A #WyrdAndWonder #MGFantasy Book Review | “The Princess and the Pirate” (Rahana Trilogy: Book Two) by Felicity Banks

Posted Wednesday, 26 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Gifted Book By: This novel “The Princess and the Pirate” was part of a gifted #bookhaul of mine from my Mum and Dad for #WyrdAndWonder, Year 4! They happily surprised me with a lovely bundle of books I featured last Wyrd And Wonder celebrating the Indie Publisher Odyssey Books! This kicks-off my readings of those novels as I was overjoyed I can read all the lovely stories I had either showcased and/or featured but wasn’t able to read during our Year 3 Wyrd And Wonder.

Thereby, I was gifted a copy of “The Princess and the Pirate” by my parents and I was not obligated to post an honest review on its behalf. I am sharing my thoughts on behalf of this novel for my own edification and a continued journey of sharing my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Note: I received the Press Materials last year from the publisher and had asked if I could re-use them if and when I was able to read and/or review the stories I was featuring during Wyrd And Wonder Year 3 (2020); and thankfully was given permission to do so which is why I am using them during my readings this 4th Year of Wyrd And Wonder.

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Why I am in love with this series & couldn’t wait to read the next story:

I immediately took an interest in Dance – she was a brave young girl who understood the history of her island but also the growing tension of why her father worried about her safety and the safety of their community here. Even in the opening paragraphs there is a bit of urgency in the tone of how Banks started her story – where Dance can sense the heightened fear in the caller’s voice – the person intending to speak with her father and the voice which was drawing her to catch her breath.

I loved how art was introduced straight-away – a small bit of insight into the heart of her people – of how on this island (Luar) art was as sacred as the trees. And, trees apparently were quite revered because you can sense this yourself as Dance speaks about the art which comes from the raw materials of the trees. Trees for me have held such a high impression on my person since I first started staring after trees along highways and byways; whilst pausing whenever I was close to them in person and happily feeling museful about their lives. Especially the cycle of how other species laid claim to their boughs and branches; how connected they were to our source of life (ie. oxygen) and how throughout the ages of time, trees are resolute, proud and awe-inspiring just to be nearby. I could then imagine – any bit of art carved from a tree has a life spirit of its own etched out of the raw wood and drawing a new energy from the carver’s tools, hands and vision for what the art being created would represent.

Dance lives on an island tucked away from the world – what makes this one dearly unique in my eyes as I haven’t come across a lot of snowbound or ice encased worlds, is the fact this particular island would be right at home in the Arctic Circle! It is beyond cold here – where the frozen ice hides their greatest enemy (ie. Heest monsters) and where if you were brave enough, you wouldn’t consider what their presence unde the ice was foretelling about your own fate and the fate of your community. Banks goes into a bit of detail about how this island was fashioned together – from materials they could repurpose and from purchases they had made long ago giving them a bit of bolster of privacy from prying eyes on the outside. It was their sincere hope to remain hidden which inspired how they lived and how they choose to thrive in one of the coldest locations I’ve had a chance to visit.

I positively LOVE finding illustrative art inside novels – The Monster Apprentice is delightfully inclusive of renderings of the scenes you’re reading about as you walk beside Dance! The very first illustration was featuring the ‘sky cows’ – having spent time on a ranch with breeding stock, I know how stubborn cows can be and how particular they are once they’ve settled on a place they want to roost. Cows are gentle giants and have kind hearts but there are moments where like most animals, they simply want to be left alone and left to their own devices. The imagery provided in this illustration and the depictions of the cows and Dance’s interaction with them in the text was quite a heap of hilarity! It was interesting to see how Dance chooses to interact with her world and how she constantly likes to bend the rules in order to do what she is tasked to accomplish!

Banks does a wonderful job of keeping this first installment beautifully connected on her characters and on the priming of our introduction to their ice and sea world. Things are not quite as you expect them to be here – there are hints of magic, of intrigue and of binding bargains which may in the end be worse than their initial acceptance. Each person here – young or old alike has to find their own individual truth and path; similar to life, everyone is working through their own headspace and has to find the courage to be a bit braver than they feel.

One of my favourite features of this novel are the Heest – mostly because Banks keeps us in the dark for most of the novel about their truer nature and how they operate as a species. There is far more to the Heest than what is presumed and that is the true beauty of their kind for me. I’d love t see how this trilogy continues to develop – especially if we can entreat more into the magical perimeters of the world and the concepts of how those magical extras operate within a place that is a rather harsh physical environment of both ice and sea.

As this first novel is setting up the foundation of the trilogy – we were treated only to a hinting of the magic in this world. The curators of the magic are known as quickensmiths and this was broached at the time when Dance had to face the pirates because of how the ship itself was moving through the water. I found it interesting how the dynamics of the world and of the magic within it were not completely disclosed because this was a very character-centred introduction. You get a few hints towards what is coming in future installments but not overly enough to lose your curiosity because this novel does lend itself to being curious about what will become disclosed!

-quoted from my review of The Monster Apprentice

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The Princess and the Pirate collage created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: jorielovesastory.com

The Princess and the Pirate
by Felicity Banks
Source: Gifted

Genres: Children's Literature, Middle Grade, Fantasy Fiction, Middle Grade Fantasy, Mythological Fantasy, Pirate Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1925652680

Also by this author: The Monster Apprentice

Published by Odyssey Books

on 1st June, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 126

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The Rahana Trilogy:

Felicity Banks invented the fantasy world of Rahana while living in Indonesia. She grew up reading stories set in Narnia and Middle Earth, and she wanted to invent a fantasy world that was just as beautiful but didn’t feel British, or white, or male.

In Rahana the weather is tropical and the people are visually similar to Indonesians. Magic is common, and makes physical strength irrelevant. There are millions of islands both small and large, and sailing technology is more advanced that the other sciences. Rahana is a thriving tropical world where people are born with a love of the high seas.

Naturally, the world is full of pirates.

The Monster Apprentice (book one)

The Princess & the Pirate (book two)

Waking Dead Mountain (book three)

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Published by: Odyssey Books (@OdysseyBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #ThePrincessAndThePirate, #MGLit, #MGFantasy
as well as #pirates and #MiddleGrade; #IndieAuthor, #IndieFantasy

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About Felicity Banks

Felicity Banks

Felicity Banks is a Canberra author specialising in fantasy and interactive fiction, including her Antipodean Queen fantasy steampunk series, which is also published by Odyssey Books. All her interactive fiction is listed under “Felicity Banks” (visit site) and most of her interactive fiction can be read via an app.

She writes about all her various pirates tales (some appropriate for children, some definitely not) on her Facebook page as well as sharing stories and images that appeal to the not-so-secret pirate within all of us.

She met her husband at a pirate ball, and has two little pirates at home.

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on where we left off in the series:

I remember when I reached the conclusion of The Monster Apprentice how excited I was to read the sequel and how I ached to return back to this world I had felt consumed by after reading. There are some stories you just feel as if they’ve become a part of you and this definitely was one of those experiences for me. I re-read the final chapters before resuming the series and it immediately felt as if I hadn’t been too long removed from the text! So much so, I recognised nearly all the scenes and remembered how I wished I had had the sequel to read. What a blessing it is this Wyrd And Wonder to return back to a beloved world and resume my visit with this trilogy!

Captain Sol (the pirate) had just concluded her bargain with Dance – about how if her people guarded the pirate treasures Sol would bring to them, they would be allowed to live as they always have without threat of harm or interference from her and/or her crew. In essence, the Heest and the community would be off-limits and life could resume back to normal. I wasn’t entirely sure if that was accurate given the fact pirates are not known for telling the truth – which is what made reading the sequel a bit more exciting as well.

my review of the princess and the pirate:

When I had concluded The Monster Apprentice, I knew we hadn’t seen the last of Captain Sol – what I hadn’t expected though is how far forward in time we would re-shift into the series! By the time we arrive in the footfalls of Princess Ana, Ransom is already an elder with white hair! He still has a lot of secrets to his person and to how magic is part of his life – part of me wondered if he has more gifts than what have first been told about him as the Prologue would suggest he has at least telepathy along with being a quickensmith. That in of itself was intriguing!

Princess Ana is a trapped fish in an ancient tree which is a living castle – she can manipulate the branches and the trunk of the tree and even walk within the bark of the tree to reach other portions of the castle itself but her true wish is for her freedom. But at what cost? Her kingdom has already suffered greatly and yet, there is a wistfulness to her heart. You can see it even if she’s not entirely courageous herself about her abilities to leave. I loved how Captain Sol was brought back into the story – where you get to know the personal history of the sea pirate without her tough as nails personality clouding the truth of her own lineage. Ana herself is her grandchild and for whichever reason, that struck me as an important detail because on first impressions Captain Sol didn’t exactly have that warm grandmotherly vibe about herself. She was hardened by her life’s choices and just listening to Auntie Livinia and Princess Ana speak about her – I had a feeling this story was going to be about repairing the past and sorting out personal grievances from regrets or mistakes which were never rectified.

The ship was quite impressive – as I have always hankered after reading more stories set at sea as there is something about the ships themselves and the crews therein which make those stories so dearly enticing. It was one reason why I loved seeing the film Master and Commander prior to realising it was part of a series itself. Ransom is a natural teacher – he has a way of explaining things to Ana which make her a better intuitive quickensmith. Ana is completely removed from her environment at the castle and I had a feeling she was going to thrive at sea. She never had the chance to just ‘be herself’ or to explore ‘who is Ana’ and I felt this newfound freedom at sea might help her rise into her own shoes a bit faster than if she had remained locked inside a castle which provided no opportunities for self-growth.

The sea has its own rules and Ana was slowly catching up to the rules of how pirates and shipmates function at sea. She had her own set of responsibilities but she was tested the most when she first met her grandmother, Captain Sol! What a woman! She doesn’t broker fools and she takes action before anyone can gain the upper hand on her as well. The interesting bit is just after she’s reunited with Ana, we find ourselves reconnecting with Luar and the story which came before this one as I had a feeling Captain Sol wouldn’t forget the bargain she had made with Dance and her people!

It shouldn’t have surprised me Dance was now as old as Ransom – but somehow, it had surprised me. Time in this world had shifted so far ahead of where I had left everyone, it took a bit of adjusting to get back into the rhythm of where we re-entered everyone’s lives. I especially liked how Dance still had a few cards up her sleeve – where she wasn’t releasing all the information she had to Sol (and for good reasons!) whilst at the same time, seeing the Heest again warmed my heart! Of all the stories I’ve read in recent years, its the Heest who left a strong impression on me as they are quite the loveliest of fantastical creatures! There is a beautiful illustration in The Princess and the Pirate which benefits the reader to see them just as Dance sees them which makes the story even more lovely to read.

My goodness! I devoured this story so quickly! I was fascinated by Sol and Queen Mariana who was Ana’s Mum as much as I was wickedly happy to see Ransom again! Yet, of all the characters, it was Ransom who holds the most secrets as I felt he might have all along and I was not disappointed! This is a high seas epic adventure – wherein one family whose never been able to right the wrongs of their past find themselves intriguing drawn to the sea. One by one, Sol, Mariana and Ana find a renewal of connected forged out of a journey on the sea! Even Ana surprised herself by how fast she caught on to life at sea and how much she loved being aboard ship! Her grandmother, Sol is not exactly an easy character to warm too. She is tough as nails and has a bit of an edge to her that doesn’t soften easily. She’s forged a life as a pirate and even if she’s changed her ways in the past decade, she’s still a pirate with a certain kind of reputation!

Yet, in the end, I felt as I had whenever I watched one of the adventures with Captain Jack Sparrow – Sol would survive to live another adventure but this time, without being completely separated from her family. There is something to be said for the series itself – how it moves through different moments of the characters lives wherein they need to grow the most in order to see themselves into their own futures. For Dance and Ana share that bit in common; they each needed to undertake a great challenge in order to rise into their own maturity and step into their own futures. Ransom is the key character start to finish and I have a suspicion he’ll remain a part of the final chapters of Waking Dead Mountain.

This is a beautiful installment of the series for those who want to step aboard a ship, rough out the seas and see how one family can try to resolve their past. It is also a story about courage and fortitude of spirit – being a swimmer myself and having dealt with a rip current, I had a strong respect for how Banks showcased Ana’s issues when she was overboard. The sea holds no mercy for swimmers caught in its throes and the scenes with Ana struggling against the currents of the sea brought back memories of how I had to save myself out of the rip current. Sometimes you find yourself able to do things you never felt you could at times when life challenges you the most. I felt this was a great story for any reader of any age – as it dives into a lot of life lessons which are still warranted no matter how old or young you are when you read this story.

The best bit though – is there is a bit of a cheeky reference to the next adventure and I must admit, I agreed with Sol. Sometimes the best route to take is the one where there is a heap of unknowns and simply cast your fate into the stars and see where you land. I can’t wait for my reunion with this story and to see how Banks concludes the trilogy.

on the fantastical writing styling of felicity banks:

There is such a strong confidence of centering in this novel – we pick up the chase of the series quite immediately even though at first I was a bit confused by why we hadn’t seen Dance until I realised this wasn’t about her but about someone cross-related to Ransom’s own life and experiences. Plus, of course, the return of Captain Sol – of whom had such a strong and memorable presence in The Monster’s Apprentice. Captain Sol is a striking character and I liked how Banks was crafting her story together – from the parts of her past she was choosing to ignore and the parts of her present life which she was equally clandestine about as well.

As we peer into this part of Captain Sol’s story, we have her granddaughter Ana and Ransom along for the journey, too. I felt Ransom and Ana were just as strong of a team together as Dance and Ransom were in the first installment. I was dearly curious about Sol overall – as she had reasons why she didn’t want to return to her life – reasons that at the time I think anyone could sympathise with her about as parts of those details have emerged already in the story before Ana and Sol met. However, on the flipside of that revelation being revealled – you had to wonder what kept Sol at sea and without any inclination of wanting to return, if only for her own curiosity?

The continuity between The Monster’s Apprentice and The Princess and the Pirate is charmingly accurate even though I wish in some respects less time had shifted forward. Though in a lot of ways, after reading the story, I understood her choices in why we had to come this far forward in time. I love when writers etch out a sequel so wholly true of their established world it is as if we’ve simply re-attached ourselves into a world that is both familiar and known to us already. Banks has achieved this with her series – whenever I find myself in one of these stories, I long for more and I’m delighted there is a third novel slated for this series. Though how I will say ‘good-bye’ to this series is another matter entirely.

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#EnterTheFantastic: Seeking out the fantastical elements –

→ Heest monsters

→ Fantastical illustrations

→ Quickensmiths

→ Healingsmiths

I hadn’t realised it until now, but the quickensmiths have a similar magic to the one within Tree Magic as they are reshaping and manipulating certain objects to their own will. By using their quickening gift they can make everything a bit easier for themselves. The healingsmiths have a few boundaries that cannot be overcome such as when a disease or illness strikes the masses and they haven’t found a way to cure it. Interestingly a lot of stories I’ve been reading this Wyrd And Wonder are about epidemics and/or pandemics – which is curious as those stories were writ before 2020. However I think the threat of a pandemic is never very far out of reach if you’ve listened to the research about viruses and public health issues over the past few years.

The illustrations which are included in the novel are wicked awesome! I love illustrative art and the sketches inside this story merge well with the narrative. You can see details of what Banks has already described through the artwork and by having such wonderful visual aides, it adds to the imaginative world she’s created for all of us to enjoy visiting. I wish more stories in Speculative Fiction had illustrations – as I have always found they enhance my readerly experience.

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This book review is part of the #bookhaul of Fantasy novels my parents gifted me:

#WyrdAndWonder #bookhaul collage banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: jorielovesastory.com

Read about my #WyrdAndWonder #bookhaul!

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it.
I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst
readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read.
Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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Reading this story contributed to my #WyrdAndWonder Year 4:

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#WyrdAndWonder Year 4 banner created by Jorie in Canva.

CLICK THE BANNER TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR YEAR 4 EVENT | READ JORIE’S YEAR 4 INTRO

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Enjoying my fantastical reviews about the worlds of Fantasy?

Ever since the beginning of Jorie Loves A Story, I have embarked on a Quest to seek out stories within the worlds of Fantasy which would heighten my awareness of the genre and give me wicked good reads – across the subniches of a genre I’ve loved since I was seventeen. Every May, I happily co-host @WyrdAndWonder – whilst throughout the months of the year, I regularly read & discuss the Fantasy reads I am discovering.

Visit my full archive for ALL my #EnterTheFantastic wanderings! As well as take a walkabout through my archives for #WyrdAndWonder – or take a walkabout through my archive for everything deemed wickedly fantastical!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Monster Apprentice”, synopsis, story overview synopsis as well as the biography and photo of the author Felicity Banks were all provided by the author Felicity Banks and are used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge, #WyrdAndWonder Year 4 banner as well as #WyrdAndWonder #bookhaul collage banner and The Princess and the Pirate collage (all book photos © jorielovesastory.com) and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2021.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 26 May, 2021 by jorielov in #Unboxing BookMail, #WyrdAndWonder, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Childhood Friendship, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Death of a Sibling, Fantasy Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Juvenile Fiction, Life Shift, Middle Grade Novel, Mother-Daughter Relationships, School Life & Situations, Siblings, Twin Siblings




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