Books · Reviews

Blacksouls – Book Review (Spoiler-Free)

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Hey guys, happy Thursday! πŸ™‚

So I finally finished Blacksouls! Yay! It took me exactly one month to finish it… So not so yay. But anyway, let’s see if it was worth it, shall we?

*** If you’d like to read my review of Blackhearts, the first book in the trilogy, click here.


This review is completely spoiler-free.

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  • Title: Blacksouls (Blackhearts #2)
  • Author: Nicole Castroman
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication Date: April 11th, 2017
  • Page Count: 400

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synopsis

This one obviously takes up where the first book left off, but because this is a spoiler-free review, I won’t explain what happened exactly. Just know Teach and Anne’s adventures continue, this time with a much larger cast, great world-building and many plot twists.

firstimpressions

After realizing Blackhearts, the origin story, had no actual pirates to speak of (but a lot of romance to keep me entertained) I was very excited to see what the sequel had in store for me.

thesweet2

Pirates! There were pirates in this! Not enough, granted, but I think it was a gradual transition and it made sense for it to be like that.

I enjoyed the steady pace and how it slowly shaped Teach into what he will later become. There were some very clever jabs at his ego, his confidence and his heart, that will most definitely make for a very interesting story later on. I’m excited about it!

From the start, it was easy to tell this one was going to be a lot more plot-driven than Blackhearts. It was a lot more complex, didn’t focus on romance as much (and when I say “not much”, I mean “almost not at all”) and had a lot more stuff going on. There were so many characters with arcs of their own taking place, it was hard to keep up – but in a good way!

The plot twists. THE PLOT TWISTS. They came one after the other, but in a cohesive way. One could easily follow the story, understand how it was progressing, what had served as a catalyst for what, and be thoroughly engaged. A lot of bad things happened in this novel and I felt it in my heart for each and every one of the characters involved.

In the author’s notes, Castroman explained how much she wanted her work to be historically accurate, which brought her to write about slavery and other difficult themes of the late 17th century. She certainly does not sugarcoat these and it made for a very gut-wrenching read at times, but one I certainly welcomed because it made the novel all the more real and fleshed out.

Also, I really loved the bonds both Anne and Teach created along the way, to the point of calling some characters family. It was great to see them having relationships outside of each other.

thebitter1

Blacksouls read a lot slower. I mean, it took me three days to finish Blackhearts. It took me one month to finish this one. I’m not sure if this was me or the book, but I’m betting on the book because I was super pumped from the previous installment and my enthusiasm just kind of died somewhere in the middle. Thankfully, it picked up again halfway through.

You might remember the romance was my favorite part of Blackhearts (and thankfully so, because it was all there was to the prequel anyway) so it might confuse you when I say I didn’t like the romance at all in this one. Teach, in particular, acts like either a jealous idiot or a lovesick puppy during most of his interactions with Anne, and it bored me to death. It felt too forced, ridiculous and unecessary. He was supposed to have grown up from his spoiled self, not reverted to a Neanderthal state.

Which was a shame because, as a character, he was awesome. He was brave, persevering, a caring friend, sensible, clever and a born leader. It was only where Anne was concerned that he seemed to change completely and become this idiotic alpha male I had no patience for. He literally saw red and stopped thinking like a rational human being. Which made me wonder if this relationship was really something that should continue or something that was too unhealthy to bring around any happiness to those involved.

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I am conflicted with this one.

I could tell the author’s writing and plotting greatly matured. Yet for a great part of the novel, I was not as engaged as I’d hoped. Which made me a bit sad, because this one was clearly better than the previous one in so many ways, especially when it came to structure.

Plot and character-wise, Blacksouls definitely stood out and made for a much more complex and interesting story than its prequel. It was just very well-constructed, no question about it. Whereas Blackhearts focused on Teach and Anne’s relationship, this one focused on their development as characters and telling a real story. One that was insanely interesting to read once it picked up pace.

The romance was mostly non-existent. Though, in my opinion, it was more of a eye-rolling element than anything else and could have definitely taken a different direction.

Halfway through, there are pirates. But this is still not a full-blown pirate book yet. This is the transition between the origin story and the real tale of how Blackbeard came to be. If that’s not an issue for you, and you like YA, and you are curious to find how this story ends, then I would recommend reading Blacksouls. If not, then maybe this trilogy isn’t for you.

Story & Plot:Β 4choco

Writing & Style:Β 4choco

Characters:Β 4choco

Pacing:Β 3halfchoco-

Enjoyment:Β 3halfchoco-

Final Rating:

4choco

Check my review of Blackhearts here.

Thank you so much for reading and until next time!

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What did you think of this review? Have you read Blacksouls? οΌˆβ‹†οΌΎοΌοΌΎβ‹†οΌ‰

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30 thoughts on “Blacksouls – Book Review (Spoiler-Free)

  1. SOPHIE. I AM SO GLAD THAT THE PIRATES FINALLY ARRIVED. I KEPT THINKING, WILL THEY EVER APPEAR FOR HER? XD

    But I’m glad they finally showed up. I tried to skim it a bit since I haven’t read the first one. But you definitely made me excited for the story. Glad it was overall enjoyable although sorry for the bad romance and slowness. 😦 Wonderful review!!

    Like

    1. YES!! I WAS REALLY GETTING DESPERATE HERE! XD
      I think you can safely read the review without getting spoiled. I didn’t mention anything specific at all πŸ™‚
      This one had the exact opposite issues of the other one ahahaha For instance, it was much better plot-wise, but worse at romance; better at world-building, but worse at pace… So yeah, the same rating but for opposite reasons LOL
      Thank you so much, Mandy! ❀ Means a lot that you're following my pirate/non-pirate journey πŸ˜›

      Like

  2. There is always something interesting in pirates. This book really sounds like a great read 😊 If you like Pirates I highly recommend watching the tv series Black Sails. It is truly amazing. The first season is a bit slow, but after that the series really picks up speed and is an awesome watch 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maaaan, I still remember how pumped you were for the sequel (and anything pirate-related). Crazy how this sequel didn’t manage to maintain that excitement! At least there was a bit more pirates in this one. And man.. that romance sounds really disappointing. I do hope the next book will be.. a lot better. Fantastic review, as always, Sophie!! πŸ˜€

    Like

    1. I knoooww!! I was so disappointed T_T I mean, the story is heaps better, but I just couldn’t get into it as much as I was into the first one? Again, maybe it’s not the book’s fault but that’s how I felt.
      I’m really hoping the last instalment redeems the whole series because it’s been a very bittersweet ride for me hahaha We’ll see!
      Thank you so so much, Lashaan! You rock, dude 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting reveiw, Sophie. I think that good “romance” is very difficult to write. It needs just the right amount of teasing and heat while maintaining consistency in the characters’ core personality. It can slip so easily into boring cliches and stereotypes or pop the reader out with credibility issues and out-of-character behavior. The best “romantic” books I’ve read are those where the romance nibbles at the edges of a great plot. The romantic payoff is a delectable tease that I wait for. Sorry for the tangent. This is just what your review made me think of. πŸ™‚

    Like

    1. Thank you! Oh definitely, I very much agree.
      Slow burning romances are the best romances, because not only do they make tons of room for plot to develop and shine through, but they also develop the relationship itself, making it into something solid and enjoyable. Something unexpected and that we look forward to.
      Sometimes authors just take too much time focusing on romance and everything else is simply forgotten. The reader gets so bored because there are no expectations anymore. Everything is handled on a silver plater, with no build up.
      So yes, it’s quite hard to write romance well but once you do, it’s so worth it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE FOR THE PIRATES ALREADY???? Haha I’m exaggerating my exasperation… kind of?? πŸ˜› I think I’m still going to pick this up but aghhh conflictions! Oh my gosh the romance now has me worried?? I loved the romance in the first book (all there was to it, really like you said) but ughhhh alpha males are kind of the worst and so the (nonexistent) romance you speak of in this book is so sadddd. So sorry to hear it disappoints! Hopefully the third book will be better?? *prays* Lovely review!

    Like

    1. MY FEELINGS EXACTLY!!! UGH.
      Oh don’t worry, I totally feel your frustration XD I was viciously shaking my e-reader and going like “COME ON, MAN, COME ON!!”
      And, finally, a glimmer of hope surfaced. Sigh. I need the last book.
      You might enjoy the romance still. It didn’t appeal to me that much because it felt like Teach had regressed to how he’d acted towards Anne right at the beginning of the first book. I thought he’d grown up a little since then, so it was disappointing to see he hadn’t.
      But I still like them together! I hope their relationship becomes a bit more mature, though.
      Thank you so much, Analee! ❀ And yeah, let's pray it is!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. UGH. Haha and it’s another yearrrr for the last book! Does this end with a cliffhanger though?
        Oh haha I hope I do! But if that’s true, well, I didn’t very like Teach’s attitude at the start so the regression is disappointing to say the least for sure!
        I hope so too!!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Well this trilogy is certainly not as piratey as one would assume. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s YA or because of its structure (it starts as an origin story and develops from there) but probably both.
      As for whether it is believable or not, it’s hard to say. I think if one is looking for a true Blackbeard retelling, they should look elsewhere (at least, for now). This doesn’t depict Blackbeard’s adventures yet. It mostly focuses on romance (first book) and the transition towards piracy (second book). I’m not sure what the third instalment will bring but I’m hoping it finally gets somewhere.
      As the pirate content is pretty minimal, and there is a lot of historical elements based on true events, I’d say the book was able to sound pretty accurate without being crude.
      This does have some adult themes and it doesn’t shy away from them too much. There is never explicit sexual content, but there is a lot of violence, etc.
      I’m not sure if this answers your question but please let me know if you’d like to know anything else. I hope you enjoy it if you decide to give this a go 😊
      Thank you so much for stopping by!

      Like

  6. Thanks to your review, I am learning of a new trilogy to add to my TBR πŸ™‚ Somehow I missed this title, specifically the first book. I’m glad you got some pirates where the other book lacked πŸ™‚ It’s book 2 and the romance is almost non-existent? Thanks for mentioning that.. Excellent review Sophie!

    Like

  7. Cross my previous comment out about not knowing book 1 haha.. I just clicked on your link for book 1 and the picture reminds me. Both books are 4 stars for you huh? Would you re-read?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha I thought it was weird that you didn’t know about it ^^
      Book two focuses a lot more on the story rather than the romance, yes. Book one is super heavy on romance and doesn’t really have much of a plot going on.
      So, in the end, I feel they’re pretty much opposites of each other.
      In the end, I gave both four stars. I liked different things about them. I might have enjoyed the first book a bit more but thought book two was much better written and planned out.
      I don’t think I would re-read them. They’re fine but not spectacular or anything. I would probably give the first book a lower rating if not for the enjoyment factor (maybe a 3 or 3.5) because it wasn’t super complex or challenging. And I would give book two a lower rating too (3 or 3.5) if not for the world building and plot, because it took me way longer to finish and I wasn’t as into it as book one.
      I hope that makes sense!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s great to know! So many books to read, your reviews and comments helps me a lot to weave out which book to wait and which to read first 😊 Thanks for the honest review Sophie!

        Liked by 1 person

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