5 Must-Read Pirate Books


[Note from Frolic: This post is brought to you by our friends at Candlewick Press. Looking for your next pirate read? Look no further than The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, out now!]

You may not know this, but I have had an unhealthy obsession with pirate lore ever since I was a kid. I absolutely love the sea and gigantic ships, not to mention the adventure that comes along with such tales. I love getting lost in sea-faring adventures, and having some epic sea battles are just an added bonus! If you’re looking to up your pirate game, check out 5 of my all time favorite pirate books! 

1.) The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

A desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial daughter find a connection on the high seas in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic.

Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian.

Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself.

This one really needs no explanation. Pirate witches, mermaids, and a romance to die for! I love unlikely romances, especially when it involves a pirate and a royal Lady! 

2.) The Maiden Ship by Micheline Ryckman

Dain Alloway was only nine years old when he began a new life with his father, sailing aboard The Maiden. Eight years later, the aristocratic city-boy turned merchant-sailor feels like he lives with one foot on land, and one foot in the sea. Life floats smoothly by until the night he wakes to find a mysterious woman in his cabin.

The events that unfold after her appearance transform Dain’s world. Now, hunted by empty-faced demons, he finds himself thrown into a dangerous web of intrigue and magic. As the crisis grows, the young sailor discovers powerful gifts buried deep within, talents that might shift the tide of a centuries-old war. Whether or not he’s ready, Dain will have to risk it all for the salvation and freedom of those he loves.

This book is stunning. First, let’s appreciate that cover! Beauty alone, this novel has everything seafaring and romantic! If you’re looking for an instant page turner, definitely give this one a go! 

3.) Ship of Smoke and Steel by Django Wexler 

In the lower wards of Kahnzoka, the great port city of the Blessed Empire, eighteen-year-old ward boss Isoka comes to collect when there’s money owing. When her ability to access the Well of Combat is discovered by the Empire—an ability she should have declared and placed at His Imperial Majesty’s service—she’s sent on an impossible mission: steal Soliton, a legendary ghost ship—a ship from which no one has ever returned. If she fails, her sister’s life is forfeit.

Two words: Ghost. Ship. Chock full of adventure and peril, this book  is guaranteed to have you deep in your feelings. 

4.) Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.


Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences.


Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world.


When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.

This book completely ruined me, and I mean that in the best way possible. Once I finished it, I was desperate to get my hands on the second book! Mixed with magic and lovable characters, Dark Shores is a book that you’ll instantly be hooked on! (Haha, more fishing/sea jokes). 

5.) To Catch A Pirate by Jade Parker 

Once caught, it’s harder still to let a pirate go

When Annalisa Townsend’s ship is set upon by pirates in search of her father’s treasure, one of the crew, James Sterling, discovers her in the hold. When he moves to take her necklace, she begs him not to, as it is all she has left of her mother. He accepts a kiss in exchange for the necklace. “A fair trade, m’lady,” he tells her afterward, before disappearing.

A year later, with a forged letter of marque, Annalisa is intent on hunting down the wretched James Sterling and reclaiming her father’s treasure from him. But now she’s in danger of him stealing something far more vulnerable this time: her heart.

Don’t think I forgot about you romance readers! Now this is a classic pirate romance read. If you’re looking for something where love is the main point of your pirate tale, this oldie is a definite must read! 

Who’s your favorite staple pirate? I must say, I’ve always had a soft spot for Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Carribean! Let us know yours below! 

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