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BLACKSOULS by Nicole Castroman begins right where we left off in BLACKHEARTS. Anne is sailing to a ruthless island in the Caribbean, with Teach close behind her, intent on reaching her before anything dire happens. When they arrive, however, Teach is charged with mutiny and the only way out is to make a deal with the governor. He must track down a notorious pirate and return him to the island. But all is not what it seems. BLACKSOULS continues Blackbeard’s origin story in this wild, action-packed adventure.

It’s so good to return to the characters I adored in the first book. Anne, brave and wise, has just as much sass as the previous novel, if not more. Her character will make you laugh out loud at some of her thoughtless outbursts and unbelievable antics. However, whereas Anne seemed to run the show in BLACKHEARTS, Teach's story seems to develop much further in this one. After all, the Blackhearts series is a retelling of Blackbeard's origins. Teach has always been a favorite of mine; he has a heart of gold and the obstacles he had to overcome pushed him to his limits. It was interesting to see what direction he chose.

"Nicole Castroman is a great storyteller and definitely raised the bar with this sequel. BLACKSOULS is sure to keep you on your toes with nonstop action and fantastic characters."

BLACKSOULS is a superb sequel. With a new setting and some new characters, it adds something fresh to the mix, as if starting the story again. Readers get a look at Nassau, the home of Anne's mother, and from the stories told in the previous book, you will be surprised to find --- instead of beauty and community --- there’s ruthlessness and piracy.

That’s right, there's pirates! I adore any book with pirates, though I was a bit disappointed to find that BLACKHEARTS didn't offer many pirates for a book promising just those types of scoundrels. To make up for it, Castroman definitely delivers in BLACKSOULS. We not only get awesome pirates but battles on the open seas and ruthless characters! BLACKSOULS has the perfect ingredients for a book to enjoy during the warmer months; it is a summer blockbuster, action-packed with gorgeous imagery that will make you turn the pages even faster.

The new cast of characters is incredibly diverse and, as the story progresses, we get to know almost each and every one of their stories.  My new favorite pair had to be the sibling duo, Coyle and Cara. Their easy banter back and forth paired with their outgoing personalities made them so easy to love.

It was interesting how quick Anne made the parallels between her parents and Beth and Alistair, as I didn't really see their relationship for what it was until a little later in the book. That said, it irked me when Anne mentioned things I didn't notice until much later, and Teach started noticing things that were not initially explained. These claims lacked introduction. How does he know more about this than I do, when I have been with Anne the whole time, and he only just showed up? It seemed that Castroman wanted her characters to be at a certain point without fully leading up to --- or developing --- such things.

I couldn't help but draw parallels between this ending and BLACKHEARTS' ending. Both made me want to continue reading the story. BLACKSOULS doesn’t necessarily end with a cliffhanger, but Castroman leaves you with a lead-in that makes you want to have the next book in your hands as soon as possible.

Nicole Castroman is a great storyteller and definitely raised the bar with this sequel. BLACKSOULS is sure to keep you on your toes with nonstop action and fantastic characters.

Reviewed by Jeanna Michel on June 29, 2017

(Blackhearts #2)
by Nicole Castroman