The Pirate of Fathoms Deep
I’m not ashamed to admit I squealed a little bit when I saw this book coming out soon. I have been waiting for this book since I finished the first in the series, The High King’s Golden Tongue. I loved the world that Megan Derr created for this series, The Tales of the High Court, and was incredibly excited about getting more. Originally, she had only planned on the one book – I am so glad that she was convinced to continue! Sadly, this installment seems much shorter than the previous one, and while I loved that we just jumped straight into the action, it lacked the development of the first book.
Lesto Aresni, High Commander of the Harken Empire, feared by all but the High King and a single pirate, is in trouble. More specifically, he’s just awoken after being kidnapped under a mistaken identity. After escaping, he stumbles across none other than the pirate who punched him in the face when confronted about his piracy and then fucked him silly, high-tailing it shortly thereafter. Lesto had offered him a place at Fathoms Deep to work off his criminal sentence, but the pirate turned him down and basically disappeared.
While Lesto has been looking for the pirate (while being second-in-command of the Empire), Shemal has just wanted to live a normal life, to be respectable. In the middle of nowhere, far away from the call of the sea, he’s been eking out a living. He wants absolutely nothing to do with Lesto or the drama that’s definitely to follow. But he agrees to help Lesto get back to the Empire, if nothing else than to stay on his good side. But Lesto’s original kidnappers are still after him, especially after his escape, and they aren’t out of the woods yet. And even when they are out of the woods, Shemal has a lot of adjusting to do – he may still have feelings for Lesto, but he has no idea how to operate in the other man’s world.
The kidnapping plotline was really interesting, coupled with a small case of mistaken identity, and stumbling across Shemal the way he did was like fate. Lesto is more upset than angry about Shemal’s original disapearance, while Shemal seems to think Lesto is about to pull guards out of his backside and set them on the newly reformed pirate.
I love the fantasy aspects without the magic – it creates a rich fantasy world but by keeping things simple. You don’t need to learn a whole new magic system, or different magical creatures, to understand literally everything in this world. I would definitely recommend reading The High King’s Golden Tongue first, since it sets up the world in a more complete way than its sequel, but then again, I can’t recommend that book enough these days. The Pirate of Fathoms Deep would definitely work as a stand-alone if you can’t take starting another series right now, though you would definitely miss out on some of the character development for Lesto. It’s been long enough since I read High King that I got a bit lost on occasion.
We come in mid-story, which keeps the action exciting, but I feel like both the relationship and the political issues were rushed as a result. It felt more like a novella, clocking in right around 200 pages. I was really hoping for something a bit more full-length. Plus, there were a few things that didn’t quite make sense to me. First, we have the kidnapping, followed by a daring escape. Then they take a break for some steamy sex action, and then it’s on to political intrigue. Something about the timeline just didn’t quite work for me. I was also confused about how male pregnancy (mpreg) was possible in the first book, but in this one, Shemal basically states straight out that he can’t give Lesto children. Is there something else biologically going on here? Something the reader doesn’t know? While I’m not the biggest fan of mpreg, I still want to know the biology of it all. I’m curious!
The book was surprisingly steamy – the first book in the series was about developing a relationship, while this one was a lot more of an already existing one. Shemal and Lesto already know each other, have already had sex, and Lesto is (surprisingly) invested in their relationship from the beginning. He had apparently spent time and money looking for Shemal, planning on offering him a place in his home of Fathoms Deep, which Shemal took as a more…sexual offer than planned. With the way they kept going at it like bunnies, however, I’m not particularly surprised.
Even with how much I adored the first book, and absolutely love the world the author has created, this one was a bit of a let-down. There will be another book in the series, which I’m still pretty excited about. But although Lesto and Shemal’s story didn’t quite work for me the way I hoped, I still enjoyed it, and basically read whatever this author produces at this point.