It’s hard to write a review of Jason C. Fry’s The Jupiter Pirates that isn’t just me saying “It’s really fun! Go read it!” But that’s the truth. It’s really fun. You should go read it.
In case you’re not willing to blindly follow my recommendations (and why not?), allow me to describe the book a bit more.
The Jupiter Pirates is a middle grade adventure story following twelve-year-old Tycho Hashoone, who serves as a member of the bridge crew on the Shadow Comet, an ancient starship that has been in his family for centuries. The other bridge crew members are his mother and captain of the ship Diocletia, his father/first mate Mavry Malone, his grandfather and former captain Huff, his twin sister Yana, and his brother Carlo. Only one of the Hashoone siblings will be named the next captain when their mother steps down, and sibling rivalry and proving themselves are big themes of the book.
But it’s not just about the siblings trying to one-up each other. The Hashoone family, which also includes Diocletia’s sister Carina (who lives at the family compound instead of flying in space), is the heart of the book. I really enjoyed that the competition between the siblings didn’t tear them apart, but served to motivate them to improve their weaker skill as well as work together as a team. And even though Diocletia and Mavry are preparing their kids to be privateers, they also act as parents. There are some nice family moments sprinkled throughout that all kids will be able to relate to.
Speaking of which, I want to high-five Jason Fry for making the mother the captain of the ship instead of the father. I also want to high-five him for giving the children the mother’s last name instead of the father’s, and having the father keep his own last name. It’s a really interesting family structure, and I hope to learn more about Mavry’s past and how he and Diocletia became a couple.
I also loved the worldbuilding and the universe Fry creates. I’ve described The Jupiter Pirates as a combination of historical fiction and space opera, a future in which pirates and privateers fly solar system in spaceships instead of sailing the seven seas in boats. Even the political situation reminds me of the American Revolution. As a former history major and science fiction lover, I couldn’t get enough of this universe.
The plot kicks off immediately and sends the Hashoone family to Ceres, Jupiter, the Cybele Asteroids, and back again. I never felt bored and can’t wait to read the next installment. If there’s one negative, it’s that the book ends kind of abruptly and there’s a reveal at the end that didn’t really jibe with me. But mostly it just let me wanting more, which is a good thing.
The Jupiter Pirates is a great adventure story for young readers and adults alike. I give it a big GO. It is available now in hardcover and ebook formats.
An advanced copy of this novel was provided by HarperCollins Publishers for review purposes.