Review: The Pirate of Fathoms Deep (Tales of the High Court #2) by Megan Derr

High Commander Lesto Arseni is the most feared man in the Harken Empire. None but the High King dares risk his wrath—and a pirate who once punched him in the middle of the imperial pavilion. A pirate who later snuck away with Lesto to an empty room, touched him in ways far more memorable. And then immediately bolted like a man who'd gotten what he wanted.

Shemal just wants to live a normal life, leave his pirating days behind him and prove that he's respectable now. The last thing he needs is the two idiots who show up wanting his help with the noble they've kidnapped—the very man Shemal had been hoping to prove himself to, the man he hasn't forgotten since Shemal punched him a year and a half ago.

High Commander Lesto Arseni is the second most powerful man in the empire, right after the king. The only person who’s ever defied him was a pirate who punched him in the middle of the court, and then later screwed him in a spare room, before disappearing. For over a year, that pirate has captivated Lesto. When an unfortunate turn of events lands him right at the pirate’s doorstep, Lesto knows he’s not going to let the man slip away from him so easily a second time.

Shemal gave of up pirating, and committed to living a regular law-abiding life. He gave up pirating because he was tired of living as an outlaw, but in the back of his mind he can’t help but wonder whether the High Commander would approve. After they’re thrown back together, Shemal has a chance to win Lesto. But their very different backgrounds, a political crisis, and jealous courtiers stand between their happiness.

When I read a fantasy book by Megan Derr, I know that I’m in for a captivating treat. ‘The Pirate of Fathoms Deep’ was no different. The author did an excellent job with the world-building, making it easy to imagine the different lands that Lesto and Shemal travel through, and the society they live in. I haven’t read the preceding book, but this book works perfectly fine as a standalone.

Lesto and Shemal’s relationship is totally insta-love. They spend a few minutes together to have a quickie, and then spend the following months pining for each other. When they’re reunited, not only do they want to have another go in the bedroom, but the two also can’t stop themselves from thinking about a future together.

Ordinarily, I’m not a fan of insta-love, unless the story revolves around mates or fated loves. But if an author can convince me that the two MCs truly belong together, I’m all on board with the quick jump to love. Shemal and Lesto clearly belong together, and their connection felt genuine, even if it was made in such a short span of time.

I enjoyed the dynamic between the two MCs. Lesto might be one of the most powerful men in the empire, but he likes to give up control and be taken care of behind closed doors. Shemal, though he doubts his place in Lesto’s grand life, realizes this early on and tries to be what Lesto needs.

The two MCs are opposites in many ways, and balance each other out. I liked seeing Lesto lighten up around Shemal. And I loved seeing Shemal slowly realize that he deserves Lesto and happiness, no matter their vastly different backgrounds.

The mystery plot was engaging, though more of a side-story. I liked the political intrigue, and how Shemal and Lesto centered in it. The dramatic conclusion was a bit predictable, though I still liked it.

If you’re looking for some fun and romantic fantasy MM with an entertaining mystery on the side, I’d recommend this book!

A copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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