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On These Black Sands


Must read 🏆

Swashbuckling high seas adventure blended with angsty pirate political drama and romance.

I waited until the last minute to read this book and I completely regret it! My grandmother passed away a month ago leaving me in a really bad headspace and I couldn’t bring myself to read. I finally forced myself to pick this book up and was blissfully swept away into a gorgeous world of piracy, enchanting sirens and deadly quests. I was immersed in the story and was quickly captivated by Captain Declan and Aoife. I was able to get lost in the story and it was a welcome escape from reality.

This book is well on the mature side of YA fantasy, slipping slightly into New Adult with a bit of gore but the romance stays mostly on the clean side. It’s pirates, so there is plenty of snark, a bit of colorful language and plenty of blood and action.

Aoife was a great MC and her pairing with Declan was brilliant. I do love a good “one bed” trope. Aoife is trying to pull herself together and make a new plan for her life after losing her birthright. She’s on the run and lands right in the path of Declan who has been tasked to find an enchanted dagger by his sister, Cait. She absolutely needs a book of her own. The quest for the dagger is fully of deadly action and intriguing mystery. Not to mention Cait plans to use the dagger to overthrow the very council of Pirate Lords that Declan sits on.

Declan is the perfect morally grey love interest for slightly awkward Aoife. Both make mistakes, have flaws and feel completely realistic and relatable. Their feelings for each other are perfectly paced, never feeling too drawn out or too rushed.

I loved the world building. There was plenty of politics, from the women run isle of Cregah to the Pirate Lords. There was plenty of family drama and a great friendship with First Mate Tommy, who also absolutely needs a book of his own as well.

This story was the perfect book at the right time and even though I love pirate stories I was pleasantly surprised with just how much I enjoyed it and it helped me escape my own emotions. The characters feel well rounded and fleshed out with plenty of growth. The writing is detailed and descriptive. The world feels wide and the seas deep. This book is one to savor every sentence of.

Reviewed by

Daniele's travels have taken her around the world and back again, but her favorite adventures will always be found between the covers of a good book. Daniele loves all things Outlander and Disney and can't grow a garden to save her life.


About the author

Vanessa loves a good cliffhanger, judges books by their covers, and wishes she could write faster. She lives in Wyoming with her pilot husband and four kids. When she's not writing you can find her sipping a gin & tonic, rewatching New Girl, running a small business, and wasting time on Instagram. view profile

Published on August 10, 2021

130000 words

Contains graphic explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Reviewed by