Chronicles of the Twenty-One Butterflies: Butterfly Island

Butterfly Island coverChris Seabranch’s series Chronicles of the Twenty-One Butterflies is off to a great start with this book. The Twenty-One Butterflies are a group of female pirates who have escaped an often brutal life to survive on their own with their pirate sisters.

One of my favorite passages in the story is “Every female pirate was once a scared little girl fleeing from something. However, even small girls can become death on the horizon and make grown men tremble in fear.” They are also one of the toughest band of pirates in the Gallows Sound cluster of islands and the local government (comprised of men) are not happy about it.

Casey, is one of those scared little girls who is fleeing the cruelty of her step-father, the selfish machinations of the Governor and the brutality of his son who is scheduled to marry her despite her and her mother’s protests. Casey escapes her wedding, with the help of her mother, who sends her off with the admonition to find the Twenty-One Butterflies.

While fleeing the men who are hunting her, Casey stumbles upon a retired member of the group who agrees to take her to their headquarters on Butterfly Island. There 15-year old Casey is left alone to brave the dangers of the island and gain acceptance into the group. Becoming a Butterfly is not an easy task and Casey must prove herself to these band of pirates or be left to die on the island.  She eventually befriends a few of the younger members of the group and works hard to prove that she belongs. Just as she begins to gain traction — everything goes wrong.

I really enjoyed this book because it was grounded in reality (sans the pirates, killer moths and zombie ladies). The setbacks that Casey experiences are they type that any teenage girl can find herself in — love and breakup, making new friends (or not), exploring who she is as a person and redefining her image of herself. The choices that she makes, as with all of our choices, sometimes have unexpected perks and sorrows, but all of these bumps and bruises shape who we become as an adult.

When I began reading the book, I thought that this was going to go along the lines of teenage lost love/angst (Casey was engaged to a young man named Jack before her stepfather came into the picture) but I’m happy to say that it didn’t. Jack and Casey do meet up again in the book, but the once simple answers no longer apply and their earlier relationship is reevaluated. We don’t know how things will end up since we have four more books to go, but their reunion scenes felt genuine and realistic.

I really enjoyed Chris Seabranch’s story and look forward to following up with Casey and her crew in their next adventure Maelstrom. Butterfly Island is available on Kindle for free, so there’s no time like the present to delve into the Butterfly universe. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the ride!

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