(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Note: Although this review will not contain spoilers for Blacksouls, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, Blackhearts. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.
Although it tells the imagined origin story of one of the most famous pirates of all time, Nicole Castroman's Blackhearts trilogy actually begins with very little swashbuckling. For those of you who found the first installment a little lacking in yo-ho-ho, don't despair! Blacksouls, the second book, will cheer your inner Jack Sparrow right up. Packed with high-seas action, it will keep you riveted in a way that maybe Blackhearts didn't. I found the first novel engrossing, but Blacksouls definitely edges out its predecessor in terms of tension, adventure, and excitement.
When Blacksouls begins, both Edward "Teach" Drummond and Anne Barrett are making their way across the sea to Nassau, where they hope to reunite. While a romance between the son of a wealthy British merchant and the bi-racial daughter of a black slave has little chance of thriving in rigid English society, perhaps it might flourish in the Bahamas. But first, the couple has to find each other.
Teach is happy to be first mate of the Deliverance until a disagreement with the captain causes him to question whether his superior really has the crew's best interest in mind. There's only one way to keep himself and his mates safe from attacking Spanish ships—mutiny. Teach doesn't want to risk his neck only to find himself hanging by it back in England, but there's no other solution. Will he survive long enough to reach his love in Nassau?
Although Anne has arrived in Nassau mostly unscathed, it quickly becomes apparent that safety is a relative term. On an island already teeming with discord and danger, stirring up trouble is a very, very bad idea. Especially when the man in charge might be the most treacherous of them all. All Anne wants is a long, peaceful reunion with Teach, a dream which grows more unlikely every day ...
Chock-full of tense action, Blacksouls is engaging from the get-go. The intensity never lets up, guaranteeing a wild, nail-biter of a boat ride. The novel is a page turner that demands to be read in one sitting—you won't be able to put it down anyway. It's not a super original pirate story, but who cares? Blacksouls is fun, exciting, and peopled with lovable characters brimming with bravery, loyalty, and determination. I, for one, have thoroughly enjoyed this series. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how Castroman wraps up the story in the final installment.
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, and sexual innuendo
To the FTC, with love: I bought a copy of Blacksouls from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.