Book Review: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman (3/5)

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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.

In a single word, Blackhearts was melodramatic.

I had moderate hopes for this book. I love pirates, adventure involving pirates, and adventure-pirates involving romance. I expected piracy, high-seas adventure, pirate-jargon, and rum.

I got none of those.

Blackhearts is a ROMANCE It is not an adventure. It is not about pirates. It’s a cozy romance. It’s about Edward Teach and Anne Barrett going from haters to lovers. Now, I love a good enemies-to-lovers story. Ya’ll know I do. But I require something else within a book other than romance.

Blackhearts had some things going for it. I liked Anne. I liked Edward – in the beginning. They both feel trapped by their station in life and are desperate to get out. And then they fall in love and lose their attitude.

The entire plot revolves around Edward marrying another woman – gasp! – who has the personality and emotional depth of a teaspoon. There is so much whining about “I can’t be with you, because you are betrothed to another!” overly dramatic, gag-worthy nonsense.

And I felt like all the action happens off-page. I just feel so let down by this book.

It wasn’t a bad story, I mean, I finished it. I just expected more. And I really don’t like cozy romances.

And the writing. You know how when you’re looking into writing advice and everywhere you look it’s “show, don’t tell,” “show, don’t tell,” and “show, don’t tell?” Well, apparently Castroman never got that advice, because his book is 90% telling. Telling about feelings, events that happen off-page, and things that one character just happens to know that the other character is thinking.

This book felt so… lackluster. I lost interest about the 3/4 mark, and skimmed the rest. Did you know that there is an entire chapter devoted to Teach going to the city to pick out a ring for Anna? An entire chapter of nothing happening. This entire book reads like that – little things that are just there to take up word count that don’t actually provide anything toward character or plot – like who gets out of the carriage first.

So, overall, Blackhearts gets a 3 out of 5 from me. I expected more.

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