In this sequel to Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean, there's a traitor aboard the Diablo and enemies at every turn. As the danger intensifies, Grace discovers a place where her twin brother Connor could learn more about the pirate way without risking his life: the elite Pirate Academy. Will Connor choose an education by sea or by school, and will Grace be forced to follow him wherever he goes?
This sequel to Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean (Little, Brown, 2006/VOYA October 2006), finds Grace and her brother Connor trying to recreate their lives on the pirate ship, Diablo. Somper spins an out-of-the-ordinary tale that includes maritime escapades, exotic locations, treachery, villains, vampires, and a touch of romance, becoming three separate sagas told in alternating chapters. Connor and his friends are involved in a swashbuckling duel between two rival pirate captains, ending with the death of Connor's friend. Grace insists that Connor investigate the distinguished Pirate Academy as an alternative to the dangers of being a pirate. An underlying disdain of pirates not affiliated with the Academy makes Connor feel disloyal to his former crew, and he struggles with his decision to enroll. As Grace yearns to be reunited with her friends from the Vampirate ship, she develops the skill to magically transport herself and is able to return to the craft to help, placing herself in mortal danger. The wicked vampire, Sidorio, who was banished in the first novel, schemes to assemble a mutinous crew to overthrow the Vampirate ship. The plots are not successfully intertwined, creating a disjointed tale that does not stand alone. The large cast of characters is not well developed, and much of the action is plodding. The premise is enticing and the cover art appealing, but readers may be disappointed in this sequel. Readers who enjoy pirate lore may stick to Tanith Lee's Piratica (Dutton, 2004/VOYA October 2004), and readers who enjoy the vampire aspects may turn to any Darren Shan title.