This book is pretty much exactly what you want from a middle-grade adventure book. There are sword-fights, sea dragons, and violent battles. There areThis book is pretty much exactly what you want from a middle-grade adventure book. There are sword-fights, sea dragons, and violent battles. There are charming, unique characters, and an intriguing, fast-paced plot. There are even magical artifacts.
I gave this book a 3/5 only because it took awhile for it to really get going. Once we got to the Just Deserts and encountered the ravens, it got really interesting and I had trouble putting it down. But up until then, I wasn't that invested. I couldn't really tell where it was going. It wasn't that there wasn't a lot of action happening, because there was; it was more that we didn't really get a feel for the characters right away. Once it really gets going though, it's wonderfully fun, even the squirm-worthy bits (seriously, people die, and they don't mince words—just what you'd expect from this type of book).
I was really reminded of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader because of the whole structure of the book, and A Series of Unfortunate Events because of the sassy, somewhat-condescending narrator. The book itself is also gorgeous. The cover and title pages are just beautiful, and the interior illustrations are perfect for it, just sketchy enough to let you feel that Peter's word is kind of grungy and imperfect.
This book should really appeal to boys and girls of about eight to twelve, but may be a harder to sell to adults just because of the slow beginning. I think the action in the beginning will satisfy kids, but might leave adults feeling unsatisfied....more