Seafire Review: Empowering and Feminist At Its Heart

May 31, 2019 by Aila J. | 4 stars, ARC Reviews, Books, Reviews

Seafire Review: Empowering and Feminist At Its HeartSeafire by Natalie C. Parker
Published by Razorbill on August 28, 2018
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Action & Adventure, Fantasy
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After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, who have lost their families and homes because of Aric and his men. The crew has one mission: stay alive, and take down Aric's armed and armored fleet.

But when Caledonia's best friend and second-in-command barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all . . . or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for?

This was such a fierce, empowering read! Seafire will satisfy all your feminist dreams as we follow Captain Caledonia and her crew of women to defeat an evil dictator who has killed off many a person to fuel his own path of conquering the seas – people including Caledonia’s family. I came into it looking for a stunning crew of sisters whose bonds cannot be broken, and that’s exactly what I got. From the quiet ways of Lovely Hime to the ocean-loving Pisces, every girl in Caledonia’s ship gained a spot in my heart. I highly urge fantasy and adventure-lovers to pick up this one, and join the battle for justice with these empowering girls and their passionate dreams!

Right off the bat, the writing and me got along. Parker has a beautiful balance between action and description that keeps the plot running smoothly and readers invested in the story. I couldn’t stop myself from turning the pages! The prologue of the book was explosive and heart-pounding. It set an intense setting to the story, and I was here for ALL of it. Caledonia finds herself betrayed by a Bullet, one of the warlord Aric’s lackies, and her family and ship in flames. From then on, she rebuilds the ship with her best friend and sister not of blood, Pisces, to seek vengeance on Aric and all the terrorizing he’s done in the seas. Flash forward four years, and Caledonia’s captain of her own ship, with an amazing and loyal crew that will fight for each other up until the very end. (Not to mention a very diverse crew, woohoo!)

‘The thing about family is sometimes you don’t have to ask us to do stupid things, and sometimes you don’t get to tell us we can’t.’

Events are galvanized when Pisces is saved by a Bullet herself, an untrustworthy boy who Caledonia is hesitant to keep. She doesn’t want to trust him despite his reassurances that he wants to run away from Aric’s crew and that he can expose the warlord’s secrets. But she finds herself inexplicably drawn to him, and what other way to go forward than to forge their own path against Aric? Which is exactly what the crew of the Mors Navis does.

I cannot do much for you, Captain, but I can do this. Take your ship, take your crew, and prove to that man that he has not quelled all of us. Prove that there is a fire on these seas he cannot contain.

There are so many heart-stopping and lovely themes that Parker employs in the book. The most obvious one is the sisterhood that is shown time and time again when they sacrifice for each other, care for each other, and trust in each other. There’s the matter of loyalty, and at what point do these binds break? There’s wonderful familial love, both of blood and not of blood, and the exploration of what makes these bonds so strong and uncompromising. There is also the question of morals and ethics, as the crew of the Mors Navis struggle to find a balance between fighting for justice against Aric and trying not to become another version of him. All wonderfully introduced, and all wonderfully incorporated in the story. Caledonia herself is driven, determined, and has her sights set against taking down Aric, no matter how small her victories may seem like. She may love her crew, but soon finds out how trust is also necessary towards the one you love.

I’m a bit flabbergasted at the “romance” that happened? Although, from my point of view it was more of a blur between battlelust and attraction than something forged from feelings. If anything, the closest I can liken it to is an underdeveloped hate to love. Still, I am curious to see how this will turn out.

But the main focus of sisterhood and loyalty was just dazzling and refreshing. I loved the emphasis on the love between the crew of the Mors Navis, and can’t wait to see more of them in the next book. Seafire is full of fire and heart, making for an unforgettable adventure that readers will love, and an unforgettable crew that readers will be cheering for. For some reason, this book kind of reminded me of the manga One Piece while reading. There are huge Daughter of the Pirate King vibes as well. Fantasy fans do NOT want to miss out on this one. Explosive action, tales of tribulation and revenge, and sisterly love that will burrow its way in your heart – what’s not to love?

Trigger Warnings: Graphic violence, drug withdrawal/usage, loss of loved ones

Rating: 4 out of 5

Thank you PenguinTeen for the review copy!

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Aila is a young adult reader who loves to transport herself to new dimensions through reading. She's currently an undergraduate student at university in the US. Let's talk about our obsessions on Twitter @aila_1woaa!

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