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Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean Hardcover – October 4, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9–Connor and Grace Tempest have grown up listening to their father's sea shanty about the Vampirates and their ancient ship...that haunts the oceans blue, a song that predates the changes that left their future world largely flooded. After his death leaves them orphaned and penniless, the 14-year-old twins run away to sea and are separated by a storm. Connor is rescued by a pirate ship, where he soon finds a place among its crewmates. Grace, on the other hand, has been rescued by a mysterious ship, which readers won't be surprised to find is the home of the Vampirates. The siblings become involved with the internal politics of each vessel, meeting new friends–and new enemies, like the vampire Sidorio. Grace's sense of horror and wonder at the Vampirate lifestyle is clearly drawn, and her protector, Lorcan, and the living figurehead, Miss Flotsam, offer sympathy and clues to the ship's many mysteries. Swashbuckling Captain Wrathe and his crew feature a few stereotypes, but their adventure-filled lifestyle has a clear appeal to Connor and readers. This book is a good choice for reluctant readers, who will be drawn into the turns and twists of the twins' story, and the dramatic cover art will help catch their attention. This fantastic tale will find many fans, who will be left looking for answers to mysteries only begun to be answered here.–Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Vampirates: Demons Of The Ocean, by Justin Somper "For a blood-sucking, swashbuckling adventure, look no further than this ace book!" 5/5 - KRAZE CLUB "a fast-paced voyage that leaves you hungry... for book two!" - NEW BOOKS CLUB "a fresh and compelling debut... Somper never stoops to stereotype in this engrossing tale... promises to be an addictive series" - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH "simple, and yet so perfect... Inspired" - HAM AND HIGH "a compelling narrative which presents the joy of being alive alongside the emptiness of death" - TES "a clever combination of two genres that could make it as popular as Pirates of the Caribbean" - THE TIMES "full of swashbuckling, action-packed thrills" - JEWISH CHRONICLE "a vivid and bloodthirsty debut" - EVENING STANDARD "impossible to forget" - WENDY COOLING, CAROUSEL "Totally original... I wish i'd had this idea!" Anthony Horowitz "Vampires... and pirates? It doesn't get much better than this! A fantastic read, perfect for Horowitz and Shan fans." John Webb, Children's Buyer, Waterstones "A great mixture of the swashbuckling and the truly spooky - a real page turner." Graham Marks, Childrens Editor, Publishing News "Vampirates is high- concept, high octane adventure that never once fails to be anything but intriguing. Its' classic dramatic scenarios make it an appealing page-turner." John Mclay "It's a fabulous idea, fast-paced, full of good jokes, fun characters (with terrific names) and quite different to anything else I've read. I do like the various influences: a whiff of Dahl, a touch of Lemony Snickett...hitting the zeitgeist." Anthony Horowitz USA REVIEWS 'a gleefully quick read... a vivid picture of life on a pirate ship... Somper deftly draws parallels to the real world... An enigmatic conclusion leaves the galley door wide open for sequels.' Publishers Weekly 'a good choice for reluctant readers... this fantastic tale will find many fans' School Library Journal 'winning fantasy... satisfying and exciting' Voya --This text refers to the Digital edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Vampirates (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1St Edition edition (October 4, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316013730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316013734
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,774,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Justin Somper is an exciting creative talent in children's book publishing. Beginning his career as a writer/editor for Usborne, he joined Puffin Books as a publicist in 1992 and moved to Random House as Children's Publicity Director in 1996. In 1998, Justin broke free to become one of the UK's first specialist children's book publicists. He has since worked with Anthony Horowitz, Louise Rennison, the Roald Dahl literary estate and the Narnia literary estate amongst others.

Now, Justin has made the transition from leading book publicist to bestselling author with the Vampirates sequence. The first title, Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean debuted in 2005. Justin was dubbed "The Next Big Thing" by Sunday Times Magazine while, in Waterstone's "Harry Potter Report", the chain's buyers selected Demons of the Ocean as their top recommendation for fans of Harry Potter. The Sunday Times said Vampirates "promises to be an addictive series". The Evening Standard welcomed "a vivid and bloodthirsty debut", whilst The Times acclaimed "a clever combination of two genres that could make it as popular as Pirates of the Caribbean".

With Demons of the Ocean, Justin won the Birmingham KS3 "Explores" Book Award and the Solihull Children's Book Award. He was runner-up in the North East Children's Book Award and short-listed for the prestigious Red House Children's Book Award. Justin's work has also won praise from fellow children's book authors including Darren Shan who calls it, "An intriguing mix of piracy and vampirism. Justin Somper has brought new terrors to the blood-drenched seas - bravo!!!"

The Sequel
Vampirates: Tide of Terror was published in the UK in August 2006. It was book of the month for the Daily Telegraph's Family Book Club (with a rave review from Carol Thatcher - "I was swept along by the story... entertaining, relevant, interesting and thoroughly commendable") and Blue Peter Book of the Month. Tide of Terror instantly became a top 20 children's books bestseller.

In 2006, Justin made debut appearances at the Hay Festival of Literature, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Cheltenham Festival of Literature, as well as visiting schools and libraries throughout the UK. Particular highlights included an event on the deck of the Cutty Sark and a very enjoyable return to his old primary school in Hatfield.

Vampirates goes Global
2006 saw the release of many of the international editions of Vampirates growing the global phenomenon. The US edition of Demons of the Ocean published in October 2006 and has garnered strong reviews. "This fantastic tale will find many fans," said School Library Journal. The Spanish edition of Vampiratas: Demonios Del Oceano has sold over 30,000 hardback copies and already been reprinted five times. Vampirates has been promoted on the Warsaw metro and in Brazilian cinemas. The Vampirates books are now available in 23 territories wordwide.

World Book Day
In 2007 the Vampirates reached new heights as Justin was invited to write a "£1 book" to mark the 10th World Book Day in March. Vampirates: Dead Deep achieved number 7 in the children's books bestseller lists and number 11 in general bestsellers.

Blue Peter Star Author
In March the same year, Justin was asked by Blue Peter to be the show's first online "Star Author". For this, he wrote a weekly blog on the Blue Peter site for 20 weeks from March to June. During July and August 2007, Justin embarked on his first foreign author tour - in Australia, meeting fans in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. On his return to the UK he appeared again at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Bath Children's Book Festival and the Windsor Children's Book Festival.

"Just read it"
The much anticipated fourth Vampirates novel, Black Heart was published in March 2009. It was widely praised.

"Readers who like their fiction fast, funny and a little gory will lap up Vampirates." The Irish Independent

"Page-turning, award-winning, genre-busting fiction." The Daily Telegraph

What's next?
The fifth book in the Vampirates sequence, Empire of Night will be published in March 2010 in the UK and in August 2010 in the USA. To mark the publication Justin will be touring in the UK in March and USA in September 2010.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on December 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Well shiver-me-timbers! Get ready to be washed away by this exciting, swashbuckling adventure. VAMPIRATES is the story of Connor and Grace Tempest, twins and children of the lighthouse keeper of Crescent Moon Bay on the East Coast of Australia in the year 2505. The story begins with the two young children getting out of bed in the middle of a violent thunderstorm. They wander up to the lamp room to watch the glory of the lightening and churning water with their father. In order to ease their mind, their father sings their favorite sea shanty.

"I'll tell you a tale of Vampirates

A tale as old as true.

Yea, I'll sing you a song of an ancient ship,

And its mighty fearsome crew."

The twins are finally coaxed back into bed after several verses of the eerie song and settle in for the night.

Seven years later, Connor and Grace's father dies, leaving them penniless and homeless. The kids aren't strangers to the stares and whispers that occur whenever they walk by because they've been dealing with it since the day they came to the lighthouse. They've always felt like outcasts, never quite fitting in.

People in town couldn't figure out why Connor was so much better at sports than the rest of the kids, even when he neglected practice for weeks. Grave provoked equal suspicion - from both teachers and classmates - with her unusual wide-ranging knowledge and strange notions about things far beyond her age and station in life. Since they knew they'd never feel at home in Crescent Moon Bay without their father, the twins decide to take off in their father's boat and take their chances at sea, rather than moving in with the cold, local banker or going to the orphanage.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William Mitchell on January 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
With all the media hype about vampires these days, coupled with the raging success of The Pirates Of The Caribbean, it was only natural that eventually somebody would couple the two together in a contemporary novel.

Justin Somper's book is an easy read - watching my son fly through the pages while eagerly anticipating what would happen next was a great experience.

As with all serial novels, once you reach the end of Book 1 - you are left with a sense of closure, but also the thrill of wondering what the next book will bring.

On the parental side, seeing that the novel attempts to withhold some of the bloodthirsty images that pirates typically are depicted as was welcome - and the bloodsucking of vampires was also held in check.

I only hope that the future installments of this novel (not yet read) tread as careful a balance to remain accessible yet 'safe' reading for young readers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kristin E. Johnson on February 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book has a fun combination of two of the most romanticized characters of literary history, pirates and vampires (as you can no doubt surmise from the title). At first I was inclined to mock the pirate craze that started as of 2003, but I humbly retract the mocking. Who could have thunk that vampires and pirates together would make such an appealing combination?

The story follows Grace and Connor Tempest, twins who are separated by a storm and each rescued, without the other's knowledge, by a different pirate ship. Connor makes friends with eccentric pirate captain Molucco Wrathe, who seems at times to be a cross between Jack Sparrow and a glam rocker, and at other times a nice, fatherly sort. The crew instantly take to Connor and offer him a chance to train as a pirate. He accepts, but only because he's almost sure Grace is alive and knows that pirate skills will come in handy if he has to rescue her.

And boy does she need rescuing. Unbenownst to her, Grace is on the ship of the titular Vampirates, and her well-being lies in staying out of sight of all but the two vampires who helped her aboard. Lorcan Furey is a 709-year old who "crossed" at age 17, and is still as nice and sweet as he probably was as a human that age (let him near so much as a dried drop of blood, though, and he gets rather TOO caring). The captain is a mysterious fellow who speaks in weirdly commanding whispers and refuses to let his face be seen. He knows who Grace is, and it seems he knows all about Connor, too . . . These two are the "good" vampires, the ones who, for the time being, have her safety at heart. But then there are the others, particularly the more-than-usually bloodthirsty Sidorio, who scorns the captain's courtly approach to vampirism.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I loved Vampirates because I love pirates ... even at the age of 10. It was a mixture of horror, sadness, and complete adventure. I think the setting in 2505 was great but that it is weird that pirates would still be around in the future. For anybody thinking about getting this book, I give it 10 stars. So tell all your friends to get it because I am sure they will love it as I did. I can't wait to get the next book Vampirates: Tides of Terror!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. FELLA VINE VOICE on October 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
I am very surprised at the high reviews this book as gotten. I will say I'm an adult, so I wasn't expecting this to be a very deep plot with tons of violence and adult-themes. However, I WAS expecting it to be interesting. After all, this is about pirates AND vampires. As one of the other reviewers says, this goes nowhere fast. First off, the book is set in the future, for some reason, but the world is still like it was in the actual pirate days. Makes no sense. Secondly, the book starts off ok but then after the initial set-up of the main story a couple of chapters in, the plot completely stalls and beats you over the head with pointless, boring scenes. The girl wakes up on the vampire ship, eats, falls back to sleep. Wakes up, talks a little bit, eats, falls back to sleep. That is seriously how it goes at one point.

Next, the pirates aren't even interesting or very pirate-like. These are like Walt Disney-versions of pirates. Not menacing, not violent, not fearsome in any way. The vampires are no better. The author also takes great pains to slowly introduce the fact that the vampires on the second ship are actually vampires. The problem is, we already know that! We don't need all this "mysterious" build-up and hints of their true nature.
If you are a young reader, to be fair, you may like these books, but honestly I'd be surprised at that, because generally young readers have a worse attention-span than adults and they need more to hold their interest.
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