On Stranger Tides: The Original Pirates of The Caribbean

Updated on June 29, 2018

On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers

On Stranger Tides By Tim Powers Smoothie Review

Last Labor Day weekend, my Kindle had an insane sale, where there were so many interesting new books and many of my old favorites for two dollars a piece. So I got a lot of books backlogged onto my reading list and a few months later I’m beginning to work on reducing that list a bit. So where to start? I decided to start with Stranger Tides by Tim Powers.

So what is it about? It’s a supernatural pirate swashbuckling adventure. Sounds familiar? Rumor has it that this book was a great influence for Disney when they made the first Pirates of the Caribean movie. And after reading this, I believe it. The book follows John Chadagnac who has left family businesses of puppeteering behind to find his uncle, who had swindled inheritance away from his father. It all seemed smooths sailing and he even befriends a girl named Elizabeth Harwood. But one day pirates attack. Much to the surprise of the crew Elizabeth’s father is allied with the pirates alongside the ship's physician. And after the battle ends in defeat with the bad guys, John is taken in servitude into the pirate crew because he took a swing at the pirate captain Davies.

From there on John is thrown into the life of piracy. And he becomes a reluctant pirate, where the lines of moral values have begun to blur. He begins to see Davies as a good man. He sees the faults in the legal system. And even though his whole world is changing there is a much bigger issue. It’s that Elizabeth Harwood. Her father is leading them on an expedition to the fountain of youth and the girl is being prepped for some awful voodoo ritual. And that is his motivation throughout the book. If nothing else, he plans to get Beth away and safe.

So the good? First of all, this is a great pirate fantasy similar to Pirates of the Caribbean. It has undead pirates, a cursed Blackbeard, ghost ships, voodoo, sorcerers and the fountain of youth. The book plays with reader a little bit. It makes you wonder if its superstition or real magic for a long time until something undeniably fantastical happens and I like that. John’s story is also great. His odyssey of becoming one of the last pirates at the end of the age of piracy is interesting tale. It’s like the end of the Wild West. It is such a great personal journey. The action is great. And lastly, there are just not that many good pirate novels around and less so with fantasy mixed in. So this book is very unique.

The bad? The book moves quickly, and it’s a dense as well. There is not an ounce of fluff. Its feels much older that its 1987 publication date, so if you only read young adult novels, this might be a bit of a difficult read. Also at the same time the book does expect you to know what parts of a 1600 ship are called, which is confusing to some readers in 2017. Also Elizabeth is a damsel in distress. She probably has a dozen lines of dialogue in the book at most. For the rest of the book, she is whimpering, in shock, or has passed out. As the only female character in this book, that is a shame.

Overall, this is a great book. Its imagination fun adventure that is worth checking out. It’s just so darn fun. It’s a must read.

4 Smoothies out of Four

Overall Rating: The Original Pirates of The Caribbean

Have You Read This Book?

Share Your Opinion. What Did You Think?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)