Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman // Where’s the pirate badassery?!

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman // Where’s the pirate badassery?!Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Published by Simon Pulse on February 9th 2016
Genres: Fantasy (YA), Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
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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.
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.

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This book wasn’t exactly what I expected. I thought this was going to be a sort of Blackbeard origin story, but it’s more of a romance. The plot is not very gripping and, at times, can be extremely predictable. Most if it is focused on Anne’s servitude to the Drummond family and Teach’s obsession with Anne. So, whether this book is entertaining or not really depends on what you are looking for. If you want a bad-ass pirate story (like I was expecting), this isn’t for you, but if you want a decent forbidden-love romance, you’ll enjoy it.

To touch more on my thoughts, though, I found this to be one of the most predictable stories I’ve read (until the end, that kind of surprised me). However, I saw most of what were supposed to be “curveballs” coming well before they happened. Also, one of the biggest secrets Anne kept from the Drummond family felt a little out-of-place, too convenient and View Spoiler »

bookrev

Anne is a frustrating character. She believes she’s better than everyone, even if she never directly says that, it’s the feeling I got. She purposely says things about other maids knowing it can result in punishment and thinks she can get away with any bad thing she does (ex. stealing and contaminating guest’s food). Then, she gets exactly what she wants even though she’s kind of a crappy person. Very frustrating.

Then there’s Teach, who you’d think would be a badass pirate, but is instead a “romantic hero” that incessantly bothers Anne until she finally gives in. Honestly, I felt the only reason he was interested in Anne was because she was “forbidden” and he was unhappy with the lack of control he had over his own life.

However, they both strive for independence – to break free from their constraints – and that’s what makes their relationship make sense.

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The story is told through alternating chapters from Teach and Anne’s POV. It was interesting to see both sides of the story and it helped progress the story. If it had been told from only Anne’s POV, it most likely would have been a slow read. I definitely preferred Teach’s chapters, though, since most of Anne’s were filled with descriptions of maid duties.

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I really had a love-hate relationship with this book. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, so that affected how I viewed the rest of the book, but it also wasn’t horrible. While Anne isn’t one of my favorite characters and Teach can be a tad creepy at times, their love story was interesting and made sense. The story was predictable, yet intriguing enough to continue on. I don’t know if this is part of a series, but the ending definitely leaves a fantastic opportunity to finally include more pirate badassery!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Representation
Overall: 3.5 / 5

  • Greg Hill

    As someone who’s been watching Black Sails recently, I’m on about pirates at the moment LOL and so when I saw this I thought ooh good timing- a Blackbeard story. So yeah I was thinking badass pirate story too. 🙂 Too bad it’s kinda predictable. And I’m surprised Anne isn’t more likable- that seems like an interesting direction t go with her character but I guess she would be resentful if she grew up privileged. Anyway nice review- glad I read it so I know it’s not a pirate story per se. 🙂

    • It was really disappointing! I’m reading Unhooked now, which is a Peter Pan story, and I want to read Never Never, another Peter Pan story, but I’m hoping they’re more “pirate-y”. Also, Anne was just annoying. You can be privileged and still be a decent person. I just didn’t find her to be one at all.

  • I keep hearing from people that this book is way different from expectations, so I’m not sure if I should even read it… On the one hand, I’m totally cool with a romance novel. On the other hand, I was hoping this would be a super awesome pirate book! I’m honestly not sure how I’d feel about Teach… I’m glad you enjoyed this one even if you didn’t love it! Great review!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    • Gah, I wanted it to be a pirate story so bad! I haven’t read one yet! If you want a pirate story, this definitely isn’t it. If there is a sequel, THAT one would probably be more pirate-y, but I don’t know. Do you have any recommendations for a great pirate story?

      • I think I might have to wait and see if there’s a sequel before picking this one up then… Pirate stories though… I think my only real recommendation would be Never Never, which is part pirate story because Captain Hook!

        • I kept forgetting about Never Never! I remembered another pan sort of story, but could not remember the title for the life of me! haha so thank you 🙂 I’ll be picking that one up soon!

        • Just an update: It’s been confirmed that there will be a sequel 🙂

  • jitty

    I actually bought this book and returned it the next day after I read a review by a friend. It was not at all what I though it would be and I just couldn’t encourage myself to read. I knew a lot about Blackbeard as it was so I was expecting an awesome pirate story of swashbuckling cremates, pirate ships, swords and the like. What I was not expecting was any sort of romance because lets face it…Blackbeard had 14 wives. So clearly this was not going to end HEA in any sense and thus lost its appeal…oh well! Some people enjoyed it, but I do not think this is a book for me.

    Great review though! I love how you separate your review into different categories!

    • Right?! I really wanted a good pirate story. Even if it had a little love story, I would have been fine with it, but it was ALL romance. And not even really that great of a romance! Anne was obnoxious (to me).

      Also, thank you! I like to break it down both for myself and so people can skim if they want to. 🙂

  • It really does sound like quite the frustrating book! So, would you say it’s more of a romance than pirate adventure story? 🙂

    • Definitely more of a romance. There isn’t really any pirate-ness in it. It is supposed to be an origin story, so I get that, but it was just meh.

  • Alisha

    I’ve been in such a pirate mood lately it’s unreal, and I’m glad I read your review! Otherwise I would have read this and been majorly disappointed. The summary is a little misleading. However, I think I’ll still pick it up in hopes that they continue the series and we DO get some pirate badassery.

    • Right?! I thought this was going to be at least on a ship or something! But it’s not. There is no pirate anything! It was disappointing because I’m in the mood for a pirate story. Do you know any good ones out there that I could read? Also, I have no idea if there will be a sequel, but I really hope so because I think it will be more pirate-y! And they left it open for one 🙂

      • Alisha

        You should watch Black Sails 🙂 I think you’ll like it. And as for pirate books, the only ones I’ve really heard of that I’ve been meaning to read is The Assassin’s Curse and The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke. I don’t know if there will be more in the series but from what I gather, there’s pirates and assassin’s and adventures. Again, I haven’t read it, but it might be worth picking up! Or at least looking into.

        • I want to! I’ve been dying to watch that show! They have the full seasons on demand so I may just start it once I catch up with my other shows 🙂 I’ll have to look into those books because I’m really wanting more pirates. Especially now that I read Unhooked. It teased me and now I want more!

          • Alisha

            Yeah! Just binge watch it 🙂 I feel like there’s very limited pirate stories out there! And we definitely need more. Pirates are making a comeback 😛

          • I will eventually! Maybe once my other shows end (PLL, Shadowhunters) because it looks super good!

      • Alisha

        You should watch Black Sails 🙂 I think you’ll like it. And as for pirate books, the only ones I’ve really heard of that I’ve been meaning to read is The Assassin’s Curse and The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke. I don’t know if there will be more in the series but from what I gather, there’s pirates and assassin’s and adventures. Again, I haven’t read it, but it might be worth picking up! Or at least looking into.