Jill fences, and the book begins with her at a fencing tournament. She is competing against another girl for third place, but she loses and gets fourth instead. I can see being a little disappointed at that, especially because Jill only lost by less than a split second, but still, fourth place in a national fencing tournament, not bad, right? Well, apparently, it's not good enough for Jill, who spends the next several weeks (weeks plural) moping. If she were just a little disappointed, it would be fine, but no. Jill's parents take her to the Bahamas for a vacation and all she can do is stay in a hammock and think about how she just wasn't good enough. Ok, maybe it's just me, but I think fourth place in a national tournament is pretty good.
Once Jill gets past moping, which does not actually take up a lot of pages, it just bugged me a lot, the story got a bit more interesting. While on a walk along the beach, she finds the tip of a sword. Later, while on a tour, she falls off the boat and spends a couple minutes drowning. When she finds the surface again, her tour boat is nowhere in sight. Instead, she gets picked up by a bunch of pirates. The captain, Marjory Cooper, recognizes the blade tip, but won't give its significance, so the book has a bit of "mystery" in it (mystery as long as you ignore the fact that you can see what's coming next).
The end, which I suppose had to happen, also bugged me a little. How is a high school fencer (who couldn't even get third place) supposed to beat the evil pirate who has been fighting to live for a lifetime? I suppose that's kind of the point, that she got confident, and she improved, but it's still a little unrealistic. It was also a bit difficult to tell how much time had passed, so maybe she had been learning to fight for a really long time and I just don't know it.
This book is a 2.8. The characters were one dimensional, and it didn't engage me very much. I was really looking forward to this book. I did, however, enjoy the chapter titles. They were all fencing terms and it was cool as well as appropriate. I also enjoyed the overall concept. And Jill was épée, which is definitely the best fencing weapon. It's like a cheap sandwich that looks really good and has stuff you like in it. You get it, and you really want it, then you eat it, and it just doesn't taste very good.