Nick Andrews has grown up in poverty in a tiny village. All his life he’s been told that he’s useless. After getting one scolding too many he decides to go far away, off to sea. But his experience as a farmhand has done little to prepare him for the hardships of a sailor’s life.
When his ship is attacked by pirates, Nick’s life is miraculously spared by the notorious pirate captain, Christopher Hart—a man in charge of a crew feared for their brutality. Nick is forced to join the pirates, and he dreads finding out for what reason the captain has saved him.
But Hart is nothing like his reputation suggests, and Nick soon finds himself entangled in a relationship that could endanger both their lives. Unless Nick can help Hart on his quest to find a long lost treasure, their forbidden love may tear his new life apart.
Warning: This book ends with a cliffhanger, and it does not have a happy ending. The series as a whole will have a HEA ending.
Content note: This book contains dark themes and depictions of torture, murder, and rape.
**TCO Note: Reviewer received the ARC of Astray, and provided review, prior to the warning being added to the synopsis of a cliffhanger. No change has been made to her review.
I’m gonna spoil you right outta the gate a bit on this one. You’ll thank me. This is a cliffhanger book. I don’t mean simply book 1 of a series, or a semi-HEA but there’s still conflict that continues in the next book. I’m talking our heroes are separated, possibly forever, and the hero we do know the whereabouts of is kind of dazed and confused and offers us no comfort as to what he plans to do, what he’s thinking, how he feels.
Anyway, other than that. Well, I love pirate/treasure/adventure stories. The language and writing reminded me of Treasure Island in that it’s slow paced with many things happening that may or may not drive the story forward. The action is told to us sort of from a distance, where we see the things they do, and sometimes what they think, yet I don’t feel much connection to them. This isn’t necessarily a criticism. Like I said, I like adventure stories and that part worked for me, but then again, this is a romance. It’s a younger/older thing where the captain of the pirate ship is smitten with the green cabin boy he’s kidnapped from the ship he and his crew just plundered. The two soon become a pair and even enter into matelotage, a formalized union between two men where each becomes the other’s beneficiary should one of them die. I love that kind of detail. I was also not disappointed with the waterfall sex scene, something I come to expect — nay, demand — in my m/m pirate romances.
Anyway, unexpected full blown cliffhangers do give me angries, especially when Goodreads doesn’t even list a book 2 in the series future. I might have steered clear of this had I known, but honestly, it was an interesting look into pirating adventures and while I’m curious how it will be wrapped up (revenge! That I do love!) I won’t be crushed if it never happens.
2.5 pieces of eye candy, which reflects the unpleasant-surprise “ending.”