by Chloe Neill
Series: Captain Kit Brightling #1
Publication Date: November 19, 2020
Chloe Neill brings her trademark wit and wild sense of adventure to a stunning seafaring fantasy starring a dauntless heroine in a world of magic and treachery.
Kit Brightling, rescued as a foundling and raised in a home for talented girls, has worked hard to rise through the ranks of the Isles’ Crown Command and become one of the few female captains in Queen Charlotte's fleet. Her ship is small, but she's fast—in part because of Kit’s magical affinity to the sea. But the waters become perilous when the queen sends Kit on a special mission with a partner she never asked for.
Rian Grant, Viscount Queenscliffe, may be a veteran of the Continental war, but Kit doesn’t know him or his motives—and she’s dealt with one too many members of the Beau Monde. But Kit has her orders, and the queen has commanded they journey to a dangerous pirate quay and rescue a spy who's been gathering intelligence on the exiled emperor of Gallia.
Kit can lead her ship and clever crew on her own, but with the fate of queen and country at stake, Kit and Rian must learn to trust each other, or else the Isles will fall....
I’m wavering between 3.5 and 4 stars. This first in a new series reads like it could almost be a middle grade story, except for one romantic scene which I know my niece, at least, would wrinkle her nose at. It’s still a great story, just rather more bright and optimistic than is usually offered to us jaded adults. It also lacks the snark Neill is generally known for, but then again, her Devil’s Isle series wasn’t snarky either.
Chloe Neill walks a fine line between imagining a world where women are common in historically male roles, and acknowledging the gender bias that exists in this one. I’m not convinced she pulled it off; I’d have rather she stick to one truth or the other, but it wasn’t problematic and didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book.
Mostly, it’s a new concept, and a new series, so I’d imagine there some growing pains and adjustments ahead, but it was a nice escape and I’m interested in seeing where future books take me and the characters.