Monday, July 27, 2015

The Pirates! In an Adventure With the Romantics

by Gideon Defoe

Story summary: I got stuck on the story summary, mostly because of laziness. Plus the Goodreads summary is pretty good this time:
"Whilst visiting their bank manager on the shores of Lake Geneva, the pirates encounter the literary giants of their age: the swaggering Lord Byron, the oddly shifty Percy Shelley - and his beautiful fiancée, Mary. Together they embark upon an adventure that leads them into the bowels of Oxford and the forbidding heart of eastern Europe. Along the way the Pirate Captain must confront some important questions, namely: what is the secret behind his belly tattoo? Is 'Zombuloid, the corpse-beast' a better name for a monster than 'Gorgo: Half-man, half-seaweed'? And, most importantly, what happens when a pirate falls in love?" (from here)
See also The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists, The Pirates! In an Adventure With Whaling, The Pirates! In an Adventure With Communists, and The Pirates! In an Adventure With Napoleon.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • This book--so funny.
  • Lord Byron--possibly a vampire! Mary Godwin--obsessed with monsters! Percy Shelly--grumpy and poetical! The Pirate Captain--like Zeus or the Pacific Ocean and not at all like luxuriantly bearded conch!
  • The footnotes--so informative! and random! and funny!

And Why You Might Not:
  • There are not really any good reasons--it's great! There's some slightly adult humour, I suppose, and some jokes might not be as funny if you haven't read the previous books. But basically, these books are hilarious.

Thoughts: Coming up on the heels of reading The Case of the Missing Moonstone, which also starred Shelly, Godwin, Babbage, etc., this was especially fun. The Romantics are ripe for parody and humour.

I wanted to quote some of the book to show you how funny it is, but I found it surprisingly difficult. I think most of the funniest bits are funny because of context, and the surprise of coming across them unexpectedly. This is especially the case with the footnotes, where a chance mention of spiderwebs with result in a footnote discussing the vitamin content of cobwebs and their recommended daily intake. But it's also true of the whole thing--chapter titles, dedication, the fake list of illustrations, etc.

In short, a jolly and funny little book that will teach you about taxidermy and newborn chicks and the fabulous Lord Byron himself.

Grade: 4 stars

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