Hunt for the Hydra, the first installment of The Jupiter Pirates series is billed as Treasure Island meets Battlestar Galactica. Really, it's a story of sibling rivalry, economic conspiracy, and steampunk ingenuity wrapped in a space-pirate package. It's certainly an above-average read, but kids looking for a space adventure, packed with laser canons, exotic aliens, and a mythical beast will likely be disappointed.
The year is 2893 A.D., and the Hashoone family travels through space in a privateer ship with a small but capable crew. The three siblings are all vying to take their mother's place as the next captain of their home ship, the Shadow Comet. There are personality clashes, intriguing situations, and mysteries to be solved, but not much of the shoot-'em-up action invoked by the title or the jacket description.
My favorite parts of the book involve the grandfather, who lives on the ship with his family. The pirating days of his youth have left him with an assortment of mechanical body parts. He's the real pirate, and he has the scars to prove it! A book featuring irascible grandpa and the kids journeying through space in search of adventure would probably be more enjoyable.
The action heats-up in the final few chapters, and readers looking for battle sequences will certainly find them ... if they're still reading. The author makes it easy to get to know the ship, with drawings and descriptions. Higher-level readers looking to immerse themselves into the intricacies of the Shadow Comet and an alien world will devour this book. Students looking for a pirate story with photon torpedoes and light-sabers - not so much.