Sea of Ruin
Why did I opt to read a pirate ménage à trois romance? I blame Alexis Hall. His review of Sea of Ruin, which may be found here, is so engagingly hilarious I had to check out the book for myself. That’s five hours of my life I’ll never get back. Sigh.
As a rule, I am all for the suspension of disbelief in art. I don’t need to actually believe in time travel to enjoy Outlander. Our imaginations allow us to explore the unknown and the unlikely and that’s a damn good thing.
That said, a book set in the early 1700s in which a smoking hot 21 year old tiny blonde who spends inordinate amounts of time having kinky sex in various cabins on the high seas is the most successful pirate captain floating about the New World turned out to be too much for me. Throw in a gag inducing amount of rape, torture, and extremely florid writing and you have a god awful novel. Which, inexplicably, is a best seller. As my mom says, there’s no accounting for taste.
Amazon summarizes this far fetched plot thusly:
Bennett Sharp is on the run.
Wanted for piracy, she fears neither God nor death nor man.
Except Priest Farrell.
The unfaithful, stormy-eyed libertine hunts her with terrifying possessiveness. Nothing will stop him from coming for her. Not his unforgivable betrayal. Not when she’s captured by the ice-cold pirate hunter, Lord Ashley Cutler.
She must escape Ashley’s prison and Priest’s deceit. But can she walk away from their twisted desires?
Two gorgeous captains stand on opposite sides of the law. When they collide in a battle to protect her, the lines blur between enemies and lovers.
Passion heats, secrets unravel, and hearts entangle until they break.
I’m betting you can guess how the three collide. Thankfully, one of our three exceptionally good-looking leads–and the one who has the largest dick to ever cross the Atlantic–is never without lube. (I’m curious as to what that substance actually was. Carrageenan? Clove oil? Sadly, this is never specified. But I digress.)
When we meet Bennett, she is on the run from her husband, the sexiest man in Christendom, the inaptly named Priest. Bennett and Priest are estranged because a year into their we-have-sex-all-the-time-even-though-we-are-the-leaders-of–a-large-ship-with-guns marriage, Bennett found a breakup letter to Priest from a mysterious lover and this made her feel very very bad. Priest refused to tell her who penned said missive for reasons (whomever do you think it could be?!?!?) and so she left him.
Priest, of course, finds her. The two board Bennett’s ship, Jade, where Bennett promptly imprisons him in her bilge. The two have endless lust filled chats while Bennett tortures him with orange juice (he’s allergic), but before they can begin again boning, Bennett’s ship is overtaken by a British Navy warship.
To save her crew, Bennett surrenders to said warship’s captain, one Ashley Cutler, the second sexiest man sailing the Americas. He, after hanging her over the side of his ship for a day or two, installs her in his cabin and the two… chat. At first. Ashley, of course, must decide what matters to him more. Bennett or his career? Masturbation or anal sex? And, of course, Priest is hot on their beautifully shaped tails. Oh the suspense. #not
Over the book’s too many pages, though Bennett does have a great deal of inventive consensual sex, she is also repeatedly violently sexually violated, horrifically tortured, and routinely unable to wash her heavy, golden, waist length tresses. (They are mentioned repeatedly.) Others too are horribly maimed, brutalized, and murdered. If you’ve ever longed for a book that offers almost unreadable nihilistic brutality punctuated by gleefully inane, physically unlikely sex scenes, Sea of Ruin is for you!*
The book does offer a heartwarming HEA. Bennett, Priest, and Ashley get both an HEA and the joy of torturing–for months!–one of their many enemies. I mean, what is true love without inventive maiming? And, of course, an endless supply of lube.
(The violence in this book is so upsetting that, when I was describing it to my husband, a physician, he asked me to stop. Unless you are able to handle grotesque gore, do not read this book.)
Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day.
|Review Date:||March 19, 2023|
|Book Type:||Historical Romance|
|Review Tags:||Ménage | Pirate romance|
Alexis Hall’s reviews are always worth a read, and usually better than the book being reviewed. Even when it is a positive review of a good book. But especially when the book is awful.
Not planning on reading (thanks for taking one for the team, Dabney) but like the cover design.
Out of curiosity, I read the start of this, but the heroine is the usual feisty upper-class girl who wants to wear trousers instead of dresses and prefers “sword-fighting over sewing”. Because women can only do one or the other. *rolls eyes*
According to Goodreads, this is just the first in a series. Can the sequels get any better?
I’m not sure it’s a series. I think there’s just a prequel. But who knows. And, no!
This’d be great minus the rape factor. Good lord, can we not just have hot, consensual D/s? The rapey pirate fantasy aspect is very old skool, isn’t it?
The rape is the least of it. It’s the torture I could barely stomach.
The torture sounds as bad, yep!
Yeah, this one didn’t call to me at all. That being said, Godwin wrote one of my all-time favorite reads: the Tangled Lies trilogy (ONE IS A PROMISE, TWO IS A LIE, THREE IS A WAR). I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s about how grief changes us (the heroine is a widow), and how impossible it is—no matter how much we wish we could—to go back to who we were before loss changed us. I also liked Godwin’s “hot priest” romance, LESSONS IN SIN (you know I’m a sucker for a good priest romance), but many of her other books have been waaay too dark for me (the Deliver Us series, the Trails of Sin series), and, after a book or two, I had no interest in continuing the series in question.
TL;DR: Godwin is a wildly inconsistent writer who can sometimes hit your sweet spot and other times miss it by a mile.
It’s interesting to hear she has other better books. This was genuinely the most appalling book I’ve read in some time.
I read Alexis Hall’s review of this book too, but decided that it definitely wasn’t for me!
One of the leads in a book I read last week had a (frequently mentioned) massive dick also, which unfortunately matched his personality……………….