth of her background. Famous female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read quickly become important figures to her, and she and her friends seek answers as they begin their pirate training.

The prologue throws the reader right into the action and sets the scene of this great mystery. I think that some younger (and older!) readers may see themselves in Bonnie, and I believe there’s something for everyone in this book. There is a fun mystery to solve along with Bonnie, exciting action scenes, and a great sense of adventure that really makes you feel like you’re a Brigand yourself. I know a little bit about the figures of the Golden Age of piracy, including Bonny, Read, and Calico Jack. It’s fun to see how Runkle and Webb weave their own story with these figures, all while introducing a lively, fun, and realistic cast of other kids who are just like Bonnie. I’m excited to see what else is in store for these characters – The Pirate’s Curse is just the beginning of this grand adventure.

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Steve Webb and Toni Runkle generously provided a copy of The Pirate’s Curse: Brigans of the Compass Rose for Aberdeen Magazine to review. Webb was born and raised in Aberdeen, and hemet Runkle at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. This is the second book that they have written together, their first one being Glitter Girl, released in 2013. //