Tide of Terror (Vampirates: Book 2) Review
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Picking up just three months after Demons of the Ocean, the first book in Justin Somper’s Vampirates series, ended, Vampirates: Tide of Terror finds fourteen-year-old twins Grace and Connor Tempest reunited and living aboard Captain Molucco Wrathe’s pirate ship, The Diablo. While Connor is praised as a pirate prodigy, Grace is less than enthusiastic about her new life—not only because she doesn’t really want to be a pirate but also because she misses the Vampirate ship and the friends she made there.

When one of ship’s raids goes tragically wrong, Grace is even more convinced that they need to leave The Diablo—if only for Connor’s safety. So she persuades him to visit the Pirate Academy for a week, hoping that it’ll make him realize that a life on Captain Wrathe’s ship might not be his best option after all.

But as Connor enjoys his week at the Academy, attending classes and making friends, Grace feels an even stronger pull toward the Vampirate ship. She begins having visions that take her there—and she discovers that the ship and its crew are in danger.

As I predicted, the second book in the Vampirates series is much darker than its rather tame precursor. This time around, there’s plenty of danger on the seas. The rebellious Vampirate, Sidorio, who was banished from the Vampirate ship in the first book, takes to the seas, determined to build a crew of his own. Things are looking grimmer and grimmer for the crew of The Diablo—and within the first few pages, one of the characters is killed in battle. And even within the apparent safety of the Academy’s walls, not everyone can be trusted.

The second book in the series definitely has a different feel—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The story takes readers to a new location (one that sometimes feels suspiciously Harry Potter-esque), but that same uneasy feeling is still there. The twins may spend much of the book away from the sea, but, still, danger is never far away. That gives the story a sense of urgency that’s sure to keep readers turning pages. In fact, while Tide of Terror is much longer than Demons of the Ocean, it’s still just as engrossing.

There are, however, a couple of picky little details about the series that keep nagging at me as I read. I wish, for instance, that Somper hadn’t given the series a specific timeframe in the first book—because the fact that it’s supposed to take place in the future makes it feel a bit awkward. That’s one detail that could have been left to his readers’ imagination. And, admittedly, the whole idea of a Pirate Federation running a Pirate Academy takes a little getting used to—but if you can suspend your grown-up sense of reality a bit, you’ll be just fine. Just take a cue from your kids—they won’t give it a second thought.

While it has its ups and downs (including a rather anti-climactic final battle), Tide of Terror is a solid sequel to Demons of the Ocean. Somper continues to build a cast of fascinating characters while telling a captivating story. Though I recommend picking up Demons of the Ocean first—and sharing it with your [older] kids—you can rest assured that the second book in the series doesn’t disappoint. I look forward to picking up the third.

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