While Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is winding down from its successful box office run, fans can get even more out of a tie-in book called The Brightest Star in the North. When I saw the film, I was really taken with the character of Carina Smyth, an aspiring astronomer who finds herself branded a witch simply for being an educated woman. We also learn her family lineage at the end of the film in one of the more emotional scenes from the Pirates franchise.
This book starts with a prologue where a man leaves infant Carina on the steps of an orphanage in England with nothing but the diary of Galileo Galilei. The first section, “The Orphan’s Token,” covers young Carina’s life in the orphanage and her struggles to protect the one item left to her as an identifier, her “token’ diary with a ruby on it. Because of the jewel’s value, a lot of people in her life would love to steal it from her. But little do they know of the real treasure inside and Carina is always on the search for someone who can teach her Italian so she can learn to read the diary’s contents.
The second and third sections cover how Carina became an astronomer. It’s full of twists and turns and you really appreciate the character’s drive and dedication It’s a shame this section isn’t a little longer as the characters she comes to meet could have used a little more development and time to grow. This section ends with Carina on her way to Saint Martin with the hopes of working with a renowned astronomer.
The final section, “The Caribbean,” picks up where the movie starts with Carina in jail. Of the book’s 234 pages, this section lasts for 95 of them (more than a third). This would be of service to anyone who hasn’t seen the film yet, but your interest in the book is likely a result of enjoying the film and my expectations were that the book would take you right up to the start of the film. At any rate, it allows you to relive Carina’s adventures with Jack Sparrow to arrive at her ultimate happy ending.
Overall, I enjoyed The Brightest Star in the North. Carina Smyth is a great character and this book inspires readers to work harder to achieve their dreams. I just wish the content on the pages were fully original, rather than spending a significant amount of time rehashing the plot of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.