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Mad Kestrel Mass Market Paperback – February 3, 2009

28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This rollicking debut combines swashbuckling sea adventure, fantasy and romance with great success. Kestrel was born a Promise, a child with magical talents, and as such sought by the Danisoban mages who control all use of magic. After the Danisoban Brethren kill her parents, Kestrel survives as a street urchin and tavern maid before running away to sea. The sea cancels Danisoban magic, but Kestrel soon learns she retains her untrained ability to command the weather. She signs on with Capt. Artemus Binns, only to see him arrested for piracy and hauled away. Kestrel promptly sets sail in pursuit and finds herself in the middle of a civil war between the Ageless King of the Danisobans and his treacherous and ambitious son, Prince Jeremie. Massey's world building can be a little sparse, but there's enough spirit of adventure to carry Kestrel (and the reader) past the occasional plot hole, with plenty left over for sequels. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Booklist

Massey debuts with a colorful romp through strange lands and stranger seas. In a world in which magic is a monopoly of the Danisobans, and all children showing signs of power are taken from their parents and raised by that order, young Kestrel had hidden her talent and eventually escaped to sea, where magic is cancelled by water. Now risen to the post of quartermaster of a pirate ship, she loves her life. But to keep it, she must never let anyone know that she can magically control the wind. When her captain is entrapped and arrested, the young quartermaster must gather and command the crew for a rescue. That takes all the strength and wit Kestrel can command—and guarded use of her magic. This Errol Flynn–ish swashbuckler features loads of action and larger-than-life characters, plausibly grounded in the realities of life at sea. A real page-turner, and a successor is in the works. --Frieda Murray --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; First Edition edition (February 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765357682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765357687
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,096,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Misty Massey, author of the high seas fantasy Mad Kestrel, practiced her craft with short stories, and can proudly say that while she was learning how to build an effective story, she managed to frighten a number of fellow writers in South Carolina. These days, in addition to writing novels, she shares the popular group blog Magical Words with her friends David B Coe, Faith Hunter and C E Murphy.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Detra Fitch VINE VOICE on March 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
Infants and children that show any type of magical powers are called "a Promise". They are torn from their parents to be raised by the mysterious and powerful Danisoba. The Danisoba had controlled all magic for over a century. Those of the Brethren are known by the silver bracelets they wear. The only place even remotely free of the Danisoba is at sea, because the sea nullifies their magic.

Kestrel "Kes" has managed to keep her abilities concealed since the Danisoba killed her parents. Since the age of five, Kes has been alone. She first hid in bad alleys as a street urchin, then served as a tavern maid, before escaping to the sea with pirates. After proving herself to the crew, Kestrel earned their respect and is now not only an adult, but Quartermaster to Captain Artemus "Artie" Binns. But her way of life could end should anyone on board, other than Artie, learns that she has magical control over the wind.

On the day Kestrel spies the black ship during a storm, she somehow knows her life is about to change. The crew refers to it as a ghost ship due to the fact that it disappeared as they watched. When Kes saw one of the men from the ghost ship in the market place she becomes edgy. Artie refuses to believe the man, Philip McAvery, is trouble. Shortly thereafter, Artie is led into a trap, arrested, and shipped off to Pecheta for hanging. The only thing Kes knows for sure is that McAvery is involved and that Artie wants her to get his log book to Lig, an advisor to the Ageless King. Kes fully intends to give the log book to the advisor, but first she intends to round up the crew and rescue Artie.

**** A different type of fantasy that will keep you reading late into the night. This story is a combination of pirate and fantasy rolled into one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is tons of fun! A perfect read for a rainy spring afternoon and well into the night. One thing that makes this book good is that Massey has left herself room to develop her world in the future. She is not locked in to something which may need to change as she grows and matures as an author and storyteller. Kestrel is a great heroine. She is brave, smart, skilled, feminine, tough, etc. without being a femi-nazi. Her relationships with her crew run the gamut from Shadd's close friendship to the herd behavior of others. (No spoiler here.)

Pirate craze or not, Kestrel is a character who has the potential to keep going and blaze her own trail (or leave her own wake.)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Christopher C. Branch on March 27, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This seagoing adventure feels both familiar and exotic at the same time, combining elements of historical fantasy with an otherworldly setting. You can lose yourself in the bustling harbor town of Eldraga, with its colorful inns and gritty back alleys, and there's plenty of swashbuckling action and a dash of pirate humor. But meanwhile, the looming presence of the unseen Danisoban mages adds an element of the supernatural even before we see how the subtle magic works its way into the story. The characters are particularly well-drawn, especially the aging Captain Binns, Kestrel herself, and the ragtag pirate crew. Their behavior is just what you'd expect from a bunch of nautical rogues, but the tale is full of unexpected turns as well.

All in all, a fantastic first effort from Misty Massey. It ended too soon, but I won't complain, since now the stage is set for Kestrel's further adventures. Should appeal to fans of Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora, as well as books like On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers and Michael Scott Rohan's Chase the Morning.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Angela Thompson VINE VOICE on October 31, 2008
Format: Paperback
Kestrel is a pirate. After years fighting to prove her worth, she's now the quartermaster on the pirate ship Wolfshead. She has become invaluable to her captain and mentor Binns, and the crew respect her and follow her lead. The story opens in the midst of a sea battle between Kestrel's crew and a mysterious vessel that seems to disappear and reappear out of the mist like some sort of phantom ship. Later, while on shore, Kestrel and Binns run into the captain of the mysterious ship, one Philip McAvery who is both dashing and maddening and who seems to have his sights set on Kestrel and her captain.

Unfortunately, all hell breaks loose at this point. Binns is captured and imprisoned under false pretenses. McAvery makes off with the Wolfshead, and Kestrel is on the run from a pair of assassins and a bounty hunter. No one is what they appear to be in this book. Even Kestrel. Gifted with the power to whistle up the wind, she has spent her life determined to hide her ability and thereby avoid the Danisoban Brethren--an order of mages who routinely round up all magically inclined children in order to use them for their own purposes. Interestingly enough, water is supposed to dampen magical ability. But our Kestrel is an exception. And she would prefer her unusual status remain safely anonymous. But Binns' capture and the continual interference of the inimitable McAvery gang up on her, making it difficult for Kestrel to maintain her grasp on the life she so carefully crafted for herself.

What I like about Kestrel is how comfortable she is in her skin. Her qualms about her magical ability aside, she straddles the gap between women and pirates with panache. She is endearingly unselfconscious in her admittedly unusual role.
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