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3.6 out of 5 stars19
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 24 May 2012
At the end of The Pirates! in an Adventure with Moby Dick, there are ten pages of other (pretend) titles by the same author, and I love this book so much that I would happily read every single one of them. I'm sure The Pirates! in an Adventure with Heavy Petting and The Pirates! in an Adventure with a Steep Hill would sell especially well.

Enough about the other books, let's look at this one :) In the interests of full disclosure, I haven't read Moby Dick (the proper book) yet, although I did buy it last week. You don't really need it to understand this book though, just as long as you know the very basic summary - Ahab is Captain obsessed with hunting a great white whale that once bit his leg off. Wow, that was hard, wasn't it?

The recent film actually encompasses this book as well, so the trailer suddenly makes a lot more sense. Here, the Pirate Captain suddenly realises that their ship is looking a bit decrepit, so they head off to Cutlass Liz to get a shiny new one, The Lovely Emma. Unfortunately they can't quite afford to pay her just yet so they take on a contract for Ahab to eliminate that famous white whale.

'He looked at his second-in-command seriously. "I'm making a list of when it's acceptable for a pirate to cry."
"That sounds very important, Captain," said the pirate with a scarf, fiddling axiously with his eye-patch.
"So far I've got: one - when holding a seagull covered in oil. Two - when singing a shanty that reminds him of orphans. Three - when confronted by the unremitting loneliness of the human condition. Four - chops. I've just written the word 'chops.' Not really sure where I was going with that one. Any ideas?"'

Just like the other books, ...with Moby Dick has an awesome sense of humour that mixes silly slapstick with subtle innuendo to produce one of the funniest books I've read all year. I also love the informative footnotes that provide fun facts, like the origination of the phrase 'cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey' or that it is suspected whales use the magnetic field of the Earth for navigation - that's why so many whales are beached at places where there is an anomaly in the Earth's magnetic field. I did run off to check the facts so I didn't look like a complete moron after this post went up, but thankfully they are all true!

These books are just good fun. They're tiny, but I could happily read them over and over and I doubt they'd ever get stale. I've just done a quick Google, and apparently Gideon Defoe is in talks with Aardman Animation to turn the last two books into a movie as well. I know, I'm raving and I'm sorry. I'll stop when you finally cave in and buy a copy :)
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VINE VOICEon 5 June 2012
Here we are again with the Pirate Captain and his motley crew of misfits. The pirate who wears red, the one who in green, the pirate with a scarf, the pirate with gout to name a few. There is never any idea how many crew there are but never mind. Now is not the time for specifics especially where the Pirate Captain is concerned.

They need a new ship, the current one is falling apart and the crew are getting fed up. The Pirate Captain decides to go for the best ship available but it is going to cost him dearly - 6 thousand doubloons or his life he does not pay this money back to Cutlass Liz.

When the opportunity to claim a reward from Ahab who is wanting to seek revenge on the whale who ate his leg, ironically though he is using whale bone for a prosthetic, the Pirate Captain takes over and continues to seek out the big white whale. Last spotted in Las Vegas (Suspend belief here readers as to how a whale, let alone a pirate ship end up in the desert) The reward money will clear the debt with Cutlass Liz and all will be well for the Pirate Captain and his crew.

This being an adventure, it does not necessarily get off to the best start or for that matter, the greatest conclusion. Somehow, fate transpires against them all and they all seem much happier with everything returned to normal, that is until the next adventure.
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on 30 August 2012
I did not think there was anything worse than a one trick pony, but it turns out there is. This something is a one joke book in the form of `The Pirates! In an adventure with Moby Dick'. This is a one joke book that appears to come from a one joke series. Having recently watched the Aardman animation based on the books, I felt inclined towards reading one of the source novels. The film was quick and anarchic, but lacked a coherent story. It worked through a combination of witty dialogue and cracking visual gags. `Moby Dick' takes away the visuals and leaves you with some witty dialog, but still an awful story.

To say Gideon Defoe's approach to narrative is scattergun is an insult to misfiring weaponry everywhere. `Moby Dick' is a book that goes off at tangents at almost every turn. The Pirate Captain et al. must find Moby Dick to receive an award that will pay for their new ship. For some reason this takes in the sights of a very modern feeling Vegas and a Pirate lecture tour. This level of hijinks could be fun, but there is almost no reason for large chunks of the book to exist. It is almost as if Defoe wrote the first things that came to mind and didn't bother to edit the book.

There is also an issue with who the book is aimed at. There are plenty of jokes that could only be called childish and would appeal to a 12 year old, but these are interspersed with quite obvious innuendo which suggests the book is for adults. If `Moby Dick' is for older readers, how come it is so basically written and juvenile? When it comes down to it `Moby Dick' fails to be funny enough to get away with having an almost disrespectful lack of story. The funniest part of the book by far is the pages and pages of fake titles for other books in the series. It appears that the Pirates in novel form work better as a joke book than a work of literature.
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VINE VOICEon 1 June 2012
It was pouring with rain when, early on Tuesday morning and after a broken night's sleep, I finally came to. Since the weather meant that gardening was impossible, my 'to do' list now started with the need to write an objective review that would justify my two star rating of Jake Arnott's book The House of Rumour. The next - and, at the time, equally unattractive - item on my list was to finish reading Masha Gessen's fascinating yet seriously worrying bibliography The Man without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin'. And then write a review...

Fortunately (and for the princely sum of £0.99) Amazon's daily deal offered me an alternative: the Kindle version of the delightfully light-hearted and amusing 'The Pirates! in an adventure with Moby Dick'! It was my first introduction to the works of Gideon Defoe and the book proved to be exactly what I needed: relaxing, more than slightly silly and utterly hilarious.

I finished reading it that evening (after having written my review of The House of Rumour) and was fascinated to see that Amazon are listing 13 other books about the exploits of Pirate Captain and his motley crew. Something tells me there's a good chance I'll meet up with them before very long!

Thoroughly recommended.
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on 21 April 2012
I love the Pirates! books and was looking at purchasing more having re-read Scientists and Whaling. I looked at this one thinking it was a new title and then read the blurb - it appears to be exactly the same book as Pirates! in an Adventure with Whaling.

So, still a brilliant laugh-out-loud read but, I imagine, not so much if you have already read whaling...
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on 18 June 2012
We saw the film The Pirates! and loved it before we read the books and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the film story was quite different to the book. So it was like reading a new story. This second book in the series is funny, possibly a little more so than the first and my son (9) particularly enjoyed the 'list of further reading' at the end of the story. We couldn't quite imagine how the author was going to marry chasing a white whale with ending up in Vegas but he did, bizarrely with comic consequences.
My son finds it difficult to enjoy stories where any of the characters have a down turn in their fortunes and their destinies seem out of their control but this story was so humorous and had so many daft moments that we got though it with no getting upset at all.
Sometimes I have to wonder what age these books are aimed at as some of the tongue in cheek moments, double entendres and subtle innuendos don't seem so subtle and I read them out in trepidation. They are an enjoyable conundrum none the less and we can't wait for the next one to arrive.
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on 19 June 2012
The Pirates! in an Adventure with Moby Dick is a very short book; it takes less than an hour to read. It's obviously aimed at prepubescent boys who are heavily into silly humour and some jokes and the sexual innuendo will be above their head. I'm a grumpy old geezer who get's it, hopefully, but does my age preclude me from getting the silly jokes? I should hope not. I will happily watch and re-watch an Aardman production, and I read a fair number of YA books every year. Furthermore I would like add in my defense that I consider myself a fan of the likes of Terry Pratchett, that is someone who reads a LOT of humourous books.

I bought this book based on what I've already seen of the forthcoming animated movie and because it was a 'Daily Deal' for the Kindle.

Humour is a very personal thing no doubt, and I can see why many children and some adults will think this is funny, but it is definitely not "awesome", "brilliant" or "outstanding". The plotting leaves an awful lot to be desired, the writing style meanders between age levels, several of the jokes are too mature for the target readership and, worst of all, the whole effort seems very heavy handed. The word ham-fisted comes to mind, ham being something the author seems to be obsessed with.

I wanted to like this, but I'm sorry to say I didn't and could not bring myself to award a third star.
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on 20 May 2016
My daughter recommended this to me and it is the second Pirates book I have read, funny all the way through a pirate adventure with a difference. The characters are fun and I love the way none of the pirates is named just described if you have a sense if humour that stayed in your late teens try these books.
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on 20 August 2012
I like the concept and the writing style. The pirates are fun and quite endearing. The story has great potential. But it's just not funny enough, I wasn't laughing out loud, just a small smirk now and then. Easy reading, but for me, nothing special.
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on 26 January 2014
My daughter loved the film and the series but we are not sure about some of the language choices? Lots of asterixes which sometimes have to be taken with a pinch of salt. The plot is as allways filled with comedy and Gieon Defoe writes great plots.
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