Reviews for Ship of Lost Souls

Booklist Reviews 2012 September #2
New Worlds Islands is a peculiar place, still haunted by the unsettling memory of a cruel invasion by King Abelard that left native islanders marginalized and wracked with plague. Legend suggests that a lost treasure is up for grabs, and everyone is looking for it, including the king's men, islanders, and the scalawag crew known as the Lost Souls, who float aimlessly on the islands' waters. The Lost Souls, an all-child crew, is captained by fearless and fun Scarlet McCray, who is at home dressing as a boy, manning her ship's rigging, or engaging in a sword fight. When the Souls manage to kidnap Jem Fitzgerald, a young outsider with a cryptic treasure map, Scarlet must make tough choices about what is truly valuable to her and to her crew. Pirate tales certainly aren't scarce, but Delaney's debut novel stands out as a teachable allegory for the problems of colonization. In spite of a sometimes heavy message, swashbuckling fun abounds for boys and girls alike. Illustrated with maps. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Jem is whisked off from his sedate life onto a treasure-seeking adventure with his uncle. The two are quickly captured by pirates, then Jem is saved by the girl captain of the Ship of Lost Souls. Jem joins the (all-children) crew on its quest to find treasure. The story line is standard issue, but the pace is brisk and the details engaging.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 May #2
Endowed with the trappings of a comedic pirate yarn but not its heart, this series opener focuses more on one character's soul-searching than nautical action. Hardly has sheltered young "Old Worlder" Jem arrived on tropical islands believed to be haunted by the ghosts of exterminated natives than he is kidnapped by genteel pirates led by a grandiose pipsqueak. He is then rescued by the Lost Souls--an unwashed crew of orphans and runaways (all 13 or younger) sailing the supposed ghost ship Margaret's Hop (the terminal "e" having been lost in the past) under the command of fiery but insecure Capt. Scarlet McCray. Guided by a map that belonged to his vanished uncle and pursued by the aforementioned pirates, Jem and the Lost Souls set out to find a fabled treasure. The search, however, proves little more than a vehicle for Scarlet's continual second-guessing as she frets about being a proper, "captainly" leader and struggles to keep the Lost Souls entertained and a rebellious crew member in line. In the wake of numerous contrived obstacles overcome, the sudden re-emergence of Scarlet's suppressed awareness that she's half-Islander serves as a more sharply felt (if, at least for readers, not particularly cogent) climax than the discovery of the "treasure." This turns out to be a glade so mystically peaceful that the fact that it's surrounded by birds' nests full of rubies comes across as just a nice added feature. Echoes of Peter Pan notwithstanding, a less-than-seaworthy outing. (map, glossary) (Adventure. 10-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2012 September

Gr 3-6--Twelve-year-old Scarlet McCray, a girl with a forgotten past, is the captain of the Margaret's Hop, a pirate ship manned by orphans. Alone in the world save for one another, this band of unlikely pirates commands respect on the high seas. Their mission: to help children in need, which leads them to the daring rescue of 11-year-old Jem Fitzgerald, who was taken captive by the most notorious pirate around and his crew of scalawags. Unknown to Scarlet, Jem's famous botanist uncle entrusted him with a map to the most sought-after treasure known, which sends the crew on the mission of a lifetime. On this journey, the children learn that the most valuable treasures in life are those that come from within. Readers will enjoy the quick pace and exciting escapades of this first novel. The vivid descriptions of the setting will place them in the dark, dank alleys and dirty, dangerous wharfs of old. The characters are well developed, and readers will root for Scarlet and her crew and be thrilled with the resolution. A glossary and an illustration of Jem's treasure map will aid reluctant readers.--Amy Shepherd, St. Anne's Episcopal School, Middleton, DE

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