Title: Demons of the Ocean (Vampirates #1)
Author: Justin Somper
Published: First published April 2007 by Brown Books – This edition was published in March 2020 by UCLAN Publishing
Format: Paperback – 281 pages
“It won’t be an easy journey – do not expect it to be. But the easy journeys are not worth the leather on the soles of our shoes, boy. It’s the journeys that test us to our very core – the journeys that strip the clothes from our back, mess with our minds and shake our spirits – these are the journeys worth taking in life. They show us who we are.” – Demons of the Ocean
Hello Hello! How are you?
I’ve been waiting for a free day to be able to post my review of this book and today is finally the day! This was the second book I finished for the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon, so I’ve already completed Defence Against the Dark Arts with this book for the prompt “book set at the sea or the coast”, and Ancient Runes with Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire for the prompt “a book with a heart in the title/ on the cover”. I’ve still got 3 books to read, but I’ve almost done my university assignment and tomorrow I can submit it, so I’ll be free to read what I want (YESSSS!).
Danni from For Books Sake helped me pick my O.W.L.s TBR and she picked this book for me, I’m so glad I went with it because I hadn’t heard of it before she told me about it a while ago, and it gave me an excuse to pick it up straight away. I really enjoyed this and I’m so excited for the next book she recommended to me, I’m sure it’s going to be great!
Twins, Connor and Grace, find truth to Vampirate shanty their father sang to them before he died, after they are shipwrecked and separated. Connor, aboard a pirate ship, learns to swordfight. For Grace, aboard a ship of vampire pirates, danger is great. What will it take for them to find each other?
Demons of the Ocean is the first book in the Vampirates series by Justin Somper, a young adult fantasy/paranormal series about pirates and vampires, or as they are known in these books, Vampirates! The book is set in the future, in the year 2512, but it wasn’t in a strange, scary future that I tend to really struggle with if I had to compare the time setting of this book with another I would compare it to Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman because it doesn’t read like a “book set in the future”. Do you know what I mean?
I have always loved the Pirates of the Caribbean films (probably got something to do with my massive crush on Johnny Depp) and I’ve always wanted to read books about pirates, but I never knew where to begin. Well, I’ll tell you one thing, if you are struggling to find a great pirate book to start reading in your pirate quest, look no further, this is what you are looking for, matey.
The book is first set in Crescent Moon Bay where the Tempest twins, Connor and Grace live with their father. The first chapter goes back in time to a few years before the actual events of the book, and we get a glimpse of their father when he sings his famous Vampirates pirate shanty to them. the next chapter goes back to the present time. A few chapters later, the Tempest twins find themselves at sea, in a storm and are separated when their boat sinks. They each end up on different pirate ships, thinking that the other is dead.
I really enjoyed having a book set at sea, I don’t think I’ve read many like this and I had so much fun reading all about their adventures on the ships, Connor’s work on deck and Grace’s vision of her cabin. It made a nice different to have a book set in the future but that resembled a historical fiction novel, but it was just such a unique take on the pirate story that I loved it. I think I’m going to be reading more books set at sea because it’s a really cool setting!
The characters in this book really stand out and you can easily tell them apart, they have a great personality and they are all funny! I’ll talk to you about a few of my favourites.
Grace and Connor: These two siblings are twins but they are both very different from one another. I suppose you could say that the only thing that makes them alike is their love and respect for their father and the closeness between each other. However, I loved reading about their experiences when they were not together because they were both able to be developed into really relatable and realistic characters, and not always glued to one another. They are both very strong-willed, Grace is the intelligent one and Connor is the sporty/manual one, but they can both fend for themselves perfectly well on their own. I loved the ending of this book, and I look forward to reading the next books in the series to see more about these twins.
Lorcan: He is the person who Grace sees the most while she is onboard the Vampirates ship and I have to say, I really fell for this character. He is always trying to protect Grace and trying to keep her away from the truth, but when she does eventually learn the secret about this pirate ship and its crew, they both are still close. I can’t wait to read the next books to see if Grace and Lorcan’s relationship develops because I felt like they were getting quite close. Lorcan is a great friend to Grace and he is always only trying to protect her and keep her safe. He is a very chivalric Vampirate, if there is such a thing!
Molucco: Molucco is the captain of the Diablo, the ship on which Connor is brought to when Cheng Li, the second-in-command, saves him from drowning. At first, I thought that Molucco was going to be a bit like the mean pirate in the Pirates of the Caribbean (I don’t remember his name but he’s the one with the monkey), and I was expecting to really not like him, but as the story progressed I really did warm to him. He comes across as a mean old pirate, but he is actually much like Lorcan, trying to protect Connor and also, help him to become a great pirate. I loved how he seemed to really look out for Connor and I think that in the next books, he could turn out to be a great father figure for the Tempest twins.
Pirates/Vampirates: This is the most obvious theme, but I loved it. This was a completely different setting for me, but I had such a fun time reading it. It was really great to learn about the normal Pirates from Connor’s perspective and then the Vampirates from Grace’s perspective. It is clear to see that a change has happened and that pirates are no longer what we would associate with Jack Sparrow for example. They are all still pirates, they look after their ship and their crew, they go out looking for treasure, but it’s actually more than that, I really liked the insight we got into each crew from the twins’ different points of view and I can’t wait to see more of these two crews. I also really enjoyed learning about some of the Vampirates’ crossing stories, it isn’t at all like how a Vampire is born in Twilight for instance, and I think that this actually made the story so much more fascinating.
Grief: At the start of the book, the children have lost their father, we don’t ever learn how he died, but we do know that now they are orphans (we don’t ever learn anything about their mother). Besides the grief they share for their father, during the story they both have to come to terms with the grief of their own sibling because for a few chapters, they both think that the other has died drowning when their boat sunk. It isn’t very prominent, but there are a few references to their father being dead, or their sibling being missing. I don’t think you could necessarily count this as a trigger warning because I didn’t find this theme to be very strong, but I would be aware of this if you struggle reading these types of books.
Siblings: Another very prominent theme is that of being siblings or being twins. Since their birth, the Tempest twins have always been together, so when they are ripped apart in the sinking boat, it is probably the first time they have ever been apart. It was so interesting to read about them from the other’s perspective and I think that this was a great choice made by the author. Because we have Grace and Connor’s points of view, it allows the reader to get to know both of them at the same time, but not through their own perspective of themselves, if you get what I mean. I loved how this one ended and I can’t wait to read more!
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
I really did enjoy my time reading this book. The chapters are all relatively short, so it’s really fast-paced and I loved the dual narrative. It was great having this dual narrative and the story jumping from one twin to another, but also from one pirate ship/crew to another and it really gave this book a unique feel.
I have to say that the start of the book really gave me Lemony Snicket vibes, it does start out a bit like the Baudelaire children’s story, but as it goes on, this sarcastic, sad side fades away to reveal what life is like on a pirate or Vampirate ship. I also got some strong Peter Pan and Pirates of the Caribbean vibes, it was really great fun and I read this book so fast, I just couldn’t put it down.
I do think that this book is aimed at a younger audience to start with, hence why I gave it 4 stars because at times I found that it would be lacking a little bit. I’m used to reading fantasy, science fiction, and quite complicated books, so this one being a little more simplistic was a change. I really did have a great time reading this book, the plot is sort of very obvious, but that didn’t bother me, I liked to see how everything unfolded for the Tempest twins and I would definitely recommend this book and this series to people looking for a great pirate story. The characters were so fun and mostly very relatable, obviously, a vampire isn’t the most realistic thing to read about, but they weren’t in any way ridiculous or stupid. I really enjoyed seeing the different crews and how they went about their lives on their ships. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, I was able to purchase the novella that is set between book 1 and book 2, I’m still waiting for it to arrive, but as soon as it does, I’m going to continue the series, I can see it being a contender for my favourites series, it’s that good!
That’s all for now, I hope you liked my review. Once again, thank you Danni for recommending this book to me. See you soon, stay safe,
If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK (affiliate link) – Amazon FR (affiliate link) – AbeBooks (affiliate link) – The Book Depository (affiliate link) – Amazon US – Waterstones – Barnes and Noble – Scrib’d – Kobo