Voyage To The Magical North By Claire Fayers Genre : YA Fantasy / Adventure
Twelve-year-old Brine Seaborne is a girl with a past--if only she could remember what it is. Found alone in a rowboat as a child, clutching a shard of the rare starshell needed for spell-casting, she's spent the past years keeping house for an irritable magician and his obnoxious apprentice, Peter.
When Brine and Peter get themselves into a load of trouble and flee, they blunder into the path of the legendary pirate ship the Onion. Before you can say "pieces of eight," they're up to their necks in the pirates' quest to find Magical North, a place so shrouded in secrets and myth that most people don't even think it exists. If Brine is lucky, she’ll find her place in the world. And if she's unlucky, everyone on the ship will be eaten by sea monsters. It could really go either way.
The Onion. Even on Minutes, Brine had heard the stories. The oldest and most glorious pirate ship on the eight oceans, named after the first stars that burst upon the midnight sky—and but for an unfortunate misunderstanding at the sign writer’s, the ship would bear the name of Orion still. Her crew were the fearsomest warriors ever to have left land, and her captain, Cassie O’Pia, was a woman so beautiful that her face had not only launched a thousand ships but caused several others to capsize with excitement. The Onion saved the Columba Islands from the bilious plague. The Onion slew the Dreaded Great Sea Beast of the South. The Onion defeated the evil pirate magician Marfak West and his amphibious desperados. After all the stories, Brine had expected something more exciting. The woman who faced her was only a little taller than Peter, and the only way her plain, square face could have launched any ships was if she’d head-butted them into the sea. Her eyes, if it was true, were a pair of dancing sapphires, and her hair fell to her waist in a tumble of curls that might have had a hint of red if she’d bothered to wash, but right now they were more dirt colored than anything else. Apart from a crescent of emerald around her neck, she was dressed like a common fisherwoman, sea-stained and scruffy. “You don’t look like a pirate,” said Brine, and she could have bitten off her tongue as several of the crew grinned. The woman’s eyes crinkled. “What did you expect—wooden legs and parrots?” “I don’t know. What’s a parrot?” “A type of vegetable, I think. Which reminds me—welcome to the Onion.” She put out her hand. “I’m Cassie O’Pia, but you can call me Cassie.” Brine continued to stare. “She wants to know your names,” one of the pirates growled. Brine knew what Cassie wanted. She just wasn’t sure she wanted to answer. “My name’s Brine,” she said reluctantly. “And this is Peter. Thanks for rescuing us. We were—uh—fishing, and we got blown off course.” Cassie followed Brine’s gaze to the little boat, with its noticeable lack of nets and fishing equipment. “Fishing,” she agreed. She smiled. It was a brilliant smile, one that might be able to launch a ship or two, after all. “The first rule of the Onion is we don’t ask questions. Once you’re aboard, it doesn’t matter where you came from.” She paused. “Where are you two from, by the way?” Brine scowled. “I thought the first rule of the Onion was you didn’t ask questions.” “And the second rule is we don’t follow the rules,” said Cassie. “So?” “Minutes,” said Peter. “We’re from Minutes.” Cassie raised an eyebrow. “You look like you could be.” she turned to Brine. “But you’re definitely not. You look more western to me.” Brine’s heart missed a beat. She’d read about the Western Ocean in Magnus’s books. Not a lot, because hardly anything was known about that part of the eight oceans, and nothing she’d read had felt even the slightest bit familiar. “Not entirely western, though,” said Cassie, dashing Brine’s hopes straight back down again. “And I thought I’d seen almost everywhere. Where are you from?” Brine shrugged. “She doesn’t know,” said Peter. “No one does. She was found at sea.”
Claire Fayers lives in South Wales with her husband and as many cats as she can get away with. The Voyage to Magical North is her first novel.