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The Left-Handed Fate

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  359 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Lucy Bluecrowne and Maxwell Ault are on a mission: find the three pieces of a strange and arcane engine. They're not exactly sure what this machine does, but they have it on good authority that it will stop the war that's raging between their home country of England and Napoleon Bonaparte's France. Despite being followed by mysterious men dressed all in black, they're well ...more
Hardcover, 375 pages
Published August 23rd 2016 by Henry Holt and Company
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  359 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Brandy Painter
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

Kate Milford is an auto-buy author for me. I love all of her books. The Left-Handed Fate, which I was lucky enough to read an ARC of, is no exception. It has been a long time since I was so thoroughly enraptured with a book and in that mode where I never want to stop reading or leave this world and its characters.

Max Ault is attempting to complete his late father's mission to put together the pieces of an ancient puzzle that lead to the b
Jan 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Look: this is, objectively speaking, a decent book. Even a good one. But it's somehow both clinically good and a confusing jumble. The plot is messy, but it's covered in a veneer of competent storytelling.

I don't want competence, though. I want an immersive experience. I want a story greater than the sum of its parts. I want something that reaches for the heights of Greenglass House, something ambitious and exciting and urgent.

Instead, I get a treasure hunt (that's a theme Milford plays with in
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
The unlikely pairing of a pirate’s daughter, a philosopher’s son, and a 12 year-old naval captain might be just the right combination of brains, heart, and bravery to decipher the cryptic clues whispering of an ancient machine that could wipe all war from the planet. Such a powerful tool… in the wrong hands… The adventure begins on the high seas before Max, Lucy, and Oliver find themselves on the other side of the wardrobe as their quest delivers them to the otherworldly, Sovereign City of Nagsp ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to QNPoohBear by: Tamora Pierce
3.5 stars

Lucy Bluecrowne is the daughter of Captain Bluecrowne of the Left-Handed Fate and privateer. Lucy and her little brother Liao love their life at sea. It's all Lucy has ever known though Liao remembers living in China with his mother. The ship and crew are sailing the Atlantic in search of French ships and also searching for a mysterious machine part. Max Ault is determined to finish the job his father, a natural philosopher, started and bring about an end to the war between Britain and
I lived in Fell's Point, where The Left-Handed Fate begins, and still consider it home. To find it captured in time between these pages, and well in the grip of plots and contorted mechanisms was a complete joy.

More soon, once I wrest the book back from a young friend.
Sam Musher
I was all set to love this, because Greenglass House is one of my favorite books of the last few years (and because 18th century sailing ships but with steampunky magic!). Unfortunately I found the first half a slog. The characters are chasing around after a few plot coupons, other non-point-of-view enemy characters are chasing after them as well... basically everyone was shuttling back and forth around Baltimore Harbor firing at each others' ships and boarding each other, and the stakes were to ...more
Mike Jung
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I feel like I'm running out of superlatives to use when describing Kate Milford's work, because wowie zowie, she just keeps throwing armfuls of greatness out the windows and into the streets, you know? THE LEFT-HANDED FATE is fabulously good. It has all of the qualities I've come to associate with the Kate Milford Literary Experience: an intricate web of historical detail; an air of tension that builds slowly but inexorably to a supernova state; deeply realized characters who are flinty, stubbor ...more
Ariel Cummins
This book is very, very well-written. Not a book I would ever normally pick up (maritime adventure?! No, thanks), but definitely worth the ride.

Lots of adventure, strong female characters, delightful world-building, and all-around fun. A great recommendation for those kids who are reading on a level that puts them outside the children's room, but aren't ready for a lot of the content of YA.
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Really interesting way to move the series forward. I can't wait to read more about what this series is actually about and who those mysterious black-on-black sailors are.

I say this a lot but I'd love to see this adapted for TV or movies.
Oliver Walters-Clift
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. The plot was interesting, the characters were well fleshed out. The only problem was that the battle was extremely confusing -- too many ships, so it was impossible to keep track of the action.
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I thought that this was a pretty good book with nicely developed characters and an interesting plot. However, at times it was quite confusing, and to me it seemed like the story moved very, very slowly up until the end where it moved extremely quick.
Jen Bojkov
Wonderful story about the privateer ship the Left-Handed Fate and her crew- primarily Lucy Bluecrowne. Kate Milford is an amazing story teller! This one took me a little time to get into it, but once I did, I was hooked and couldn't wait to see what would happen in the end.
Great book for boys or girls who want adventure on the high seas during the War of 1812.
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Review copy provided by NetGalley

This book was a lot more than I bargained for. Honestly, it was one of the more difficult reads I've endeavored to review for NetGalley, but the experience was well worth the effort. This is a story set against the backdrop of the War of 1812, one that seemed to pick up right in the middle of the action. There's backstory that the reader will have to come to understand on their own to truly appreciate what's happening. In reality, this is the story of four differ
Mark Buxton
Dec 15, 2018 rated it liked it
My name is Max, and I must find the second piece to a devastating weapon that could end a budding war and prevent others. I only have cryptic clues about its capabilities, but I can't let it fall into Napoleon's hands. Lucy and the crew of the Fate helped me find the first part, but locating the second one has become an adventure. The Americans and Britain are now at war, so it makes sailing the Atlantic more treacherous. A mysterious brig has been materializing along with eerie lights, and we'v ...more
Jordan Finch
Although The Left-Handed Fate isn't my favorite of Milford's tales, it's another strong addition to the shared universe of her books.

The story follows Lucy and Liao as their father's ship, the infamous Left-Handed Fate, is caught up in a dangerous mission to find the three parts of an ancient mechanism that could be a weapon to end all wars. Following the clues held by Max, a young philosopher who's still finding his sea legs, the crew of the Fate gets more than it bargained for as they're force
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poor start, but worth sticking with. | I've loved what I've read of Milford's work, especially Greenglass House, so was happy to pick this up with the remains of a gift card last September. Immediately started reading it...and didn't like it. It was dull, Lucy was unnecessarily antagonistic in an unpleasing way, and it was a bit difficult to get my bearings in the story (I've not read Bluecrowne, it's possible that familiarity with the characters and the ship would have made a difference. I didn ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Milford, Kate The Left-Handed Fate, 372 pages. Henry & Holt Company, $17. Language: PG (6 swears 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG.

Lucy Bluecrowne and her father Captain Bluecrowne own the privateer the Left-Handed Fate. Lucy has grown up on the boat with her adopted brother Liao. Max Ault and his Father hire the boat to find three pieces of an engine that could end the war of 1812 raging between France, America, and their home country Britain. Max's father passed away and it was up t
Merrilyn Tucker
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lucy Bluecrowne, her brother, Liao, and her father live aboard the cutter, Left-Handed Fate, of which her father is captain. The time period is the beginning of the war of 1812 and the place is around Baltimore. The Left-Handed Fate is a privateer and its occupants are British. When Lucy's father takes on board Max Ault, the philosopher in search of a magical and powerful machine, trouble starts. The French are after Max and the British end up in a skirmish with both the privateer and the French ...more
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to Stven by: library
This came from my library's juvenile shelves; there are a dozen or so pages of nice illustrations. The story's scaffolding seems solid enough, and occasionally it brings you to an interesting place, but getting from plot point A to plot point B tends to be a mushy and less than fascinating process. Revelations don't feel like they happen for any good reason except that it's gotten to be a few pages and it's time for another step in the slow unveiling of the concept. Point of view jumps around re ...more
I have to admit, I decided I wanted to read this book for crazy reasons. I am left handed and the title grabbed me, then the gorgeous cover did the rest. I did check it out on goodreads first to make sure I would like it, but my heart was already 99% set.

When I started this book I didn't realize it had elements of fantasy in it. That led to a lot of me wondering what the heck was going on, and also to me loving it more.

How do I even explain characters as amazing as Lucy, Liao, Max and Oliver? Ea
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I dearly love Milford's middle-grade fiction, and I think that this one might be my favorite yet. Set in the same world where the fictional Nagspeake resides somewhere in the midst of the world as we know it, The Left-Handed Fate weaves together a bit of history (The War of 1812) with a lot of imagination, strange characters and inexplicable events. I particularly loved the conclusion of this one. (view spoiler) ...more
Nick Scott
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Did I like this as much as 'Greenglass House'? No. But did I still enjoy it? Yes. A simple story, with fun characters and a bit of magic. Milford has that ability to really make you feel like you're in the world she creates, that these characters are your friends and comrades, and that you're actually there on the boat with the ocean spray hitting your face or you're in a town that defies the physics of the rest of the world.

So this book definitely had that. However the reveal of the machine was
Dan Glover
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, fiction
My 13 year old daughter and I have each read Green Glass House and now this book, a back story in the Green Glass world. My daughter preferred Green Glass House to this, and I might have too, but just barely. I am a huge Patrick O'Brian fan and I felt his influence here-Lucy was Aubrey-ish and Max was clearly Maturin-esque. Beyond just a really good story in a fun world, this is also a thoughtful commentary in artificial intelligence (AI), its benefits and its huge potential dangers beyond what ...more
4 stars. Took quite a while to really get “cruising” into the story, but it was worth the effort. Despite having no sailing or sea knowledge I became fully immersed in the world of the Left-Handed Fate and its wonderful characters. The ship itself, the cities of Baltimore and Nagaspeake, and all of the different people- heroes and villains- made for an intriguing tale. Fantastical but within a historically accurate time period. The pictures only added to the overall experience of reading this bo ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I love Kate Milford's Greenglass House and was excited for this return Nagspeake. However, despite a starred review from Kirkus, I found The Left-Handed Fate harder to get into. The early chapters missed much of the world building that I appreciated from Greenglass House. If you enjoy historical fiction, try this for a nice change of pace. I, though, will await the forthcoming Ghosts of Greenglass House with bated breath!
Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You
pretty incredible, which is not surprising... i will agree with some reviewers who said the beginning was a mess (too many characters, plot lines) but once the smoke cleared it got way fun and thrilling... i love how Milford connects all these mini-worlds in her authorial universe, and keeps the depth of the characters in mind... awesome the heroines and heroes are children, and it's the adults who are sketchy and evil-minded...
Nancy Walters
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read with Little Frog Workshop. Pro's: gorgeous figurative language; a rich, full imagined world; lots of heart. Con's: a bit too much going on made for some confusion, scores of characters and changing settings. Reads older than a middle grade novel. This book was a pleasure and I plan to read more Kate Milford.
I am so in love with this world that Kate Milford has created! I loved being on The Left Handed Fate. I loved visiting Lucy and Liao again. I loved the new characters of Max and Oliver. I loved learning more about Nagspeake. This is just wonderful!
If you like light fantasy, adventure, or 19th century ships, you will really enjoy this.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Max's Father was trying to get the three pieces of machinery that will end the war. Trying to retrieve the first part proved tobe his demise. So it is up to his son to continue with this hunt. It won't be easy with the French, America, men in Black and the Royal navy after the same thing.

Very slow going. Too many nautical terms. Pitting me to sleep.

Holly Lentz
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Having read The Greenglass House and it’s sequel, I was excited to see more from Kate Milford on the library shelf. This book shows her detailed, multileveled style but I had difficulty getting into it due to the intricacy of the nautical terms. Context clues helped but in the end it was a bit of a battle to get through.
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Kate is the author of THE BONESHAKER, THE BROKEN LANDS, GREENGLASS HOUSE, and the forthcoming THE LEFT-HANDED FATE (Fall 2015). She is also the author of the self-published Arcana Project series. The first two volumes, THE KAIROS MECHANISM and BLUECROWNE, can be purchased for e-readers at all the usual outlets and in paperback from or The third volu ...more