All-girl pirates, guys. Sisterhood and nautical badassery. I don't have a better intro. Just...awesome girl pirates.
After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, who have lost their families and homes because of Aric and his men. The crew has one mission: stay alive, and take down Aric's armed and armored fleet.
But when Caledonia's best friend and second-in-command barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all . . . or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for?
First of all, you can't really go wrong with an all-girl crew fighting against a tyrant on the high seas. And Caledonia's crew has everything I want in a story like this: grit and heart and an amazing show of loyalty and sisterhood. I loved them all from the start, especially Caledonia, with the constant battle between strength, anger, and fear that drove her character. She was a powerful Captain but perfectly human. Add in her best friend and right hand, Pisces, and they make a perfect team and one of the best friendships I've read in a while. Parker's writing is as strong as her characters, bringing to life a dark, vicious world that nevertheless has a sense of hope to it. She strikes the perfect balance between fun, thrilling, and heartwrenching that kept me dying to read the next chapter (for the record, I stayed up half the night to finish reading this. That's one of the biggest praises I can give a book.)
I really want to find something to critique here, because I feel weird not acknowledging a book's flaws, but to be honest I can't find much. Even the romance kept itself to a wonderfully out-of-the-way subplot that still managed to help Caledonia grow without taking away from the inspiring ties of her crew like I was afraid it would. I've heard people complain that this book isn't more gay, and I'm all for a good gay ship (ha, ship, pirates), but considering I never heard any of the apparent rumors that it was full gayness I'm not disappointed. In fact, I'm itching to get my hands on the sequel.
Final score: 5 stars
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