Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eagar
Published by Candlewick Press on October 10th 2017
Genres: Action, Adventure, Children's, Middle Grade, Pirates
Length: 432 pages Source: NetGalley
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Can a clever young inventor uncover a ruthless pirate’s heart of gold?
Thrilling sea adventure takes on a hint of steampunk in the second book by the author of the acclaimed Hour of the Bees.
When her parents, the great marine scientists Dr. and Dr. Quail, are killed in a tragic accident, eleven-year-old Fidelia Quail is racked by grief — and guilt. It was a submarine of Fidelia’s invention that her parents were in when they died, and it was she who pressed them to stay out longer when the raging Undertow was looming. But Fidelia is forced out of her mourning when she’s kidnapped by Merrick the Monstrous, a pirate whose list of treasons stretches longer than a ribbon eel. Her task? Use her marine know-how to retrieve his treasure, lost on the ocean floor. But as Fidelia and the pirates close in on the prize, with the navy hot on their heels, she realizes that Merrick doesn’t expect to live long enough to enjoy his loot. Could something other than black-hearted greed be driving him? Will Fidelia be able to master the perils of the ocean without her parents — and piece together the mystery of Merrick the Monstrous before it’s too late?
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley and Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Fidelia is not quite prepared for an adventure right now.
Her parents were just hopelessly drowned in the Undertow all because she told them the storm was far off. She’s mourning for goodness sake and her whole future hangs in balance. EVERYTHING is changing.
This is a super, super bad time for her to be abducted by pirates.
Unfortunately for Fidelia, this is one of those instances where her opinion doesn’t matter very much, so kidnapped she is and bundled aboard the Jewel to sail with fearsome Captain Merrick the Monstrous and his crew of miscreants. Her task? Retrieve Merrick’s treasure from the bottom of the sea. If she fails, she’ll walk the plank.
I would have LOVED this story as a kid.
It’s a long one, over 400 pages, but it moves quickly. There’s flashbacks of both Fidelia’s experiences and Merrick’s, and just enough scientific explanation for make it interesting BUT not too much that the story gets confusing or riddled with facts. To be honest, it doesn’t feel like there’s much scientific basis for Fidelia’s experiments (which is probably why the author doesn’t deeply explain their mechanics) but a little suspension of disbelief, and it’s excellent.
Also… PIRATES. There are not enough pirate books. These pirates are likable, and the bloodshed is minimal. There is death and dying though so that may be something to know. No gruesome bloody pirate deaths, mostly “disappearances,” so the gore is really a non-issue.
I believe there will be illustrations in the finished version? I had placeholders, so I expect pretty science-related diagrams will make it to the final version.
Overall I liked it.
I thought this was a fun novel, fast-moving, and sure to capture the attention of a younger audience.
I would rate this as a must-read for MG readers who like adventure stories.