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Magic Marks the Spot: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates, Book 1 | [Caroline Carlson]

Magic Marks the Spot: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates, Book 1

To escape from a life of petticoats and politeness, Hilary answers a curious advertisement for a pirate crew and suddenly finds herself swept up in a seafaring adventure that may or may not involve a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a rogue governess who insists on propriety, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous - and unexpected - villain on the High Seas. Will Hilary find the treasure in time? Will she become a true pirate after all? And what will become of the gargoyle?
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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Children's Titles for Ages 8-12, 2014

Admiral Westfield sucked in his breath and released it in a tremendous gust. "My dear," he said, "let me be clear: You are a young lady. You will not tell silly tales and you will never be a pirate."

Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for 37 minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors. She particularly enjoys defying authority, and she already owns a rather pointy sword. There's only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.

Girls belong at Miss Pimm's Finishing School for Delicate Ladies, learning to waltz, faint, and curtsy. But Hilary and her dearest friend, the gargoyle, have no use for such frivolous lessons - they are pirates! (Or very nearly.)

To escape from a life of petticoats and politeness, Hilary answers a curious advertisement for a pirate crew and suddenly finds herself swept up in a seafaring adventure that may or may not involve a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a rogue governess who insists on propriety, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous - and unexpected - villain on the High Seas.

Will Hilary find the treasure in time? Will she become a true pirate after all? And what will become of the gargoyle?

©2013 Caroline Carslon (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (95 )
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4.3 (86 )
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  •  
    Maureen BIRMINGHAM, AL, United States 12-30-13
    Maureen BIRMINGHAM, AL, United States 12-30-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fun! This is a real adventure"
    Would you listen to Magic Marks the Spot again? Why?

    Katherine Kellgren gives a wonderful performance as she narrates this tale of the high seas. It was a pure delight!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Magic Marks the Spot?

    Hard to pick just one and not give away the story. Hillary leaving to join the Very Nearly Honorable League got me hooked, but the adventure continued.


    What about Katherine Kellgren’s performance did you like?

    Her different voices for the characters.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Spunky heroine take sail!


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane 09-20-13
    Jane 09-20-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Rollicking Pirate Adventure"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Magic Marks the Spot to be better than the print version?

    Both the audio and the print versions of Magic Marks the Spot are excellent. The book is written in a wonderful, story-telling style, and Katherine Kellgren's narration is ideal. At the same time, the print version has fanciful pen and ink illustrations, along with handwritten letters, newspaper clippings and excerpts from books about etiquette and piracy that are well worth seeing.


    What other book might you compare Magic Marks the Spot to and why?

    In its combination of fantasy, magic and an independent, feisty heroine, Magic Marks the Spot reminds me of Diana Wynne Jones' book, Howl's Moving Castle.


    What does Katherine Kellgren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Katherine's narration is awesome. Each character has a distinctive voice, from the cultured and erudite governess, Miss Greyson, to the swashbuckling pirates of the High Seas. Hilary, while young, sounds strong and determined, and the gargoyle, who is hundreds of years old, sounds as though he was just sculpted from the granite quarry. Who knew you could make a character sound so "gravelly"?


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed all the way through this book. Its tongue in cheek humor will be appreciated by adults and children alike.


    Any additional comments?

    I would recommend Magic Marks the Spot to anyone, from 7 to 70, who enjoys a fast-paced piratical story. It has a delightful cast of characters, all of whom are cleverly brought to life by Katherine Kellgren's excellent narration.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GLENNO 07-23-14
    GLENNO 07-23-14 Member Since 2007

    Game Developer

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Utterly Charming and Hilarious!"

    This is truly the funniest book I have read in years! The characters are engaging and sympathetic. Every one is over-the-top and quirky in their own way.

    Our heroine Hilary is a plucky girl with a pet gargoyle who is the daughter of an admiral in the Augustan fleet. She wants to become a pirate instead of going to Miss Pimm's Finishing School for Delicate Ladies.

    The story is interspersed with excerpts from the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates (the VNHLP, serving the high seas for 152 years) Handbook and letters written by Hilary, her friends, the Queen of Augusta and many others. They're always funny.

    From Hilary: "I should mention that your information regarding my appearance is not entirely accurate. First, I am not wide-eyed. Thanks to the interminable lessons delivered in a tortuous monotone by my governess, my eyes are frequently closed. Second, I am not a young man but a young woman. ...

    Miss Westfield:
    We are pirates. We are not easily horrified. We have seen shipwrecks. We have seen sword fights. We have seen men eaten by crocodiles and crocodiles eaten by men. We have on occasion hung skeletons from trees. None of these things horrifies us in the least.
    Your letter, however, is another matter! ... No woman, young or otherwise, may join our league. ...if there is one thing upon which the VNHLP and the Royal Navy can agree, it is this: permitting girls to prance about on the high seas would be entirely undignified. Under normal circumstances, we would of course require you to walk the plank. However, our code of piracy does not permit us to treat young women in such a fashion. So we will be generous. ...
    With shock and consternation,
    One-Legged Jones
    Membership Coordinator, VNHLP

    Mr. Jones:
    ... I assure you that I will walk the plank a thousand times into cold and shark-infested waters before I will attend Miss Pimm's!
    I remain,
    Hilary Westfield
    (really quite furious with you)"

    Hilary answers an ad from a freelance pirate hoping to get a job on his ship. As to what happens next, suffice to say that there is a reason that Hilary and hilarity differ only slightly.

    The narrator (Katherine Kellgren) is a gem and absolutely perfect for this story. She expresses sarcasm, wit and earnestness with equal zest. Her English accent adds just the right flavor. I have to find out who beat her out for the Audie in this category because I can't imagine why she lost!

    I graduated from third grade decades ago but I still found this story to be thoroughly enjoyable and look eagerly for its sequel. Any child who can follow and enjoy chapter books should love this book as well.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    aidylt 03-12-14
    aidylt 03-12-14
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    "very fun listen!"

    I love Katherine Kellgren's other narrations, so thought I would give this new kid's series a shot. What an enjoyable read! I took it to the gym and had to grit my teeth to keep from laughing out loud throughout. Can't wait to get a copy for my niece - I know she will love it as well.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen 02-10-14
    Karen 02-10-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Delightful!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. Just a nice story. Fun to listen to, and I would recommend Katherine Kellgren any day!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Magic Marks the Spot?

    Katherine Kellgren's many voices. She is always superb!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I can't remember exactly. I smiled and giggled all the way through.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No, it was just fun!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    scl western mass, USA 09-24-13
    scl western mass, USA 09-24-13 Member Since 2010
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    "A pure delight!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Magic Marks the Spot to be better than the print version?

    I listened to the audio version, as I do a LOT of driving. KK's performance is truly a delight to hear. CC's writing is superb, and I did not want the story to end.
    I anxiously await #2 in this piratical series!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hillary. I have a soft spot in my heart for a tough girl with a conscience.


    What does Katherine Kellgren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The character's voices are superb!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anniepoo Indiana 08-23-14
    Anniepoo Indiana 08-23-14 Member Since 2012

    just myself

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Whispersync review"

    The Audible production narrated by Katherine Kellgren is delightfully dramatic and deliciously funny. I'm sure I would have enjoyed the book alone, but listening to the perfectly over-the-top characterizations enhanced the story greatly. Though this is a middle grades book, any person who enjoys humorous fantasy will likely enjoy this. It uses familiar tropes, but with new and creative variations, and tells a fine yarn along the way. It is appropriately G rated, though with scenes of tension and drama, and a remarkable lack of bumbling idiocy by anyone.

    The Kindle edition has minor chapter head illustrations only and I didn't really need it to enjoy the story fully, though it does have an excerpt from the next book at the end.

    I would compare this in general feel to the Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom and the less known, but quite enjoyable, My Sparkling Misfortune.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JP 08-18-14
    JP 08-18-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Both my son and daughter loved this book."
    What did you love best about Magic Marks the Spot?

    The Narrator was awesome. I loved the quirky characters.


    Have you listened to any of Katherine Kellgren’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Excellent performance. My kids loved listening to the life that she brought to the characters.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The Gargoyle was my favourite.


    Any additional comments?

    I would highly recommend this book. It was nice have a female character as the lead it a book my son could enjoy and my daughter could aspire to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessie Kayenta, AZ, United States 08-10-14
    Jessie Kayenta, AZ, United States 08-10-14
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    "Magic Story"
    Any additional comments?

    My 7 yr old daughter loved this story I got for a summer road trip. She laughed aloud at moments and has asked to listen to it again. I loved that it had a female protagonist pirate. She immediately asked for the sequel (which isn't out yet). We will get that one as soon as it's available.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Esther 08-04-14
    Esther 08-04-14
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    "Fun listening experience for the whole family."

    A refreshing story. Finally there is a book about a girl who wants to be a pirate, not a princess or just to be pretty. Characters are all very interesting. This is a book full of excitement, fun, and humor. The narrator does a fantastic job. She is very enjoyable to listen to and she can do a wide range of different voices. This would be a perfect audiobook for a family road trip!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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