Sunday, February 7, 2016

Book Review: Blackhearts (ARC)

Blackhearts
by Nicole Castroman
Expected publication: February 9th 2016
Published by: Simon Pulse
Pre-order: Amazon


Synopsis:
Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

Review

Blackhearts is a reimagination of Edward Teach, more popularly known as Blackbeard’s, life pre-piracy. He was one if not the most infamous pirate, and I daresay one of the most interesting ones, to have ever existed. The real Blackbeard’s origin and life prior to piracy are still unknown so here in Blackhearts, Nicole Castroman makes use of that unknown part of Teach’s life to imagine the factors that led Edward Teach to become the infamous pirate Blackbeard.

I originally added Blackhearts to my TBR because PIRATES! Pirates have had my interest since grade school days. Also because I don’t see any Pirate YA novels around that actually has real pirate personas as characters. Upon learning that this will be about his pre-piracy life though, my level of excitement still didn’t falter because like I said, I find Blackbeard to be one of the most interesting pirates along with Edward Low, Anne Bonny, and Mary Read. What I didn’t expect however, is for this book to be almost completely about romance between Teach and Anne.

Edward “Teach” Drummond is a son of a wealthy merchant who has a penchant for sailing the seas. He has just gotten back after years in the sea. Anne however, is an illegitimate daughter of another merchant who became a maid in the Drummond household. Their first meeting didn’t go well. It was hate at first sight. I found this quite amusing actually and I thought that it was the start of a really good read but my amusement stopped there.

Others may call Anne headstrong but to me she’s an arrogant girl who doesn’t know her place. She’s a maid but the way she talks to Teach, her young master, is full of pride and defiance. I’d have lauded her for it had Teach been a spoiled rich kid but he’s not. Everything she hated about Teach was only because of a misunderstanding but she wouldn’t hear of his explanations so she just assumed the worst in him.

Teach also is a difficult character. I have a love and hate relationship with him though. On one hand, he’s not the spoiled rich kid who uses his wealth to take advantage of those inferior to him like what Anne makes him out to be. But on the other, I just don’t like him around Anne. He is obsessed with her and acts as if he knows everything that’s best for Anne. He also has a temper and a tendency for violence but he never used it to harm Anne.

Their relationship wasn’t a spectacular one either, at least in the beginning. Teach was the first one to crack but all I felt was pity towards him because while Anne obviously feels something for him as well, she is a practical girl who has a goal and is set on seeing it come to life. It actually broke my heart a little when it was only Teach who was fighting for her while Anne was all about planning her escape. It was in these parts that I started feeling for the book again and the first time for me to feel sympathy for the characters. Of course Anne eventually opened herself up to Teach and boy did I love her then.

This last quarter of the book is where everything rearranged itself to fall into their rightful places and I found myself flipping the pages faster and faster until there was no more page to turn to. I thought there was no more hope for these characters, but I was wrong because their development is astounding. I can honestly say that this redeemed the whole book for me and I’m just glad that I stuck to it until the end. It’s still not a happy ending though and I’m really hoping for a sequel which is also a reimagination of Blackbeard’s life during piracy because we all know what became of the real Blackbeard and I’ll be damned if another sad ending befall these two.

A copy was received from publisher via Edelweiss for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

2 comments:

  1. Hmm, I don't think this book is for me if it's got such a high focus on romance. I guess I'll be taking it off my wishlist. Thanks for the review, Chel!

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  2. Chel! When did you return to blogging?! I've missed you, it's been too long.

    I haven't heard of this book before but I do love reading about pirates. Too bad it's more focused on the romance, I was hoping it'd be all about the swashbuckling :P Glad to hear that it picked up again at the end!

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