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28 September 2011

Blow Me Down, Katie MacAlister

Pirates and prosthetics...what's not to love?

This high seas adventure stars, Amy Stewart, a financial analyst with a repressed sense of fun and an overdeveloped sense of organization. So to save her from imminent death by work and boredom, and as only a teen can do, her daughter cajoles and guilts her into trying a virtual reality game called Buckling Swashes. (Which, I might add, is a great name for a pirate game.) The game isn't quite finished yet and teen Tara has an advance copy to try before she interviews the game developer, P.C. Monroe.

With the promise to make officer before she quits and gives up on the game, Amy signs on as Earless Erika (you need a piratical name, right?), dons her VR glasses and gets ready to sail the seven seas.
Once in the game, which was made to be as real as possible, from clothes to food, sights and smells, she begins to meet the various and sundry characters that make up this new world.

She's soon grabbed from behind and hauled into an inn by a very large man who wants to keep her seeing as she's such a "toothsome wench". This idea is shot down by Black Corbin, his captain, who then states she is probably a tart with french pox. Not one to take the insult lying down, as it were, Amy proceeds to threaten said captain with a wooden leg and then beat him in a duel with his own rapier. Nice. As her winnings, she claims one of his ships called the
Saucy Wench. (Which, I might add, is a great name for a pirate ship.)

It doesn't take long for Amy to realize something is amiss when she can't find the glasses on her face to log out of the game. A crying jag in the brothel and game of bondage Q and A later, lead her to understand that Black Corbin is actually the Corbin, the guy who invented the game. Now he is stuck in the game world as well as his friend and developer, Holder McReady. (Which, I might add, is a great name for a pirate.)

The only explanation to their predicament isn't a good one. It seems, for some reason they aren't certain of, his ex-partner Paul Samuels has created some virus that traps the players in the game. They need to either find and kill Paul (in the game) and/or play the game out to whatever end scenario he has written the virus to. Easier said than done, as Paul will try to blend in with the other computer characters in the game.

High seas drama, wacky characters and hijinks ensue! Including, but not limited to, 401k plans for brothel workers, death and disease obsessed cabin boys, fun with food (a personal fave...wink, wink), drooling loonies and full scale naval battles.

Though I have only had the pleasure to read a few so far, I can't say enough about Katie MacAlister's books. Her characters are always engaging and the stories, entertaining. The peoples in her worlds are more real than most, and her humor is laugh-out-loud infectious. You care about Amy and Corbin, Holder and Bas, the working girls...and even Bran. Let us just mention that her romance writing skills inspired this Broad to have a sudden yen for pudding. Mysterious.


So, on my avid recommendation, avast me hearties to the nearest booking-type establishment and procure a copy to peruse. It will shiver your timbers in more ways than one!

~Mina

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