Image of swirling green, blue, and gold with a masted sailing ship. Text says "New York Times Bestselling Author of Neon Gods KATEE ROBERT Hunt on Dark Waters."

Hawt Pirates

HUNT ON DARK WATERS rating: 3 stars ⭐⭐⭐.

I love pirates, especially sexy ones. I’m not big on sex scenes. If a novel is well written, I am eager to get on with the plot and a blow-by-blow account (begging your pardon) in excruciating detail tends to make me skip ahead. In HUNT ON DARK WATERS (Berkeley/Penguin Random House, November 7, 2023), author Katee Robert does a nice job of creating interludes during which her main characters (and alternating first-person narrators), Evelyn the witch and Bowen the pirate, can get it on.

Thanks to Edelweiss Plus/Above the Treeline and Penguin Random House for sending this book to me for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

Technically, Bowen is not a pirate. He’s a telekinetic1The telekinesis comes in, er, quite handy in the bedroom. captain in the Cŵn Annwn, a magical navy named after hounds of the Wild Hunt in Welsh mythology. They hunt down monsters in Threshold, a place between worlds. They sail under the authority and direction of a mysterious and all-powerful Council.

Saucy witch Evelyn jumps through a portal from a paranormal version of our world into Threshold, trying to escape from her vampire ex-girlfriend whose heirloom jewels she has stolen (she is bi, and a practiced thief). Captain Bowen and the crew of the Crimson Hag pull Evelyn out of the water and give her a choice: join up or die. She joins up just to pacify them, but has suspicions about their mission and this unquestionable Council. Evelyn is also determined to get home but terrified that her vengeful ex will follow her into Threshold. She and Bowen disagree about everything, but enjoy an instant mutual attraction.

Ably plotted, mostly well written, with very engaging characters and set in a vivid fictional world. Recommended for light reading if you like hot sex in your fiction. I’m down for the next book in the Crimson Sails series.

Reading context:

Here are three fantasy novels featuring sexy pirates. I rated each of these four stars.

DARLING GIRL by Liz Michaelski (Dutton/Penguin Random House, May 3, 2022), a Peter Pan retelling in which Captain Hook is a (smoking hot) good guy.

THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEWOMEN WITCHES by India Holton (Berkeley/Penguin Random House, March 15, 2022), book two in the nutty Dangerous Damsels series, has a sexy pirate in the romantic couple named Alex O’Reilly.

My favorite fictional sexy pirates are Alucard Emery and Lila Bard, in the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab. A new novel in this same universe, THE FRAGILE THREADS OF POWER, first in the Threads of Power series, will be released by Tor/Macmillan on September 26, 2023. An excerpt from my May 3, 2023 review:

Seven book years and six actual years after the explosive events that concluded the Shades of Magic trilogy, V.E. Schwab takes readers back to that fascinating world. A new Antari and a new generation of magicians is learning to wield startling powers, but how will they use their magic, for good or ill?

Tes works in a repair shop in Red London. Her magic is similar to Captain Alucard Emery’s, but he can only see threads of magic. Tes can actually manipulate them, and that’s what makes her so good at repairing magical objects. It’s unclear whether she can heal people whose magic has gone awry. A box that can create doors between the three Londons is on the loose after being stolen, and there are those who will commit any crime to get their hands on it.

What I’m reading right now:

A HAUNTING ON THE HILL by Elizabeth Hand (Mulholland Books/Hachette, October 3, 2023).

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