This was a quick and very funny read. Kale and Jaundice Bland, sock-darners of Dullsville, lead a quiet, uneventful existence until they find themselves kidnapped and loaded aboard a pirate ship with an all-female, kick-ass crew.

As you might expect from a pirate adventure, there’s swashbuckling (the male pirates of The Testostero clearly don’t stand a chance), sea shanties and pirate-speak galore. It’s not all saccharine-coated ‘women unite to take on the world’, though, some of the female crew are not particularly kind to each other and at one point Kale and Jaundice help the cook to take on the bullies (who poke fun at her size) and give them a taste of their own medicine.

I enjoyed the little twist in the tale regarding the girls’ parents, whom we are initially led to believe abandoned them back in Dullsville, as well as the dry humour. Some of it might go over the heads of the intended audience but will definitely make adults chuckle. I almost spat my tea out when I read ‘toodle-loo, boys… thanks for the memories’ ?. I also liked the chapter heading dictionary entries, with words pertinent to the theme of each chapter. This was definitely one of those books where I wasn’t sure what to expect as I started it, but by the end I was searching out the other books in the series. The Bland sisters are not so bland after all…

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