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Captain Harriet “Harry” Roberts and the daring crew of The Sappho are not for the faint of heart. A ship of strays unlike any other, they’re not afraid to face whatever the world throws at them—be it mermaids, kidnappings, sirens, plague, clashes with their mortal enemy Captain Wrath Drew of The Charon, a handsome merman, or good old-fashioned love.
Rating: 4 Stars
I went into this story with only the description to guide me. I liked it because how often have I read a book with a female pirate, much less one that is the captain of her own ship? What I found was so much more than one strong female lead in the form of Captain Harriet “Harry” Roberts. I found an entire family, brought together by chance or by choice, that embraced who they were better than any fictional representation I’ve seen thus far.
At first I thought this was a novel, so I was a bit surprised when, after the first “chapter”, it turned out that The Search for Aveline was actually a collection of interconnected stories about the characters about the Sappho. They are not told in a strictly linear fashion, but I did not find this to be a problem as the authors wrote in such a way that it was obvious quickly whom the current story was about and when in the grand scope of things it was taking place.
Each story had a purpose. It gave us backstory or motive for everyone we met, from Harry’s relationship with the titular Aveline, to the voiceless siren Echo/Silence, and the other members of the crew.
There’s also an interesting incorporation of mermaids and sirens that I’ve yet to read about elsewhere. These are not the sea dwelling creatures you’ve seen in Disney films, which I loved. They can be kindly, sure, but they can also commit terrible deeds and meddle in the affairs of others.
My favorite and most relatable story was that of Junia and Landon. Junia, from what I could tell, is a character on the asexual spectrum who was cast out of her home when her fiance could not handle her coming out to him. His reaction, to tell everyone that she preferred the company of women, led to her being ostracized. Over time she came to meet Landon, a man whom she came to trust and to love, who understood her and never pressured her for something she couldn’t give.
*End Spoiler Alert*
Beyond Junia’s representation, there was great rep for many other relationships along all ranges of the sexuality spectrum, as well as diversity in ethnicity as well. This was a pleasant surprise, as most pirate stories I’ve heard before have strictly white European crews which seems kind of odd?
Since this is volume one in the Sink or Swim series, I am eagerly anticipating more books about the crew of the Sappho. There might even be two more books if we’re really lucky, according to Stephanie Rabig via Twitter!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.