Book Review: The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi

 “…to be a woman is to have your story misremembered. Discarded. Twisted.”

Shannon Chakraborty ~ The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi


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. For there’s always risk in wanting to become a legend, to seize one last chance at glory, to savour just a bit more power… and the price might be your very soul.


If you want a swashbuckling adventure with a kick ass female lead, then this is your book! It genuinely made me want to run to the sea and stow away on a ship!

Our captain is feisty, foulmouthed and fierce; she’s also filled with desires. Some of these are sexual, some are maternal and some are fame and fortune.

The book opens well and draws you in with hints of the supernatural, as well as intrigue about a female, Muslim pirate who wants to be in control of her destiny. The characters are excellent and you really warm to Amina, despite her faults; Dalila is wonderful – she is also feisty, but funny with it and the two complement each other well. The rest of the crew have their own personalities and secrets, and of course there is the ship’s cat… which doesn’t catch mice.

But amidst this traditional adventure story, you have the fantasy elements, including a variety of mythical creatures. Although I enjoyed these, the book would have worked well without them, as I loved the vivid description of the past, and a pirate heist is always fun!

The story does take a while to get going, as we get to know our characters, and I didn’t binge it like I thought I would, as it’s much slower than I expected. That said, it’s still a really engrossing read, with everything you could hope for in a fantastical adventure. I also really enjoyed having a more mature, sexually awakened protagonist, as her fears and weaknesses were different and relatable, which made it far more interesting.

Overall, a fantastic book that is part historical fiction, part fantasy and part pirate adventure.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Insta Book Tours and Harper Voyager for having me on the tour. Opinions my own.

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