This was the final full book in the series, but I didn’t want it to be! I came to love these characters so much over the course of this series. I started thinking they were terrible but interesting and ended wanting to give them all hugs and not even caring about the terrible things they’d done in the past. They grew and changed over the story, not drastically, and in some cases maybe not for the better, but in some ways it was definitely for the better, and all of it was believable and realistic. I also really felt for Tom and Baltsaros as I got to know them better and understand their trauma and why they were the way they were. Not that that excuses something like cold-blooded murder, but, you know, it’s fiction. Jon is the one who maybe didn’t grow in all ways for the better, but he hardened some, as he had to if he was going to make it on a pirate crew, and he found some buried strength and surety in himself, I think.
Then there was their relationship. The further I got into this series, the more I could see just how much these three men fit together, how right they were for each other. No, I still can’t sit here and say their relationship was always perfect and healthy, but neither Baltsaros nor Tom would’ve had a healthy relationship with anyone. It took all three of them being together for them to find themselves and heal their own emotional wounds and bridge the emotional gaps between each other and for things to finally be right. And their relationship did get a lot healthier by the end. Still very BDSM, but in a non-abusive way that they were all extremely happy with, including openness and tenderness and trust rather than the jealousy and pain they started with. And I could feel more and more just how much they all cared for each other and needed each other. Seriously, these three started out with one of the most unhealthy relationships I’ve ever read about and ended with one of the most adorable. Also, in the first book, I couldn’t even keep a straight face and thought it was so weird every time Tom called Baltsaros “da,” but I squealed in cuteness and thought it was the sweetest term of endearment ever when he used it in the final scene of this book.
There was also more pirating as the series went on! This one even had a sea battle with cannons.
I will say though that the story seemed a bit darker and less happy in this one. Baltsaros’s mental struggles. Jon and Tom being separated from Baltsaros for a little while. Some relationship issues. And then the ending wasn’t an unhappy one, but it could’ve been happier, although I can appreciate the author giving things the weight they deserved instead of brushing them off. (Fortunately, the short story Careened that takes place after this book fixes the unhappiness that was still lingering.)
And of course I have to yet again mention the AMAZING narration by Michael Ferraiuolo. Listen, I almost never recommend specifically the audiobook, but I’m telling you, this narrator is incredible and brings this story to life with emotion and voices and accents and a performance in a way that even my imagination could not.
Overall, I loved this series, I loved these terrible/lovable pirates, I loved their angsty relationship, and I’m so glad I decided to give it a try!
Fans of Books 1 and 2 in Bey Deckard's Baal's Heart series. Anyone who likes pirates, complicated polyamorous relationships, BDSM, and characters who are terrible but complex and interesting and who you can't help but love as the series goes on.