The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton
Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: December 6th, 2023
Hardcover. 336 pages.
About The Light Pirate:
"Florida is slipping away. As devastating weather patterns and rising sea levels gradually wreak havoc on the state’s infrastructure, a powerful hurricane approaches a small town on the southeastern coast. Kirby Lowe, an electrical line worker; his pregnant wife, Frida; and their two sons, Flip and Lucas, prepare for the worst. When the boys go missing just before the hurricane hits, Kirby heads out into the high winds to search for them. Left alone, Frida goes into premature labor and gives birth to an unusual child, Wanda, whom she names after the catastrophic storm that ushers her into a society closer to collapse than ever before.
As Florida continues to unravel, Wanda grows. Moving from childhood to adulthood, adapting not only to the changing landscape, but also to the people who stayed behind in a place abandoned by civilization, Wanda loses family, gains community, and ultimately, seeks adventure, love, and purpose in a place remade by nature.
Told in four parts—power, water, light, and time—The Light Pirate mirrors the rhythms of the elements and the sometimes quick, sometimes slow dissolution of the world as we know it. It is a meditation on the changes we would rather not see, the future we would rather not greet, and a call back to the beauty and violence of an untamable wilderness."
The Light Pirate is a hauntingly realistic story set in a future world in which weather patterns have become erratic and caused extreme hurricanes and rising water levels to wreak havoc on Florida's land, and likely elsewhere in the world as well.
What I liked: I loved how realistic this story felt. It's very apocalyptic in nature, but it's all largely the result of climate change. And not only that, but these changes are very gradual and occur over time, which feels very authentic to how we often see things change in real life. It was both interesting and saddening to see how cities would be devastated by the hurricanes and attempt to rebuild, but over time discovered that there was simply too much to rebuild and no way to do it as the storms and water levels increased, which led to the government pulling out resources and slowly but surely residents would pick and leave as well. I enjoyed the POV switches between all members of the Lowe family and getting some insight into each person's experiences. Wanda and Lucas in particular provided a really fascinating look into both child and young adult viewpoints on what it's like growing up in this world. I was also really surprised by some of the directions the author took the story in, but I liked the overall journey.
What I didn't like: There aren't too many things I actively disliked about The Light Pirate. I would say that the pacing is generally slow overall, and although this worked for most of it there were definitely times when I found things dragging on just a bit too long, especially in the middle/latter portions. I also have to say that I never really found myself overly invested in any of the characters outside of Lucas, and this held the story at arm's length at times for me. Lastly, this peeve is purely personal and doesn't have much to do with the writing or plot so please don't take it too seriously, but... I am so frustrated the daughter's name is Wanda. I fully understand the meaning behind it and how you could see it as a positive thing, but naming your daughter after a devastating and tragic hurricane... I'm going to have to pass on that and try not to be irked every time I read her name. I don't know why it bothers me so much, haha, but it does.
Overall, I've given The Light Pirate four stars! This is a perfect read for anyone looking for a thoughtful near-future story about what could happen as climate change continues.
*I received a copy of The Light Pirate courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*