One of the most talked about books for Oftomes the thought of pirates cursed never to be able to say the words “I love you” intrigued me.
We meet Lennie on board of the cursed ship the Wilted Rose as they pick up the latest descendent from the original cursed crew, Nathaniel. Raised by an uncle of hirer standing it takes Nathaniel time to find his place on the ship whilst Lennie watches from a distance. As they search for the final two descendants to approach the sorceress for a cure to the curse they are hunted by another witch who wishes to end the life of the Wilted Rose and the crew on board. As the crew fight off foes both human and supernatural we learn about the pasts of Lennie, Nathaniel and the rest of the crew as information about their parents and the curse is woven throughout.
I loved the depth that Matthews has put into each character and how they all each bring something to working on board the Wilted Rose. The banter between them flows and is written really well. It is easy to believe that they are all friends despite being brought together through a curse. Ned provides the fatherly advice and wisdom that would be lacking without an adult figure which is needed.
While I loved the dynamic between the characters the novel confused me and I don’t know whether it was just my interpretation of it but, the rift between Hadnaloy, the sorceress and Rosa I really didn’t understand. The writing of it seemed a jumbled to me and didn’t quite make sense until the conclusion. It seemed like a subplot which really didn’t need to be there unless Matthews was doing so to pave the way for a second novel; which it looks like it was for and that’s fine but, because of this rift it dragged the novel out longer than I felt it needed to be.
And then there was the insta-love. As I’m currently reading a lot of YA novels another insta-love really annoyed me. As a seasoned pirate it seemed very unrealistic that Lennie would fall in love instantly or have such a great attraction and affection to Nathaniel as soon as they met. I would have enjoyed this aspect of the novel more if they both gradually began to like/love one another.
All in all, the novel reminded me of Pirates of the Caribbean in more than one way. A cursed ship, a cursed crew, a sorceress and a love destined for darkness; sound familiar? The novel held so much promise for me but, I wanted a swashbuckling adventure on the high seas and I just didn’t get that. I have the prequel to the novel Into the Forest and I hope this may influence my decision for this novel; failing that, I hope the next one delivers on a darker, pirate adventure.