Review: The Ship of Shadows

Book Title: The Ship of Shadows (available here)

Author: Maria Kuzniar

Illustrator: Sophia Watts

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: July 2020

Most Suitable for: Years 4-6

Reviewer: David McBride

Young Aleja longs for an adventure; something that ‘nice, young girls’ shouldn’t go chasing after yet, deep down, she knows that a different life awaits her. On the arrival of a mysterious Ship of Shadows into Spanish Sevilla’s harbour, Aleja is spurred on by her desire to see the legendary vessel first-hand. Trouble is not far away and, assisted by a stranger, her path is set as she finds herself on board the famous ship crewed by a band of ruthless pirates. Once on board, she discovers that it is not only the women that have secrets but the ship, too, as its magic is gradually revealed. The boat sets sail and Aleja leaves her family behind but will this be the life full of adventure and excitement she longs for?

As Aleja is drawn into the life on the ship, she must prove herself worthy to remain and it is not long before she is tested. Friendships are made and, ultimately, Aleja must choose between her longing for a life not yet lived and her family.

This is a compelling read; it’s a real page turner and will appeal to those that love adventure stories that hint of times past as we travel the high seas and traverse the desert with Aleja. Our heroine is full of curiosity and spirit and we revel in her thirst for knowledge, wanting to explore with her. The places she visits are full of noise and colour and excitement, all the while with a sense that danger is everywhere. As the story draws to a close, there are hints of further adventures and, if The Ship of Shadows is anything to go by, then readers will be eager to continue the quest along with the charismatic crew.


You can order The Ship of Shadows online or from an independent bookshop.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to our Review Panel member for reviewing it.

Where next? > Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub

> Browse our Topic Booklists

> View our printable year group booklists.

> See our Books of the Month.


Join our newsletter to find out about our brand new booklists, reviews and updates on new children's books.

Click here to sign up.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Pinterest

Copyright ©BooksForTopics  2015-2021. 

Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, BooksForTopics earns from qualifying purchases.  Click here to learn more.