Twins, Connor and Grace, never dreamed that there was any truth to the Vampirate shanty their father sang to them before he died, but that was before the two were shipwrecked and separated from each other. For Connor, who is taken aboard a pirate ship, there's the chance to learn to swordfight, but for Grace, aboard a mysterious ship of vampire pirates, the danger is great. What will it take for them to find each other?
"Totally original...I wish I'd had this idea." -Anthony Horowitz
Set in the 26th century on Australia's Crescent Moon Bay, Somper's portmanteau of two fiction favorites pirates and vampires is a gleefully quick read. When lighthouse keeper Dexter Tempest passes away, heavily laden with debt, his 14-year-old twin children, Connor and Grace, find themselves suddenly homeless. The teens cannot bear the offer of sanctuary from the town's wealthy bank manager ("I'd rather die," says Connor), so they steal their father's boat and cast out to sea. A storm quickly dashes their vessel, and Connor is rescued by a passing pirate ship. Grace has been rescued, too, but by the Vampirate ship, "a dark ship that has been sailing through all eternity," the topic of a beloved shanty the twins' father always sang to them. The narrative alternates between the two ships, painting a vivid picture of life on a pirate ship while simultaneously stretching and teasing out the mystery of the vampirates for much of the book. Grace eventually meets the captain of her ship, an elusive figure who lets slip that he may have known their father and later learns that she is to be the ship's new "donor." Somper deftly draws parallels to the real world its hungers, its sicknesses, its gluttony with his fascinating vampire captain, who imposes a strict regimen of "take only the blood you need" on his crew, ensuring that the donors remain healthy, too. An enigmatic conclusion leaves the galley door wide open for sequels. Ages 8-12.
It is a great book with a lot of (actually, too much) suspense.