Cutlass by Ashley Nixon

January 30, 2015 Reviews 8 ★★★★

Shotgun Review

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cutlass by Ashley NixonCutlass by Ashley Nixon
Series: Cutlass #1
Published by StarSeed Press on April 23, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 439
Format: eBook
Source: Author
Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy's fiancé seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.
For the second time in our friendship, Michelle practically held me at shotgun insisting I read a book. This time, though, she even connected me with the author so I’d have a review copy. How do you say no to that? Well, I didn’t say no, but I did stall. I don’t know why exactly, but all of a sudden it was December and I hadn’t read it yet. So I made a promise to Michelle that I would read Cutlass in 2014, even if I was up all night December 30th reading it. And I kept that promise for the most part (I finished the last little bit in 2015) and thank goodness, because once again Michelle was right. Cutlass was fantastic. I’m going to let her interject periodically in my review, seeing as she’s the one who got me to read Cutlass.

MichelleMichelle Says:
Always trust my instinct :) but I was a bit nervous also because I hate disappointment. BTW I actually liked the cover, I do like the new one a lot better but I did like the old one also.

So Michelle started talking to me about this book BEFORE she read it. She was enamored by it so much that she reached out to Ashley Nixon and told her she’d requested to be on the tour. And boy do I remember her excitement when she found out she’d be on it. I was nervous for her, because with that kind of excitement I was worried the book couldn’t live up. And I’ll admit, I was being a total cover snob at the time. I HATED the cover (which has since been re-done to this one, THANK GOD)! It really turned me off on the book. So, like a good friend, I was excited FOR Michelle, but not really WITH her.

Then she read it and holy crap she loved it. I was happy for her and asked her to describe it to me. Could I get over the cover? From what she told me, it sounded kinda like a UF, though she told me it was more high fantasy. I was interested now, but pirates? Cool, but not necessarily my thing. Not NOT my thing, but they didn’t pull to me.

MichelleMichelle Says:
Seriously WHO doesn’t love Pirates?!?! That was what drew me in from the beginning.

Which is pretty funny because one of the things I loved most about Cutlass was the pirate way of life. The way the pirates feel about the freedom life on the water gives them and the relationship they have with the sea is beautifully written and really connected me to them. I’ve always felt most at home ON the water. I completely understood the connection the pirates felt. And these pirates live by a very honorable code, which made their life against kings so acceptable for me. Easy “bad guys” to root for.

When I say Cutlass was kinda like a UF, I’m wrong though. The main reason I see any connection is that the main female character, Larkin, is kick-ass. She came out of left field for me, because I was expecting a historical Lady – this feels like a historical, with events unfolding in the Mediterranean in lots of ways – and when we meet her she is prim and proper. But she does not need a man to rescue her! Woot! She’s bold, says things she shouldn’t, and in general made me love her.

MichelleMichelle Says:
Loved Larkin and I loved how it wasn’t a full love story right in your face like she was a stand alone and not Barren’s love interest. She was able to hold her own and really made me love her characters.

So, besides Lady Larkin and the fantasy element, Cutlass has nothing in common with a UF. It’s high fantasy, without being so high that it loses you in prophecy and song. High Fantasy with training wheels, maybe? I think high fantasy is typically overwhelming in a way Cutlass wasn’t. It did have a section, about 75% in that dragged and that was all about the elves and dreams and visions – less of the nail biting action and intrigue that carried the rest of the story forward. But even that was interesting, just much slower.

MichelleMichelle Says:
I will agree with it being a little slow or wordy at one point but it didn’t really bother me that much like you I found the story interesting. I agree with this being not a full High Fantasy but something different like a cross between High Fantasy and Fantasy.

There’s surprisingly little magic, considering that you’ve got elves and half elves running around and that was disappointing for me, but I enjoyed the sword fighting that replaced it. Cutlass kinda defies an exact classification and its definitely a case where you’ll be sorry if you judge the book by it’s cover. It was a thrilling ride with great characters and I’m only sorry it took me so long and so much pushing to read!

MichelleMichelle Says:
See I told you so ;)

4 stars Pretty Great

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About Ashley Nixon

Ashley Nixon

Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren’t used as much as she’d like. When she’s not writing, she’s hard at work on her Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Technology, working out, or pretending she’s Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she’s loved everything Fantasy–resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the ‘geek’ tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go.


Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

8 Responses to “Cutlass by Ashley Nixon”

  1. Bookworm Brandee

    You gotta love it when a friend can say “I told you so” and you don’t want to throttle them. :) I have to admit to being afraid of this book because of the high fantasy label. But I think I could probably connect with the pirates…and definitely Larkin. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Berls, and not just because you had a gun to your head! ;)
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…#COYER Review ~ A Gentleman’s Promise ~ Tamara GillMy Profile

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