#ReadWithMC Reviews 'The Light Pirate'

 Cover of the Light Pirate with portrait of author Lily Brooks-Dalton
Cover of the Light Pirate with portrait of author Lily Brooks-Dalton

For December's #ReadWithMC pick, readers curled up with Lily Brooks-Dalton's The Light Pirate, a timely dystopian story on climate change and its devastating effects on the earth and the people struggling to survive there. Told in four parts—power, water, light, and time—it follows a Floridian family as they prepare for an approaching hurricane in a landscape already wrecked by destructive weather patterns and rising sea levels.

Reminiscent of Delia Owens' Where the Crawdads Sing, readers especially loved Brooks-Dalton's vivid writing style, which @abookandadog says "was beautiful and I was riveted from start to finish." They add, "The character building felt so real, I *almost* cried near the end at a tender moment between two characters." Meanwhile, @bibliokyra shares a similar sentiment and raves, "Brooks-Dalton’s imaginative and atmospheric writing fully submerges you into this probable and frightening world."

And while some #ReadWithMC readers thought the pacing slowed during the second half, the first half of the novel truly gripped readers with its intensity. @bookedwithrook writes, "The first half took my breath away... I didn’t expect so much tensity and emotion right off the bat." Additionally, @whatstephisreading writes, "The pace slowed a bit for me once we got through the first part, but it was still a beautiful story of survival and resilience as Wanda is forced to adapt to the rapidly changing environment around her."

Each month, we gather up the reviews of our virtual book club members so anyone else looking for their next great read has a collection of recommendations. Here's what #ReadWithMC readers had to say about The Light Pirate.

"4 ⭐️ — Literary Fiction/Dystopia

This story takes place in the not so distant future as climate change causes devastating storms and rising sea levels. As Florida slips away, Wanda adapts to the changing landscape.

Wilderness/survival stories are one of my favorite tropes, so I had to pick this up. Wanda is a special and brave main character, reminding me of Kya from Where the Crawdad’s Sing.

The first half took my breath away. I don’t want to say too much about the plot because I enjoyed going into this blind, but I didn’t expect so much tensity and emotion right off the bat. The second half slowed action-wise, but I still enjoyed it—exploring themes of community and survival/resilience.

Overall, a poignant, frightening yet hopeful story. I really appreciated the ode to nature and calling to protect our planet 🌎

Climate change, found family, reflective."

@bookedwithrook

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"The Light Pirate is set in a future Florida which is mostly underwater due to rising sea levels and increased destructiveness of natural disasters. The story follows a young woman, Wanda, who was tragically born into this uncertain world and must learn how to adapt and survive. This is a captivating, thought-provoking novel that establishes the link between the health of our environment and the health of our societies and governments. Brooks-Dalton’s imaginative and atmospheric writing fully submerges you into this probable and frightening world. I loved this one & highly recommend for fans of cli-fi and books with a dash of magical realism."

@bibliokyra

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"Here’s your sign to add this to your BOTM box!

The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton
Pub date 12/6

A friend mentioned she hadn’t heard much about this book so she didn’t get it so I took that as my sign to go ahead and post this review!

What a beautiful masterpiece. I can’t believe how well the mood of this story changed and morphed. As we got into the 'after' I started to realize the difference in the two 'halves' of the story and how they felt like two different books but it was meant to be because the world had changed that much. The writing was beautiful and I was riveted from start to finish. The character building felt so real, I *almost* cried near the end at a tender moment between two characters.

I felt like I needed to immediately start this book over just to absorb it all some more. And I’m also terrified that I’ll never make it if the world ends. Such a great book."

@abookandadog

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"Book Review📚
The Light Pirate is a beautifully written story of a family and community ravaged by ecological disaster.

🌪The Premise🌪
This was not the book I was expecting. I didn’t read much about this and somehow assumed it was this sci dystopian book a la Waterworld. It is not. The book is told in 4 parts (power, light, air, time…) and begins with a catastrophic series of events in the lower US (Florida). As climate change wreaks havoc on the land it also destroys the lives of our main characters. We follow young Wanda as she grows up in abandoned Florida among the changing landscape and ways of life. She finds family amongst neighbors and those trying to survive.

✨My Thoughts✨
The book is written with similar feeling to Joyce Maynard’s Count the Ways in an almost observant set back manner but so touching and affecting. I loved the characters, the story and the atmosphere. It’s all beautiful and heartbreaking. The descriptions of the land were so well done I could picture the new landscapes and imagine the suffocating heat. In the end this is a book about adaption and change in the face of constant unpredictable chaos. It’s definitely a warning cry as well and heartbreaking to imagine this as our future. Pick it up in audio or written form, I rotated between the two which were equally great.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫(4.5/5 stars)"

@elizabookworm

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"The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton

This story follows a Florida family as devastating weather patterns wreak havoc on the state's infrastructure.

I didn't know what to expect going in but really enjoyed this one. The first 100 pages really pull you in with the sense of urgency and impending doom, and the short chapters made it easy to flip through.

The pace slowed a bit for me once we got through the first part, but it was still a beautiful story of survival and resilience as Wanda is forced to adapt to the rapidly changing environment around her. The writing style and swamp setting reminded me a bit of Where the Crawdads Sing.

Overall a fascinating story of the devastating effects of climate change and a glimpse of what could happen as nature evolves."

@whatstephisreading

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"This gorgeous, contemplative novel by @lilybrooksdalton was suuuuch a good listen.

As a tropical storm rips through Florida in the not-so-distant future, a baby girl is born into her dying mother's arms. Wanda bears the burden of the name of the storm which took her mother from her. As Wanda grows from infancy into adolescence, she experiences the losses and the wonder that comes from growing up in a coastal area devastated by the effects of climate change. Wanda knows from a young age that the loss of her mother isn't the only thing that makes her different from other children - she feels power and knowledge brewing in her mind and body.

This book isn't a typical narrative - there's no huge climax, no solid, satisfying ending. It gives the reader snapshots into the life of Wanda and her family, both biological and chosen. It's a quiet but powerful experience, and an exploration of what our world will look like when natural resources and habitable land dwindle.

I don't want to give away anything else, and I HIGHLY recommend giving this one a listen on @librofm or your local library's audiobook selection."

@rinpwithbee

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