The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi

A Novel

496 pages

English language

Published Dec. 20, 2023 by HarperCollins Publishers.

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5 stars (3 reviews)

Amina al-Sirafi should be content. After a storied and scandalous career as one of the Indian Ocean’s most notorious pirates, she’s survived backstabbing rogues, vengeful merchant princes, several husbands, and one actual demon to retire peacefully with her family to a life of piety, motherhood, and absolutely nothing that hints of the supernatural.

But when she’s tracked down by the obscenely wealthy mother of a former crewman, she’s offered a job no bandit could refuse: retrieve her comrade’s kidnapped daughter for a kingly sum. The chance to have one last adventure with her crew, do right by an old friend, and win a fortune that will secure her family’s future forever? It seems like such an obvious choice that it must be God’s will.

Yet the deeper Amina dives, the more it becomes alarmingly clear there’s more to this job, and the girl’s disappearance, than she was led to believe. …

4 editions

This should be on every fantasy lovers book list

5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! What's not to love: it has pirates, monsters, the supernatural, sword fights, magic fights, and adventures galore.

I don't want to include any spoilers, but the plot revolves around Amina al-Sirafi, a retired female pirate captain living in 12th/13th Century Arabia. Due to ... events ... she is lured back onto the ocean for one last irresistable treasure hunt. Although, just like Jake & Elwood, first she has to get the band, or rather her crew, back together.

This book is filled with well-rounded and unforgettable characters, and takes the reader on a fantastic journey around the lands and peoples bordering the Indian Ocean of 800 years ago. With, as previously stated, a very hefty dose of magic and fantasy thrown in as well. Definitely worth a read.

The Adventures of Amina al-Sarafi

4 stars

Now this was the sort of pirate queen adventure I was expecting when I had read Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea. (That book is historical pirate politics and internal musings about power and this book is more fantasy adventure; I liked them both, they're just different.)

Amina al-Sarafi is a middle-aged pirate queen who gets blackmailed out of retirement into "one last job", gets the criminal gang back together, and ultimately faces off against a sorcerer and his sea monster (as if the cover doesn't give you this hint). (Also, gender stuff! You love to see it.)

It's set in the same world as her Daevabad trilogy although you don't need to have read those books at all. (You might appreciate a single character briefly appearing as well as the lawyer parrots, but that's about the extent of it.) My opinion here is that this is …