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Literature / Vampirates

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Vampirates is a series of...either YA or Middle Age novels set in a long distant future of 2512 to 2513. The Earth has flooded in the last several hundred years, leading to piracy existing at an all time high and as a genuine occupation. Twins Connor and Grace Tempest find themselves in the midst of this world when a shipwreck leads them to seperate destinies; the first landing on a true out and out pirate ship, the former landing on a vessel of immortal Vampirates. As the two learn more and more about their respective worlds, a clash between Vampirates brews in the horizon, led by a dangerous renegade. Through the series, revelations are had regarding the twin's unknown past, new discoveries in the world, moral questions, and quite possibly, the fate of all seven seas.

There are currently six books in the series, all of which are available in the United States:

  • Demons of the Ocean (2005)
  • Tide of Terror (2006)
  • Blood Captain (2007)
  • Black Heart (2007)
  • Empire of Night (2010)
  • Immortal War (2012)

Additionally, a short story showcasing Connor, Jez Stukeley, and Bart's "lost weekend", Dead Deep was published in 2007, shortly after the release of Blood Captain

There has yet to be a "rival" series with werewolf ninjas. ...Or is there?

It has no relation to a webcomic by the same name, other than containing vampire pirates.

This series contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Cheng Li and Cutlass Cate.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Despite Molucco Wraithe being increasingly talked about in negative terms, once he dies, various characters talk about his good qualities and his legacy that he left behind.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Much of Jez's dialogue during his time with Sidorio in Book 2 reads like romantic interest, especially because of how much he focuses on his body. Even more so when other members of Sidorio's crew make an appearance and his tone turns very blatantly jealous about their role.
  • Apocalypse How: The setting for the story is that global warming and melting ice caps have caused much of the world to be covered with water, hence the age of anachronistic piracy.
  • As You Know: Several chapters of the later books often dedicate large swaths of conversation as a sort of Recap Episode for the previous books. Several of these recaps are characters who were involved in said conflict essentially recapping what they already both experienced
  • Backup from Otherworld: The climax of the final book ends with Grace summoning hoards of dead pirate ghosts to even out the odds of the battle.
  • Big "NO!":Stukeley utters one near the end of Tide of Terror.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sidorio is killed, and the seas are once more at peace. However, Lola still survives the final battle, a number of major characters die including Connor's captain Cheng Li, many more had lost their lives, and Connor will have to spend seven years entirely alone in order to remove his immortal genes from his body, meaning that Grace will (as an immortal) live to see her own brother die, even if she remains in love with her now husband, Lorcan
  • Canon Discontinuity
    • Repeatedly throughout Book 1, it is noted that Grace is drugged repeatedly via Lorcan and the Vampirate Captain, and then again by the chefs of The Nocturne. None of these events are mentioned again any time later when Grace recalls her initial experiences on the ship. The chefs are also not shown again.
    • Also in Book 1, Darcy Flotsam is mostly dismissed by Grace as The Ditz, generally loudmouthed and even regarded as a little annoying in the few experiences they have. By Book 2, despite sharing at most one conversation, Grace recalls Darcy with supreme fondness and regards her as one of her best friends.
    • Across the books, Connor has shown to be fiercly protective of Grace, and very mindful that she is okay. He, however, ignores her during the entirety of Tides of Terror , including when she nearly commits suicide and is forcibly drugged yet again by the Nurse. Neither of these incidents are ever brought up again
    • In Book 3, Blood Captain, Grace is almost murdered (and possibly assaulted) by Johnny Desperado, but is saved by Lorcan. This event, despite one thinking it would absolutely mean a shattering end to any kind of friendship, is never mentioned again. When Grace next sees Johnny in Empire of Night, she notes that she is happy to see him. This is likely due to wanting to make Johnny into a Lovable Rogue, and having attempted rape on his resume wouldn't help with this.
    • In Book 5, Connor meets with Kally the Fishtail, who was also present at the "Lost Weekend" that plagues Connor, Jez, and Bart. He remarks from her account that he now knows why Moonshine Wraithe was so mad at him during their first encounter. This completely ignores that Moonshine directly told him during their first encounter that he was present at their Lost Weekend.
    • Speaking of the Lost Weekend, within the short story Dead Deep, Sidorio manages to control a shark to attack the protagonists within said story. This power is never utilized ever again, and its exact limits are unknown. If it is full control of certain sea creatures, considering the setting of the books, this would give them an undeniable advantage.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Lola's marriage to Sidorio is announced Jez is worried about their position with Sidorio getting usurped. Johnny is worried about what he'll wear to the wedding.
  • Cool Mask: The Vampirate captain.
  • Cosmic Deadline: The sixth book is noticeably faster pasted and more event packed than all the other books.
  • Crapsack World: First of all, there's the flood, which would've decreased the amount of livable land mass and useable resources. Pirates are clearly the dominate force in the mortal realm, there isn't even a formal Navy to fight back the pirates, only privately hired security forces. And vampires like Lola Lockwood can hunt down any mortals they want for centuries without anyone to stop them. Oh, and just about every civilian town that is shown is described as a "dead-end town", like Crescent Moon Bay. And most donors decided to give their blood to Vampires out of destitution.
  • Creator's Pet: Grace. Almost all major developments in the story happen either through her or because of her, every character who interacts with her sings her praises, the lion's share of character development happens to her, the bulk of the chapters of the later books revolve around her, she gets a bevy of powers compared to Connor only getting his Dhampir abilities by the final book. Connor himself barely even seems to matter compared to her.
    • Johnny Desperado also falls into this category. Despite having almost murdered and assaulted Grace, and showing very little signs of remorse for his actions, Johnny continues to be saved via sheer luck and his romance with Grace is seen as almost as genuine as is hers with Lorcan. Grace frequently discusses how tragic he is.
  • Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: A number of characters employ these, although the worst offenders tend to be Lorcan and the Vampirate Captain. Much of the plot would vanish including Connor and Grace's parentage and status as Dhampirs if the two spoke without the needless riddles, meandering statements and half-truths. Mosh Zu also gets a notice for this, frequently spouting mostly pointless predictions
  • Dead Sidekick: Jez Stukeley in Tide of Terror, which prompts Connor to question the contract he signed with Captain Wrathe. Jez doesn't stay dead, though.
  • Deadly Deferred Conversation: Bart promises Cate that he will bring up an important conversation when he returns after getting Connor in Empire of Night. He does not return, being killed by Lola as part of a gift for Connor. We learn from a conversation that he was going to propose to her, even carrying the ring he promised to give her.
  • Deus ex Machina: Connor and Grace spend the middle third of Empire of Night on board the enemy ships, slowly being slipped blood in their food and being led down a dark pathway towards evil. The books make it clear that neither of them are aware of this happening, which leads to Grace having a big blowout with Darcy and falling for Johnny Desperado and Connor leaving his friends behind, which leads to Bart being killed by Lola as a "gift" for Connor. Within one chapter, however, Connor and Grace both immediately discover that they're being played, Grace points out the blood spiking of their food, and the rapid change to both of their personalities completely disappears. The two become fully good only two chapters later.
  • Devil's Advocate: Cutlass Cate is this for Molucco Wraithe. Despite the man blaming her for the death of Jez Stukeley, she continues to claim he is a good and fair captain, and chastises Connor to Cheng Li for breaking his contract with him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Johnny Desperado has no problemo with killing people and drinking their blood. But he couldn't bring himself to kill Lola's baby Evil like Jez ordered him to, so he instead brings him to Grace for her to raise.
    • Also, Lola saying "Who would do such a thing!?" when her blood-wine cellar is wrecked.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Sort of; it's on the back of the book and sung in-story by characters.
  • Extranormal Institute: Pirate Academy.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Intentionally used by the crew of The Vagabond in the beginning of Book 4, as they wring out information from Johnny and Stukeley. The latter two even use the same lines.
    • Connor and Kally the Fishtail also count for this, seeing as both met on the Noodle Incident of The Lost Weekend.
  • Heroic BSoD: The Nocturne Captain when a number of his crew abandons him to join Sidorio.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted. In Book 6, Immortal War, a prophecy suggests one of the twins will have to sacrifice their own life. While Grace believes it to be her, Connor instead takes a fatal blow from Sidorio that leads to him being taken down. It's revealed in the epilogue, however, that this was simply a clone of Connor using his recently discovered Vampirate powers
  • Honorable Warrior's Death: Commodore Kuo has one, as he pushes himself against his own sword telepathically held by Lola Lockwood, wasting some of his precious blood on the deck of her ship, much to her mild annoyance
  • Horrible Judge of Character: A number of characters could get this description, but Grace is by far the standout. Described as the "smarter" of the Tempest Twins, she routinely overly trusts any character who is remotely nice to her at any moment and rarely suspects a trap or some kind of manipulation to the point that she puts herself in needless danger out of "curiosity". This applies to Johnny Desperado, who for the record Attempted Rape on Grace, as well as Lola Lockwood, who cannot speak a single word without sounding like she's going to betray you. Even Connor manages to pick these attempts out easier.
  • Idiot Ball: Grace, despite being repeatedly described as the smart twin, is dumb as rocks.
  • Immortality Hurts: The Donors onboard The Nocturne are as immortal as the Vampirates they feed...until they stop feeding them, in which case they age at extremely fast rates, and will most likely die if left without a Vampirate for too long. Apparently the Vampirate Captain can circumvent this restriction.
  • Implied Rape: The "pregnancy spell" which Sidorio uses on Sally to birth Connor and Grace never uses the word itself, but it is exactly what is done, especially as she is unconscious at the time of the ritual
  • Informed Ability: Grace's intelligence.
    • The same thing happens in Tide of Terror. Connor calls her the stronger of the two, when she spends a good chunk of the book locked in her room at the Academy moping about the Vampirate ship.
  • Instant Expert: Connor's skill with piracy in general. After around three months of on-the-job training, he's about as good with swords as people with a decade of experience, starting from youth. To the writer's credit, despite the massive hype in-story about his skills, he's still apparently inferior to his peers. His skill is implied to be supernatural in origin.
    • Applies rather more Egregiously to Grace as of the fifth book.
  • Kill It with Fire: Attempted by Connor early on. It's pretty successful, except for Jez and Sidorio, who somehow just get stronger for it.
  • Left Hanging: This could almost be a page in itself
    • Arguably the most disappointing for the fans: Lorcan never reveals his crossing over story to Grace. His hints about the danger it was and his rowdy twin brother will forever be unmentioned. Especially hurts as it is teased almost every book when the two are together.
    • Mosh Zu, vital character to books 3 through 5, vanishes for almost the entirety of Book 6, despite much of the plot revolving around the prophecy that he foretold centuries prior. The series acts as if he and Grace might finally share words about his vague nonanswers, but nothing ever comes of it.
    • The Connor/Jacoby/Jasmine love triangle, another important element of Books 3, 4, and 5, goes entirely unresolved despite coming up again in the final book. It's arguable that Connor's "death" does put a stop to this, but nothing is ever mentioned between Jasmine and Jacoby after the funeral.
    • Jez Stukeley, former best friend to Connor and Bart, spends the entirety of Book 2 and parts of Book 3 and 4 as a character manipulated and corrupted by the environment he is made to be part of, even expressing guilt and sorrow for his violent actions both committed by him and Sidorio. Even as late as Book 5, he discusses his emotions with Connor about how he almost dislikes being a Vampire. This thread vanishes after this scene, and Jez is almost entirely absent from the plot of Book 6, and despite having no reason to fear Lola after Sidorio's death, remains part of her crew.
    • Moonshine Wraithe is introduced as a foil to Connor in Book 3, having experienced some conflict with him during the Lost Weekend, but he mostly remains bumbling around for most of the book. He momentarily returns for Book 4 after his mother is threatened by Lola, then disappears for the entirety of Book 5. His few moments in the final book introduce that he abuses pain medication and possibly has ADHD, but neither of these comments are elaborated on and he disappears once more until the very end.
    • Olivier, Mosh Zu's assistant and secret Dhampir is a conflict character for most of book 3, secretly giving Sidorio access to Sanctuary and finally betraying Mosh Zu in the ending conflict before being rejected. He disappears for the entirety of Books 4 and 5 aside from a single mention, then returns to confront Grace in the final book, joins with Lola and Sidorio before eventually giving away one of Lola's children to Johnny to give to Grace. His fate is unknown.
    • The mention of "Land Vampirates" in Book 6, and their leader, Eternal Dewinter, as a significant political and power group is mentioned in one failed discussion scene where they learn that Johnny is also dead.
  • Love Triangle: Between Grace, Lorcan and Johnny. There's one between Connor, Jasmine and Jacoby as well.
    • Additionally, you can make the argument that this also happens with Jez, Sidorio, and his other recruits in Book 2. Much of the dialogue from Jez's point of view borders on romantic, and he is jealous that another Vampirate might take his place.
  • Mood Whiplash: A number of scenes could apply to this, although one standout is during the wedding of Lola and Sidorio. The scene itself is mostly serious, but we cut from a dramatic realization that their target was not dead, to them cutting off Lola's head, and Sidorio running after the head downhill like a Looney Tunes sketch
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: Played with. Random vampires don't seem to be that hard to kill. However, older vampires, and those they sire seem to be immune to certain weaknesses.
    • Case in point is Lola. After testing Hawthorne stakes, silver, and garlic/wolfsbane on Vampires and finding them lethal, the pirates try to kill Lola with a sword infused with all three elements. Stabbing her once doesn't work. Stabbing her twice doesn't work either. so they decapitate her. No-Sell.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: They're vampires and pirates!
    • And lets not forget Johnny who is a Cowoboy-Pirate-Vampire!
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: While The Feast is usually quite peaceful, Sidorio's part has elements of this.
  • Noodle Incident: Before the short story written well after the series, the "Lost Weekend" that Connor, Jez, and Bart had where a number of important series characters appeared and multiple apparently groundbreaking events occurred was only mentioned, but never shown.
  • Open Secret: Vampirates...existing. The Vampirates do very little to actually hide their existence to the world enough that the Pirate Federation has an entire secret vault dedicated to chronicling their existence, a number of regular humans have repeatedly encountered them...and yet by Book 1, they are treated as little more than a tall tale or a rumor.
  • Prophecy Twist: Mosh Zu's prophecy notes that one of the twins will have to enter the world of the dead. Most people who hear this prophecy assume it means that either Connor or Grace will have to die. Grace instead simply learns how to pass into the land of the dead temporarily during the final battle
  • Punny Name: Darcy Flotsam eventually falls in love with and marries a man named Jet Jetsam
  • Red Right Hand: Sidorio's golden fangs.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Jez Stukeley, the third of The Three Buccaneers with Connor and Bart, loyal friend and great companion, helped a number of characters through rough experiences...did not exist in the entirety of Book 1, and is retroactively given importance simply via characters saying that yes, he was always there and always a good guy. This tends to make attempts at emotion with his friendship with Connor or Bart ring hollow, as we are only told they've had such encounters.
  • Schizo Tech: This could be a whole page in itself
    • Despite all of the attire appearing to resemble the 17th century ships, sweatshirts and tennis shoes are both also present. As well as sunglasses.
    • Connor has been said to have watched a movie within his high school class, meaning that electricity still exist and movies still exist.
    • Ma Kettle's Tavern has electricity enough for neon signs and an electronic dance floor. Both of these are rarely commented on again.
    • At least two characters mention the existence of motorboats, making the use of centuries old ship technology seem even more ridiculous
    • The stories of Nancy Drew and Oliver Twist are both mentioned. Whether or not these stories would exist into the year 2512 is debatable.
    • The pirates have no powered weapons of their own, but are capable of storing items like watermelons and yogurt for months at a time on the ocean. How these remain intact with no mentioned refrigeration is a mystery.
    • Book 6, Immortal War adds in actual ambulances to the mix, once more making the use of 17th century ships feel wildly out of place.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: In Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean, two characters nicknamed "Toothless Jack" and "Stinkbomb", the latter of whom is known for farting frequently and the former having threatened Connor are set up as sort of comedic but generic bully characters. Aside from one more mention in the same book, the two characters completely disappear and are never mentioned again. Likely author Justin Somper thought the crass humor clashed with the serious tone.
    • The former does get mentioned in the final book, although he lacks his former silly personality.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Extremely idealistic, despite being rather dark at times and rather cavalier about violence. The villains are capable of love and tend to be reasonable and even compassionate towards the protagonists later on in the series, despite being murderous sociopaths who have murdered the heroes' loved ones. The pirates, for their part, are ridiculously willing to give the pirates the benefit of the doubt or chat them up, even in the middle of pitched battles.
    • The view of piracy becomes gradually more cynical as the series progresses, because almost all of them end up being legitimately murderous, unlawful, or backstabbing. However, the pirates themselves get teary eyed over how honorable their profession is, so its a bit of an odd example.
  • Sliding Scale of Vampire Friendliness: On the friendly end of the spectrum. The vampirates can live off of willing donors and use a scheduled feeding ritual. Sidorio, on the other hand...
    • It's implied that some or most of the Vampires have naturally diminished intellect, which makes them fairly easy to fool and/or befriend.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Molucco Wrathe. Routinely treated as an Entitled Bastard by the plot, virtually all of his objections and comments about why something won't work or concerns by other parties being shot down comes back to bite him in the end. Even once he gets a high position in the Pirate Federation, he still is often shut down for being a neg. His death is arguably caused by his inability to follow instructions from someone he hates
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: The Vampirate Captain is a being that we are told is powerful, possibly one of the strongest characters in the series, and yet he never uses this power when one of his own crew members is clearly evil and almost murdered Connor and Grace's mother after forcibly impregnating her. At most he sighs and wags his finger and hopes the problem will be solved. Even more so once Jez Stukeley actively hatches a mutiny on board his own ship and the Vampirate Captain simply watches in shock as this happens.
    • Mosh Zu repeats the same mistake when Sidorio essentially does the same thing with the patients of Sanctuary, despite also being an extremely powerful Vampirate with magical powers.
    • The other three Cardinals, of which Obsidian Darke/the Vampirate Captain is part of, assist in a single battle before chastising needing to be called at all and leave the story entirely
  • The Starscream: Jez and Johnny (mostly the former) become this when Lola starts getting into Sidorio's life.
  • Spaceship Girl: Variant: the ship's figurehead is animate at night.
  • Taking You with Me: In the 6th book Cheng Li exposes Johnny to sunlight, but with his dying strength, Johnny manages to grab Cheng Li and take them both out a window, hoping to drown her, as he dies from the sunlight. However, they both end up surviving this encounter.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Mankind apparently accomplishes very little in the next half-millennium.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Between Lola and Sidorio.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: A variation. Sidorio will frequently perform random somersaults in the air when entering or exiting scenes. Johnny also does this by performing a double backflip off the side of The Nocturne in Empire of Night
  • Villainous Breakdown: Lola Lockwood, when her "wine" cellar is vandalized.