Review: Prince & Pirate by Elliot Cooper

Prince Gavin is powerless to refuse when his father demands he secure an alliance with a distant kingdom. At first, he sees the journey as a chance to prove his worth and indulge in the grand adventures of his dreams. Yet nothing seems right about his father’s paranoid insistence he travel by merchant ship while disguised as a diplomat. Once out on the open sea, Gavin learns he’s been tricked into boarding an infamous pirate ship: the Ebon Drake.

Captain Marcas Drake is delighted to discover the courtier he’s kidnapped is really a prince. Acquiring such a hefty ransom will prove once and for all he’s a brilliant pirate in his own right, not riding the coattails of his father’s fame. And using his charms to seduce his prisoner makes for an entertaining pastime. But unfortunate events turn the Ebon Drake’s crew against their captain before the ransom can be carried out.

Marooned, Marcas and Gavin’s new equal footing turns the pirate’s sensual game into something else entirely. However, being stranded on a tiny island becomes the least of their worries when rescue arrives in the form of the bloodthirsty Crimson Queen, a pirate who’s been chasing Marcas for years. Working together to escape the queen is their only hope of freedom and a chance their growing love might outlast their misadventures.

This is going to be one of those reviews that make no sense. So be warned. I’m sure I’ll be going back and forth over what was good and what was average. The thing is, the good was very good, but there was a lot of average, so I found it hard to rate. Hence the middle of the road rating.

Okay, so story: Gavin is the Prince and only heir to a kingdom in a fantasy universe that is very similar to the 1600’s. His father is going senile and decides to send Gavin across the seas on a mission which will undoubtedly end in Gavin’s death. It doesn’t of course, but it does end in his capture by the notorious pirate, Captain Marcus Drake.

The best way to describe this book would be: Adventure! There are sea creatures, commandeering ships, kidnappings, marooning, pistols, swords and blood and of course escaping the clutches of psychopathic bad guys. It was just so much fun, and something was always happening. Marcus and Gavin escape from one misfortune to fall into another.

Marcus was also a real pirate, even though he describes himself as a terrible pirate… which I kind of have to agree with in the end. I don’t want some goody-two-shoes sailor, I want someone who kills and steals, which is want Marcus does. He’s nothing compared to Deckard’s Baltsaros so don’t expect that dark, but it's not fluffy and light.

So the romance is really what makes or breaks an adventure story for me. It's so easy for the adventure to overtake the romance and I think that did happen here, but it's not that simple. Marcus and Gavin had a really well written build up to their relationship, and it’s a constant presence in the story. They start off as enemies, turn to allies, then friends and then lovers. Each step of the way we are shown how their relationship progresses, not told, if that makes sense. However there was a weird development, when Marcus suddenly confesses his love… it came much sooner than I was expecting and it felt misplaced. The couple seemed like they were both in the stage of friendship and lust, when suddenly there was a forever kind of love mentioned. I liked how Gavin didn’t reciprocate it automatically, he was at the same stage as me it seems. This was good because the author did justify the suddenness of Marcus’s feelings. It just felt a little… rushed.

Also, here I go again on the sex rating, but there was only a blowy and then some frottage at 95%... boo! I really wanted more, especially because I could tell Gavin wanted more as well! Come on Marcus, just give it to him!!

Then there was the ending. It was most definitely an excellent HEA, I struggled to pick how it was going to end until it actually happened which was good. However, it was sudden and I wanted it to end on a more romantic note for Marcus and Gavin, not so much a political one.

Do I recommend this book? Yes, if you're ok with minimal sex and maximum adventure. The relationship between these men was certainly well done and unique, despite my little niggles here and there. It's an excellent voyage adventure.

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