Compass Rose by Anna Burke

I loved this book because It took me in an otherworldly pirate adventure on the high seas, with many beautiful dangerous women and a hero with a special gift, this is the receipt of a successful plot.

The book speaks of many feelings and emotions combined, like : loyalty, obedience, love, betrayal – in the colorful world of pirates, pretty  good humor with lots of rum and terrible politics.

“Compass Rose” by Anna Burke is a dystopian adventure novel set in the future, mainly in the 26th century (the year is 2513). The Earth as we know it does no longer exist because of the climate change and the destruction of ecosystems. In this new world order people no longer live on earth literally, but on the water, on the Atlantic ocean, to be more specific, which is also polluted, also because the sea levels have risen. People live on sea stations located in the North Atlantic Archipelago and they do have a sort of military order, they live with rules and procedures under the orders of admirals or they can choose to live as pirates and mercenaries within the dangers of the ocean : polluted gas, giant squids, octopuses and swarms of deadly jellyfish.

 The Earth’s resources are limited and seem to be stored in the mines from the West Indies, where the action takes place. The Archipelago (one of those military orders) is at war with the pirates and mercenaries who also want a piece of the resources stored in those mines and thus, make the coast line a dangerous place to be around.

The main character, Compass Rose “was born facing due north”, she never gets lost, because she has a special gift she was born with: she has an incredible sense of the cardinal signs and an overly developed sense of direction, which earns her a place as navigator in the Archipelago’s Fleet elite under the command of Admiral Comita, where she learns to use her gift for the greater good, she thinks and befriends the admiral’s daughter, Harper.

Rose’s tranquil life is shaken when Admiral Comita sends her on a mission to understand and discover what happens to the resources from the mines and how can the Archipelago stop the pirates from attacking the mines and stealing the resources. On this mission Rose needs to stay under the command of mercenary Miranda, captain of the Man’O’War pirate ship. 

She doesn’t even have time to tell Harper she is leaving.

Rose hasn’t imagined that she has landed in hell, because this mission seems to be far too dangerous for what she has anticipated, Miranda’s crew hate her and sees her as an intruder and a traitor, calling her “fleeter”. The one who she has trusted more, has betrayed her.

Orca, Miranda’s first mate, is brutal and has shown a piece of her brutality to Rose  and Rose understands that in Miranda’s eyes she is only a navigation tool. Considering the above and that Rose has no way out, she can only trust Miranda. And, there is her attraction to Miranda that also drives her crazy, while Orca’s rage towards her seems more like jealousy.

The story is told at first person, from Compass Rose’s point of view.

The plot is thick with nautical metaphors and picturesque and grotesque characters among the dreadful pirates and the giant squids and killer octopuses. 

The story line is credible and Rose’s adventures together with Miranda and her crew on Man’O’War mercenary ship are a real pirate tale and Rose learns the hard way the realities of her new life.

I loved this adventurous part of the novel, it helps Rose evolve as a character and as a human, she understands who and what Miranda really is and still she can’t stop falling for her, their attraction is credible and considering the facts, it is mind-blowing beautiful.

Miranda Stillwater is a mercenary ship captain, she has been also with the pirates and she has to do what she has to do to achieve her greater good.

She is a killer combination: she is as beautiful as she is ruthless and she does all it takes to achieve her goals. At the beginning, she sees Compass Rose as navigation tool, but as gets to know her and sees her in a different light, she understands she can trust her and can’t help her growing feelings for the  “fleeter”.

Miranda knows the world of pirates and mercenaries and she knows nothing is what it seems, she trusts her instincts and her crew’s greed and with help form some of her old friends : Orca, Kraken and Finn.

The development of the plot takes a dramatic turn when Ching Shih appears and when Rose finds out who Miranda really is. 

How much will who miranda really is matter in Rose’s future decisions? 

Will Rose change her points of view and Miranda’s greater good will became also Rose’s greater good?

Who is  Ching Shih?

How will the adventure end?

Who is Miranda?

What’s Miranda’s secret?

What is Compass Rose’s greater good?

What will Rose choose after the mission is over?

Will both Rose and Miranda get away alive?

Excerpts from the book :

“I could have sailed on any ship in the ocean, I thought. And I hate that I only want whatever one you’re on.”

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