Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren’t used as much as she’d like. She has a Bachelor’s in English Writing and a Master’s in Library Science and Information Technology. When she’s not writing she’s either working out or pretending she’s Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she’s loved everything Fantasy–resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the ‘geek’ tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go.
from his tyrant uncle, but his plans to make the King’s life a living hell
aren’t supported by the Elders of the pirate community. As it stands, Barren
has earned the Elders’ disdain for his carelessness, and they threaten him into
exile if he makes one more mistake.
Elders’ wrath—they don’t trust Larkin either. Worse, Barren can’t comprehend
Larkin’s wish to have a relationship with her father, and the secrets she’s
forced to keep create a tension that may pull them apart forever.
die, bullets laced with dark magic are to blame. With more and more of these
weapons infiltrating the Underground, discovering who’s behind the
dissemination is no easy feat. As fear and tension mount among the people of
the Orient, Barren and his crew find themselves in a race against time to stop
the spread of dark magic before the world of Mariana spirals into collapse.
Two reviews by Maria.
This is a review of Cutlass:
Captain Barren Reed has searched for a way to get revenge on his brother, William, for killing their father by running a sword through his back. Revenge is all he’s wanted for years. He rises in ranks and becomes a teenage pirate captain. Pirating is his family’s way of life despite being in the royal lineage. William has sworn off pirating and has his eye on moving up in station. He has sworn to hunt down and bring pirates to justice. Barren has found the perfect plan for his revenge, kidnap William’s fiancé right under his nose and challenge William to a duel for her return. Only Barren gets more than he bargained for in kidnapping Larkin Lee.
Barren isn’t as bloodthirsty as the rumors say. Everyone says he’ll kill anyone his ship comes across. But really he gives his captives a choice every time: strip themselves of belongings and cargo and go back to town humiliated, or he’ll have his crew kill them. Barren shows mercy when most captains would not. He is a smart and fearless leader of his crew of men, despite being only a teenager himself. He is compassionate and loyal to his men. He even has a softer side he keeps hidden from all. He is obsessed with killing William through quite a bit of the story, but this obsession doesn’t overtake the story. Instead, it adds to his character, since he feels guilty over his father’s death and also wants to avenge him. Barren is every bit the pirate worthy of having his own story.Larkin is surprisingly well versed in matters of fighting and learning for the time period. She knows how to fence and is almost Barren’s equal and proves her level of swordsmanship in their first fight. She is feisty, witty, and brave. She has her own mind, thoughts, and opinions she’s not afraid to voice. She won’t let anyone tell her what to do. But her one vulnerability is pleasing her distant father. He’s promised her hand in marriage to William, and she has agreed, even though she doesn’t care for him. When she’s kidnapped by Barren, it’s wonderful seeing this character coming into her full potential as a woman and a leader.I have had a long love affair with pirates my whole life; from classics like Peter Pan, Treasure Island to The Princess Bride and more recently The Pirates of the Caribbean. This book lives up to its genre and beyond. The action, adventure, and romance was intense and exciting. It was full of secrets and drama and bloodthirsty battles. I was captivated for every single page!
Barren, Larkin, and the rest of Barren’s pirate crew are still reeling from the aftermath of so many betrayals. But before Barren can seek his uncle and cousin’s out for retribution, he is summoned before the council of pirate elders to answer for his crimes, including kidnapping Larkin. Cove once again proves himself a great alley and swears to guide Barren, but if Barren commits more havoc against their community the elders will exile both of them.
Quite a bit more magic appeared in this book. Barren and Larkin individually find themselves struggling with magic. Larkin struggles to come to terms with new abilities while Barren deals with the repercussions of the bloodstone. It was interesting that neither character would confide in each other about their struggles. This showed how strong these two characters are and how they are very much their own separate persons. Also how they are able trust each other with their lives, and though they might love each other, they still have a long way to go in trusting each other fully with their hearts.The romance between Larkin and Barren took some giant leaps only to repeatedly fall flat on it’s face. As I had mentioned they both are keeping big secrets from each other. And neither is terribly sure how the other feels. But it was nice to see both individually come to true terms about how they felt, even if they haven’t admitted it yet.Leap started to get more character development this time. When he wasn’t busy comically foiling Larkin and Barren’s romantic alone moments, that is. He spent a great deal of time, as usual, being Barren’s voice of restraint and reason, as he doesn’t want to see his best friend exiled. He was a shoulder for Barren to lean on many times. He also continued to deal with being away from his elven people and struggled now that Barren’s become aware of Leap’s lost love. As much as Leap brings the comic relief to this story, he also is a strong character in his own right as friend, protector, and warrior. He endures struggles of his own in this book, which add to his depth.Cove became a main character as well in this book. He is such an interesting character because while he is secretly loyal and an ally to the pirates, he is also a member of the government and polite society. He could stand to lose everything, even his life, if this association were brought to light. But he continues to be unwavering in his support and friendship with Barren. Cove also got a bit of romance this time around. His rival became engaged to Cove’s long love. So Cove became a little more human and approachable while he endured his forbidden affections.
Flintlock was more focused on the characters and developing them and their ties to each other, rather than the action or pirate life. There were real stakes and trials for every character in this book and I can’t wait to see where this series goes!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. It is appropriate for young adult and adult readers.
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