Cover Image: The Light Pirate

The Light Pirate

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Member Reviews

The publisher’s blurb says that The Light Pirate is for readers of Station Eleven and Where the Crawdads Sing, and I think they really nailed it. It mixes bleakness and devastation with the beauty and interconnectedness of the natural world. 

The Light Pirate is climate fiction, telling the story one girl growing up as the world unravels. Wanda is born during a hurricane, and her family experiences the devastation in multiple ways. As she grows up in a rapidly changing and devolving world, she is forced to adapt to the challenges and hardships of her new reality. 

This book is certainly not rosy, but there are elements of hope, connection, and found family. Climate fiction can make me anxious to read, and while this was no exception, I appreciated the more hopeful themes the author drove home in the last quarter of the book. 
 
Big thanks to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for the eARC for review.
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A story of survival and resilience, The Light Pirate tells the story of Wanda, who was born during a hurricane of the same name and her coming-of-age in a collapsing world. 

I loved this book SO. MUCH. I think it’s a perfect book club selection and @gmabookclub was spot on to select it for December. It was the perfect combination of character and plot-driven and felt very prescient when it comes to climate-related disasters that people seem to think aren’t just around the corner. Brooks-Dalton does such a good job of getting us inside Wanda’s mind as a young girl, adult and eventually older woman. I thought her use of magical realism via bioluminescence was a perfect way to illustrate our connection with nature, and while Brooks-Dalton may not have intended it this way, the very real ways in which our light can heal or harm the things around us.

Brooks-Dalton also does an incredible job of painting a world that is likely hurtling toward us right now. Frequent hurricanes and weather disasters are already a foregone conclusion in my book. What I think many people aren’t able to grasp – because it’s not directly affecting them – is how quickly flooding and rising sea levels could wipe out infrastructure we “need” to maintain our current levels of out of control consumption. YES, I include myself in this “our” because while I try to make mindful decisions I still mess up all the time.

Without spoilers, the book does reach (IMO) a happy conclusion – one I often think about: is the world better off without us?
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As We Know It, It’s the End of the World – REM (folded over)

Florida is being battered by hurricanes and quickly losing ground to the ocean. Relocation allowances, limited to Miami, have run out. The federal government has announced the entire state’s closure, released back into the wild. There are few places to run as conditions are worsening everywhere. Global warming is no longer just some far away concern– the bills have come due.  

Kirby Lowe is an emergency lineman who fought a losing battle to keep everyone’s lights on as he watched his family pay the price for his dedication. A catastrophic storm named Wanda roars up to not only take his young son Flip, but also his wife Frida as she is giving birth to a baby girl.  Before dying, Frida insists her baby be named after the storm.

Born of all this chaos, Wanda grows up to witness nearly everyone she knows abandoning the area. One neighbor, Phyllis, takes her under her wing and teaches her the nuts and bolts of survivalism… how to weather the storm when nature grows its harshest. Phyllis is impressed at how well Wanda adapts but she is astounded to see the supernatural connection the girl has with the new emerging ecosystem. 

“The Light Pirate” is not a lecture on the evils this world is committing, it is a hopeful imagining of what happens next. We are taken down into what the destruction could look like and then we rise with Wanda to see nature’s new possibilities. Lily Brooks-Dalton has taken a chilly topic and transformed it into an exciting and brilliant book.

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for providing an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review. #TheLightPirate #NetGalley
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". . . she knew right away that you were a powerful girl and she wanted you to have a powerful name."

Born during, and named after the hurricane that killed her mother and her stepbrother, Wanda, along with her father and remaining stepbrother, struggle along in a dying town where the population, tired of facing storm after storm, trickles away in search of a less volatile place to live.  

"She has been watching the town empty, the water rise, the storms pummel, as far back as she can remember. This is the rhythm she was born to."

The years fly by, and the climate situation worsens. Much of Florida is underwater, and has been written off by the government. Wanda and a few others learn how to navigate the ever-changing environment with its constant challenges and dangers.

This was quite a mesmerizing read that should appeal to readers of many age groups. I've already recommended the book to our library's acquisitions director.
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Wow!  What a read!
This is a frightening book.
So frightening because of the changes that are happening on earth today.
This story is centered around a girl named Wanda.. named after the hurricane, as she was born in the midst of it.
This story is about trying to survive after catastrophic climate changes and takes place entirely in Florida.
Beautiful writing.
I now need to go look into this author’s other books!

Thank you to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for the ARC
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The Light Pirate is a literary apocalyptic novel I would highly recommend to fans of Station Eleven.

Wanda is born in the middle of a hurricane. From the beginning, her life is defined by disaster—both personal disaster and the wider devastation of climate change. She grows up in a Florida ravaged by hurricanes and beginning to recede underwater, leading to a mass exodus of its residents. As Wanda copes with terrible loss, the discovery of a remarkable new ability, and the challenges of a changing landscape and an evolving society, she must learn to adapt—and to find beauty and belonging amid change and destruction.

Sometimes “literary” means the plot moves slowly, but I didn’t find that to be the case with The Light Pirate. The pacing is well done, often gripping. The entire first section takes place during a hurricane and is virtually unputdownable. Moreover, the whole thing is gorgeously written. It’s a book that is, in turn, both heartbreaking and life affirming. It’s rare to find an apocalyptic novel that makes you feel hopeful about humankind, but hope is definitely the emotion I felt upon finishing the book. 

Unfortunately, I don’t think the title of this novel is a good reflection of its content; in fact, I think it’s misleading enough to put off some potential readers. (To clarify, there are no actual pirates in this novel. I’m fairly certain the word “pirate” isn’t even referenced in the text until the very end.) I hope The Light Pirate isn’t overlooked and is able to find its audience, because it’s one of the best books I’ve read all year. 

Many thanks to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for the DRC.
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This book was so well done. Initially it was a little bleak with the outlook and candidly that sentiment stayed throughout the bulk of the narrative. I could see where that might be very off putting to the reader. But for readers of climate fiction this book also rang fundamentally true, that the future of our planet and the places we call home are facing tenuous prospects of survival. The thing that will survive is the power of the human spirit, a sense of community and redefinition of what it means to live and be alive. Thank you so much for the chance to read this beautiful book.
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The Light Pirate
Author, Lilly Brooks- Dalton
Published 12.6.22!

Thank you @grandcentralpublishing, @netgalley, and @librofm for my gifted e- arc and audio copies! 

Because we live in Florida and have experienced Irma and Ian, reading The Light Pirate is a remarkably close to home wild and incredible page- turner that is a dramatic, coming- of- age, and near- apocalyptic novel of nature and climate change that will open your eyes and keep you immersed until the very end. 

Vividly descriptive, Florida has begun to reclaim her land from her human inhabitants through devastating weather and rising sea levels. The States is thus closed off, the government has ordered all to evacuate, and anyone who stays behind- is on their own. 

In the meantime, Wanda is born under catastrophic conditions and enters her precious life in turmoil and upheaval. What follows are her experiences through adulthood in an abandoned state that forces her to become resilient, strong, and fight for her life. 

What she loses, she gains in other forms by opening her mind and by learning how to open her heart. Staggering and timely, and in a rapidly changing world, Wanda brings us on her unique journey of survival that is memorable and filled with insight, hope, and empathy. 

I loved it so much that I ordered a physical copy through BOTM this month! I started reading, but then finished listening during a long car ride and the audio was fantastic!
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Mother Nature is taking back Florida in the dystopian novel, The Light Pirate. Climate change devastation has ravaged the landscape making it uninhabitable but for a few who refuse to leave its lands.  

A young girl, born during Hurricane Wanda, experiences the winds of change over the decades of her life. She witnesses loss, survival, love and loneliness as she befriends nature with the help of a neighbor. Wanda is a survivalist in a harsh world where you forage for survival as those she loves disappear gradually from her world.  

The Light Pirate is told is four parts - Power, Water, Light and Time. The future is dire unless we make changes to care for a world full of natural beauty.  This is a powerful portrayal of the consequences a world faces with Climate Change. 

Thank you Grand Central Publishing for the complimentary copy of this novel.
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The Light Pirate is lyrical and a wonderfully immersive story. Lily Brooks-Dalton's gorgeous gift with words makes the reader feel the ocean breezes, hear the birds and feel the heat and humidity of Florida.

Wanda is born in the middle of a hurricane. Her coastal town in Florida is nearly destroyed, but she survives. These devastating “once-in-a-century” storms pick up speed and start happening every year. As she grows into a girl, and then a young woman, the landscape around her rapidly transforms—the air is warmer, the seas are rising. Wanda has no choice but to adapt. So she grows her own food, and paddles her canoe through mangrove swamps, and she fights to survive as the wilderness takes back the land.

The Light Pirate is a story of resilience and determination. It's families placed together after great loss to survive the ever changing weather.  And its a story of setting goals and knowing how to adapt when change comes.

Wanda is a girl we all want to know. She's eager to learn about the world around her. She's brave when the unthinkable happens. And she's adaptable and resilent. Even though it feels like the world is ending, Wanda sees the beauty in that world. She sees birds singing in the trees and water lilies blooming in the mangrove swamp. She learns to do more than survive.

This is a book that stays with you long after the last page.  

Many thanks to NetGalley, Grand Central Publishing and Lily Brooks-Dalton for throwing me into the hurricane, but grounding me in the love and humanity of a found family.
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I got through 28% of the book and couldn’t go any further. It started out really slow, and I found my attention wavering the entire time. Hopefully others will enjoy it more than I did.
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A beautifully written novel.  This is quite slow paced and the story really takes it’s time, but it’s so worth it. Such a well told story. 

Frida lost her mother in a hurricane. She’s now married and in labor when her husband’s two boys go missing on her watch.  To make matters worse, there is a hurricane headed towards them. When the baby is born, she’s named Wanda after the hurricane that desecrates the town. After this point the story centers around Wanda growing up in this devastated town trying to get back to some sort of normalcy after all of the loss they’ve experienced.  There is so much sadness here, but there’s hope as well. 

Thank you to @NetGalley and @grandcentralpub for an early copy of this lovely story.
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The Light Pirate had me absolutely captivated from the very first page. I adored the writing style of Lily Brooks-Dalton and the way the book was told in four parts- power, water, light and time. I read this book quickly and was sad when I was finished. I will be recommending this book to customers and making sure they pick up a copy.
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The Light Pirate - Lily Brooks-Dalton
In The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton, we are introduced to Wanda who was named after a disastrous hurricane that ravaged Florida. This story is interwoven in four parts - Power, Water, Light and Time. It was a harrowing, gripping dystopian tale that I enjoyed immensely.
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I loved the book The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton.  The book takes place in Florida, in the future where there are hurricanes and flooding.  You quickly realize Florida will soon be underwater.  This is the story of Kirby, an electrical line worker and his wife Frida and his two sons.  Frida is pregnant and will give birth to Wanda during  Hurricane  Wanda, while Kirby's boys are missing.  There will be love and loss.  Living in Miami for 30 years, I so related to this book.  I loved how it was broken up into 4 parts, power, water, light and time.  It was beautifully written and the landscape was so vivid.  I gave this book a solid 5 stars!  I will recommend to my book club.  Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC for my honest opinion.
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This book broke my heart but was written so well and in a way I couldn’t put it down. It follows a family in a small rural town in Florida who are hit hard by hurricanes. It toggles through time, and looks at what could happen if we don’t start addressing climate change.

It was a bit harrowing but also hopeful. I got so invested in Wanda, watching her grow from a baby born during a hurricane to a woman trying to survive as her town is abandoned not only by its inhabitants but by all forms of government.

This is the first book that I’ve read by @lilybrooksdalton but it certainly won’t be the last. She effortlessly wrote from multiple perspectives and timelines. It was beautiful. And while I certainly hope it’s never close to reality, but it gave me so much to think about.
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I’m so glad I took a chance on this book!  I love adventures and this climate fiction/dystopian novel was unlike any I have read.

Wanda, the main character was born during a major hurricane and her family suffered a great tragedy at the time.  Raised by her older brother and father, Wanda was somewhat of a misfit among other kids her age.

Her world opened up when her father leaves her to stay with Phyllis,  a nearby neighbor and former university professor who knows Wanda’s background.  Phyllis introduces Wanda to the world around her by teaching her about doomsday prepping, biology, the eco-system.  She teaches Wanda to be self-sufficient for the future when Florida disappears and the world around them becomes treacherous.  At some point in the story Wanda learns she has a special gift and Phyllis helps her to learn to use the gift in a safe manner.

Readers who enjoyed Where the Crawdads Sing will likely enjoy this novel.  There is a bit of magical realism weaved into the story, which I loved.  The tone throughout is dismal, but also interesting.  It’s hard to imagine what our society would do if our world fell apart in a similar way.  However, the story is also hopeful and illustrates how resilient human beings can be when faced with adversity.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for allowing me to read and advance copy.  I am happy to recommend this book to readers and offer my honest review.
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Lily Brooks-Dalton follows up her luminous debut, Good Morning, Midnight, with another bleak, beautiful novel about grief and healing, surviving and adapting.

At the center of The Light Pirate is Wanda, a girl born during -- and named after -- a hurricane that altered both her family and her town of Rudder, Florida, in irrevocable ways. We follow Wanda's story in four parts -- Power, Water, Light, and Time -- as she grows up amidst a constantly-changing landscape, as Florida's weather patterns become increasingly extreme and the entire state is gradually (then not so gradually) reclaimed by the natural world.

I can't even tell you how many dystopian novels I've read that take place in a far future where the coasts of the United States have been drowned by rising tides. It's always mentioned in passing; it's never the focus of those stories. What Brooks-Dalton does in The Light Pirate is to put the reader front and center during the time when that is actually occurring, allowing us to experience it through the eyes of Wanda and her family. We see how Wanda is shaped by the magnificent desolation of her environment, and how she adapts to that environment -- and to other survivors, as well.

The Light Pirate is a quiet, meditative book, with rich atmosphere, gorgeous writing, and brilliantly-composed characters. There are elements of magical realism, and climate change is very much at the center of the story -- but I wouldn't call this a cautionary tale. Rather, there is a sense of inevitability to Florida's fate, as though Brooks-Dalton is telling us, "This is unavoidable, and this is what will happen." It's grim, and it's violent -- but the way this story is told is somehow comforting and gentle, too. It made me feel nostalgic for the present. It's difficult to describe, but there's something truly special about the way Brooks-Dalton tells Wanda's story.

More than anything, The Light Pirate is an ode to the natural world, in all its brutality and beauty. It's a meditation on love, family, and community, and an exploration of how life goes on, how humanity endures and adapts, in a rapidly-changing environment. It's gripping, haunting, and one of my favorite books of this year.
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The more I love an author’s debut novel, the more nervous I am starting their second. But this wasn’t the case with LIGHT PIRATE. I just knew it would be awesome.

Brooks-Dalton’s first book, GOOD MORNING, MIDNIGHT, blew my doors off. I literally yelled, “Oh my GOD!” at one point. It was a massive story in a small footprint, full of regret, hope, and tension. LIGHT PIRATE is different (set in tropical Florida vs. the frozen arctic) but similar in emotions, investment, and gorgeous description.

@jordysbookclub describes it best. “A hopeful, sweeping story of survival and resilience spanning one extraordinary woman’s lifetime as she navigates the uncertainty, brutality, and arresting beauty of a rapidly changing world.” 

In the not-so-distant future, Florida (or what’s left of it) is barraged by hurricanes. Its water table rises, levees fail, and municipalities quit. Swamps previously paved over reclaim their birthright. We see all this unfold through the story (shockingly, only 336 pages). More importantly, we know the impact it has on a small group: A linesman, Kirby, his new wife, his sons from a previous marriage, their neighbor Phyllis, and their daughter Wanda.

LIGHT PIRATE is one of my favorites of 2022. Thanks, NetGalley, and Grand Central Publishing, for the pre-publication book!
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"The Light Pirate" by Lily Brooks-Dalton is hands down one of the best novels I've read this year! Both heartwarming and tragic, this book is a frightening view of the future if we cannot solve the climate crisis.  It's a powerful novel with an even more powerful warning about a future we do not want to face; a future where hurricanes, heat waves, and fires are the norm and people must  struggle to adapt to a rapidly changing world without the infrastructure that brings stability to our current lives. This book packs a serious punch and will really make the reader think!  While not overtly political, this book is certainly provocative and does not shy away from the horrors of climate change.  

 Reminding me a bit of Kya from "Where the Crawdads Sing," Wanda is an incredibly endearing character who stays strong through the loss of family, her home, and eventually the world we as we know it.  Her beautifully crafted story is told through lyrical and detailed prose; the writing creates a high definition movie in the reader's mind.  I was swept up and along by Wanda's story, appropriate for a story so influenced by water and nature.  Indeed, nature seems almost to be a character itself in this book. 

My heartfelt gratitude to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for the tremendous privilege of reading an advanced digital copy of this phenomenal book, in exchange for my honest review.  Five stars!
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