Sunday, September 27, 2015

Book Review: The Buccaneers' Code by Caroline Carlson (Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Humor, plot, characters…pretty much everything
Cons: A good pirate never lists cons
The Bottom Line:
Concluding chapter
In delightful trilogy
Is pure fun to read

A Good Pirate Reads This Book

The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates.  How can you not love a series with that title?  Two years ago, that was enough to convince me I had to give the first in this delightful series a try, and I was hooked.  Now I find myself sad to say that The Buccaneers' Code is the final book in the series.  The book itself, is wonderful as always, and I found myself racing through it.

The series focuses on Hilary Westfield, a young woman who has always dreamed of being a pirate.  In the first book, she ran away from finishing school to pursue her dream and found herself on a quest she never imagined.  Factor in magic and a talking gargoyle, and you’ve got an imaginative and delightful trilogy.

As this book opens, it’s been six months since Hilary’s last adventure, and she is spending the winter holidays with her mother, trying to practice her fencing during her down time.  She is surprised when she finds pirates appearing at her door looking to join up on Hilary’s quest.  They are answering an advertisement she’s placed in the paper.  Just one problem – Hilary never placed that advertisement.

The next visitor is Miss Pimm, the headmistress of Miss Pimm’s Finishing School for Delicate Ladies.  Miss Pimm explains that she placed the advertisement.  It seems that the villains known as the Mutineers are on the move again with a new plan to take over the kingdom.  The only hope is to expose them by taking out Captain Blacktooth, one of the Mutineers and the head of the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates.  Once the challenge is set, Hilary has three months to put together a crew and get them ready to fight.  But is that realistic?  Will Hilary win, or will she be forced into exile at the Pestilent Home for Foul-Tempered Pirates?

Really, I can’t say enough good things about this book.  The characters are wonderful.  We see some surprises in a few of the returning cast this time around, and all of them grow as they get ready for the biggest fight of their lives.  We do get some new minor characters as well who are fun.

The plot?  It moves along quickly from one complication to another.  I might have cheered when something happened near the climax (even though I was expecting it).  I also might have yelled at the time to slow down when it was obvious I wouldn’t be able to finish the book before my lunch hour was over.  But since I was alone in my car reading when both of those things happened, I plead the fifth.  Yes, I knew the broad outline of the story early on, but a few of the twists and surprises along the way caught me off guard, and I was entertained on every page.  Plus I loved the ending.

As you might have guessed from my description of the story, there are plenty of laughs along the way.  Heck, the gargoyle provides many of them all by himself.  There are some absurd situations, witty dialogue, and groups and place names that will make you laugh.  Plus I can’t leave out the between chapters fun.  That’s where we get letters between the characters, news articles, official posting, and other writing.  This has been the case in every book in the series, and I’ve found them some of the funniest bits.  That’s the case here, too, although they always help advance the story as well.

Oh, and the title of the book?  It references a code of conduct for pirates.  The examples we get are quite amusing as well.

This may be a book aimed at middle schoolers, but this adult is thrilled he found them.  While The Buccaneers' Code may be the end for Hilary and her friends, I’m anxious to see what the author might bring us next.

This is my entry for this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.  Follow the link to find more entries.


  1. Sorry to see this series end but will look forward tor reading this final book. Thanks for your enthusiastic review.

    1. You are very welcome. Sounds to me like you will love it as much as I did.

  2. cool! Wish I'd thought to read it before International Talk like a pirate day.

    1. I actually finished it the day before ITLAPD. I just didn't get it reviewed until now.

  3. I love funny books and I love pirates. I will have to check out this series. Thanks for the review.

    1. Sound to me like this review is right up your ally in that case.


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