VOYA - Eileen Kuhl
This sequel to Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean (Little, Brown, 2006/VOYA October 2006), finds Grace and her brother Connor trying to recreate their lives on the pirate ship, Diablo. Somper spins an out-of-the-ordinary tale that includes maritime escapades, exotic locations, treachery, villains, vampires, and a touch of romance, becoming three separate sagas told in alternating chapters. Connor and his friends are involved in a swashbuckling duel between two rival pirate captains, ending with the death of Connor's friend. Grace insists that Connor investigate the distinguished Pirate Academy as an alternative to the dangers of being a pirate. An underlying disdain of pirates not affiliated with the Academy makes Connor feel disloyal to his former crew, and he struggles with his decision to enroll. As Grace yearns to be reunited with her friends from the Vampirate ship, she develops the skill to magically transport herself and is able to return to the craft to help, placing herself in mortal danger. The wicked vampire, Sidorio, who was banished in the first novel, schemes to assemble a mutinous crew to overthrow the Vampirate ship. The plots are not successfully intertwined, creating a disjointed tale that does not stand alone. The large cast of characters is not well developed, and much of the action is plodding. The premise is enticing and the cover art appealing, but readers may be disappointed in this sequel. Readers who enjoy pirate lore may stick to Tanith Lee's Piratica (Dutton, 2004/VOYA October 2004), and readers who enjoy the vampire aspects may turn to any Darren Shan title.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9 -In Justin Somper's sequel (Little, Brown 2007) to Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean (April 2007, p. 77), twins Connor and Grace must make a decision about their future: should they stay aboard the pirate ship Diablo , leave to study at the Pirate Academy, or return to the vampirates (vampire pirates) who rescued Grace from drowning? Meanwhile, a rogue vampirate is roaming the seas and luring hapless victims to their deaths assisted by the now vampirized Jez, former close friend of Connor. While this volume fills in some information from the previous title, it doesn't really stand alone. Though its title suggests a suspenseful story, and there are battles and challenges for the pirates, nothing much happens to the main characters and their concern with what direction to take in life is more tiresome than enthralling. The murders committed by the vampirates are gratuitously gruesome. The Pirate Academy, with its many specialized classes, seems Hogwarts inspired, while the premise that pirates lead honorable lives with important skills is untenable. British actor Daniel Philpott does a yeoman's job of narrating, reading with expression and verve. He gives unique voices to the numerous characters, as well as regional accents to many, though he occasionally fails to reflect the character's emotion as stated in the text. While the vampire/pirate pairing ensures initial popularity for this novel, only listeners who have heard or read the previous book are likely to stick with this second title in a planned trilogy.-Louise L. Sherman, formerly Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.