Wattpad. Oct. 2021. 376p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781989365793.
Gr 8 Up–The King of Bones is dead. With no heir to the throne of Cerulia, the Trials for the next ruler will take place at the Crossbones. All fleet captains are invited. If Kane, captain of the Blackwater, wins, he will finally have the opportunity to ensure lawful rule between pirates—provided the mysterious stowaway aboard, Lorelei, doesn’t stir up any trouble. For Csilla, this is the Scarlet Maiden’s chance to earn true respect as the only all-female crew; if only that pesky Flynn, captain of the Anaphine, will stop interfering. A deadly race becomes anyone’s game for those prepared to face ruthless marauders, magic, and gods. This is a fantastic formula of pirates, competition, and secret scions that doesn’t quite hit the mark. Cerulia is a vastly intriguing place, leaving readers eager to explore it. However, while the island kingdom is well developed, the surrounding nations lack that extra worldbuilding anticipated to frame a richly detailed fantasy. Key relational moments between characters (especially Csilla, Flynn, Lorelei, and Kane) are left unwritten, making the heightened conflict and declarations in the last third of the novel not nearly as satisfying or believable as they could be. Despite this, readers will still root for these characters as they battle one another to claim the Bone Crown. Main characters seem cued white.
VERDICT A promising premise with a rushed execution. An additional purchase for larger collections.

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