Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Non-Fiction

UPDATED REVIEW: Pirate Queen: The Legend of Grace O’Malley By Tony Lee and Sam Hart

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*Historical Spoilers*

A true daughter of the fearsome O’Malley clan, Grace spent her life wishing to join the fight to keep Henry VIII’s armies from invading her homeland of Ireland — only to be told again and again that the battlefield is no place for a woman. But after English conspirators brutally murder her husband, Grace can no longer stand idly by. Leading men into battle on the high seas, Grace O’Malley quickly gains a formidable reputation as the Pirate Queen of Ireland with her prowess as a sailor and skill with a sword. But her newfound notoriety puts the lives of Grace and her entire family in danger and eventually leads to a confrontation with the most powerful woman in England: Queen Elizabeth I. With a gripping narrative and vivid, action-packed illustrations, the fourth entry in Tony Lee and Sam Hart’s Heroes and Heroines series captures the intensity and passion of one of history’s fiercest female warriors.


I have been waiting for a long time to find a good pirate story. Sure it’s nonfiction, however, Pirate Queen takes the high-stakes adventures of pirating up to 11. I love how this is not just a story about pirates and how they were degenerates and on the lowest caste of society. This is a story about how a woman saw that her country needed her, and not only stepped up to the plate, but made a name for herself as the Queen of the Pirates.

I am not familiar with the time period or Grace O’Malley and I think this graphic novel does an excellent job at telling a complicated story. A story that I imagine has been lost to time to a certain extent due to the “colonization” of Ireland. I never felt lost or confused as the story progressed and seeing how not only Grace’s worldview changed over time, but the world as a whole was changing.

My favorite part was how the O’Malley clan was deep in a battle and Grace was below decks giving birth to a baby boy. As soon as the birth was complete, she wrapped her baby up and went to confront the British soldiers. So awesome to see how progressive she was for her time.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Overall, I enjoyed Pirate Queen. There was plenty of swashbuckling action as well as plenty of heart and emotion. I think if you liked the movie Brave or are itching for a good pirate story then I would highly recommend checking this graphic novel out.