Friday, June 16, 2017

Blacksouls ~ Nicole Castroman (earc) review [@nicolecastroman @Simonteen]

Blacksouls (Blackheart #2)
Simon Pulse
April 11, 2017
400 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Nicole Castroman brings the dangerous pirate ports of the Caribbean to life in this vibrant sequel to Blackhearts—the reimagined origin story of history’s most infamous pirate, Blackbeard.

Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.

Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.

Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.

After the ending of Blackheartsyou knew it was not going to be a Happily Ever After for Teach and Anne - at least not an easy one. Even when things started to look up, like they were going more positively for the two something else would happen (or be looming over them with the possibility of happening) that I started to despair at them ever not being separated.

Nicole Castroman does a fantastic job giving readers a glimpse at life in Nassau and aboard different kinds of ship in the late 17th, early 18th century. It seemed that here was greater attention (versus in Blackhearts) given to Anne's place in a white world (with a Caribbean mother and white father). Slavery and slavers are more present and a part of this book. We can see how slavery affects Anne both emotionally and mentally but also in how others view her. It is more that Anne and Teach have to contend with and a smart inclusion.

Even if you think you know Blackbeard and can guess where things are going, how something will happen or even what will happen, Blacksouls will surprise you. Everything fit incredibly well with the time period and location, even with some of what we know historically, while also being unpredictable and surprising. Castroman takes a more modern approach to who Blackbeard might have been - and why. It makes for a great read.

I loved Anne even more in this book than the first. She is strong and smart, she loves Teach, she doesn't quite seem to fit in and is looking for somewhere she does. I liked that we (and she) got to see more of the world and a look at her place in it.

The new characters we meet in Blacksouls were all great additions to the story - even those who were amazingly not great people - and I enjoyed the roles they played in the characters lives. (Along with the possibilities they presented for the future, both within the book and after the story ended.)

Blackhearts and Blacksouls were everything I wanted this 'origin pirate story' to be but so, so much more. The characters are smart the attention given to the time period, views on race in both England and the Caribbean (and slavery), and how women were viewed and treated is fantastic. This is a great romance that builds through the tow books - and that faces more than a few hardships. The Blackhearts books are a must read.

digital copy received for review from publisher via NetGalley

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