Crossbones ARC Review

Amazon.com: Crossbones (Kingdom of Bones): 9781989365793: Vale, Kimberly:  Books

Crossbones by Kimberly Vale

⭐⭐⭐.5

Synopsis:

The Blood Bell tolls, marking the death of the pirate king and the start of the Trials—a heart-stopping competition where the reward is the Bone Crown. Only one contender can claim the coveted island throne; each will gamble life and limb to win. Following Csilla, Lorelai, and Kane each one following their own missions, but if they’re not careful they’re sure to drown.

My Thoughts:

Crossbones is a Disney story, but with pirates. No, I don’t mean Pirates of the Caribbean, I mean real Disney. Like a Disney princess movie, but with a pirate. Like if Will Turner were a princess instead of, well Will. It brings up dark pieces and topics, but skirts around them to not get *too* dark, has unexplained magic, and a friend group that forms almost instantly. And most of it worked out beautifully.

I went into this book hoping for a fun pirate book to break up the horror-filled books I’ve been reading. This was achieved! I got sword fights, hunting treasure, and the pirate politics. The plot moved fast and the established crews were interested. But as per a Disney movie, it didn’t go into much detail about any of the crews past 1 or two people, if that. And it steered away from the darker crews. Out of the 6 or 7 main characters in this book, Nara, Csilla, and Kane were my favorites. They touched on their past, had genuine thoughts and feelings. I just wanted more from them, specifically the motiviations for Nara. It felt like a weird thing to mention multiple times that she was from way north and hard it is to get there, but not have it pay off at all. Maybe there’s a sequel where this will come into play, or maybe the author thought it was just a fun detail, but it just made me think of Chekhov’s Gun. I also have zero opinion on Csilla’s love interest, honestly, at this point, I can’t remember his name. He wasn’t fleshed out and felt like he was meant to be the comic relief, but missed the punch for me.

The characters aside I did greatly enjoy the plot. It was a fun treasure hunt! It had a dash of politics, a sprinkle of fighting, and just a dribble of betrayal. It was a fun little quest that wrapped up very nicely. But I have a qualm. It’s the magic. It’s barely used or explained, essentially used as plot armor and then not spoken of again. Lorelai used some magic, but it’s not revisited. By anyone. Not even her. It was used to get a character and then dropped. I think this part could be an effective and super cool part of the story. After al who doesn’t like a bit of magic with their pirates? But it needs some serious reworking.

I also think this book fell into the category of telling not showing. Things like “it was gory,” or “it was wet” were used. Not often, but if someone was just gutted I need more than stating it was gory, or the blood was wet. I know both of those things when it was said they were gutted.

At the end of the day though, I’m giving this a 3.5 stars, because, despite its shortcomings, it achieved what I had hoped. Giving me an entertaining pirate story. And if this gets a sequel I’d read that in a heartbeat!

Would I recommend?

Yes! To any pirate lover, or one that doesn’t need explanation on how magic works in favor of a fun fast-paced story. It’s a quick read that will make you not want to put it down in favor of making it to the bottom of the hill.

*Thank you to NetGalley and Wattpad Books for this free copy in exchange for an honest review*

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