Cover Steel Tide: Two girls stand back-to-back on a rock in the ocean, one with a spear and one looking through a spyglass

About the Book

Title: Steel Tide (Seafire #2)
Published: 2019

Cover Story: A Slight Downgrade
BFF Charm: Yay
Talky Talk: Not A Bridge Book
Bonus Factors: Friendship, Peeling Back The Layers
Anti-Bonus Factor: Character Deaths
Relationship Status: LYLAS

Careful, Sweetie: spoilers! This is the second book in the Seafire series, so if you haven’t read the previous one, you should probably hop back in the TARDIS and go curl up in the library by the pool with the first book before continuing. 

Cover Story: A Slight Downgrade

The quality of the drawing is nice, but comparing it to the pretty artwork on the first book, I’m finding it lacking. I didn’t need to see the faces of Caledonia and Pieces; I’d rather picture them myself. Give me a pretty scene of a boat on the water any day. 

The Deal:

Caledonia chose revenge over her crew, and it’s almost killed her. At the end of Seafire, we were unsure of her fate after a bloody confrontation with Lir (the Fiveson who stabbed her when her family was murdered). But as Cal is our main character, never fear! She was rescued from certain drowning by the Blades, a group of ex-Bullets who defected from Aric’s army. As part of the strides she made in becoming less prejudiced over the course of the last book, Caledonia is open to learning more about the Blades and what they stand for. She’s also extremely worried about her crew on the Mors Navis now that she’s somewhat regretting leaving them to fend for themselves after her failed revenge plot. 

When she learns that her friends have been captured and hauled off to the most secure Bullet prison this side of the high seas, it’s going to take all her wits to pull off the perfect jailbreak and not end up dead.

BFF Charm: Yay 

Yay BFF Charm

Times of strife and your teenage years are all about learning who you are, baby. In Seafire, Caledonia began to let go of some of the things that were weighing her down, but by the end it was kind of two steps forward, one step back. Now it’s a bit “too little, too late” when she learns her crew has been captured, and she feels extremely guilty that she wasn’t there to help. But part of what I like about Caledonia is that she’s a woman of action, and nothing will get in her way when she sets her mind to a task.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Caledonia shared a reluctant connection—and steamy kiss!—with Oran, the Bullet who has been sailing with her crew since he escaped and saved Pisces. As he’s still with the rest of the crew on the Mors Navis, at first it seems that there’s not much chance for them to see where this relationship could lead. And when Caledonia learns something about Oran that changed the way everyone looked at him, she has to decide if he’s really who she believes him to be. Romantic relationships weren’t the biggest focus here, but I didn’t mind what we got.

Talky Talk: Not A Bridge Book

The dreaded “middle” book always seems to be where the author feels the need to break what they made. You brought characters together and then you tear them apart for dramatic purposes. I get it, but I don’t always like it. Thankfully, Parker didn’t torment me for too long, and she managed to pair Caledonia up with the ex-Bullet band of warriors in a way that made me interested in their stories and inclined to welcome them into the fold. The book was full of rollicking adventures tempered with serious issues, and while it didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, it kept my attention and excitement the entire time.

Bonus Factor: Friendship 

Characters from Baby-Sitters' Club show sitting on a bed talking and laughing.

Caledonia abandoned her friends, and none of them take that betrayal lightly even if they can understand her reasons. I appreciated that there wasn’t a quick solution for the fractures within Cal’s friendships that she created and now had to patch up.

Bonus Factor: Peeling Back The Layers

Shrek holding an onion out to Donkey

I like when characters from previous books pop up and we learn more of their backstories that changes the way we viewed them before. It enriches the world and reminds us that everyone has hidden layers (like onions!).

Anti-Bonus Factor: Character Deaths 

Meme Boromir from Lord of the Rings saying "one does not simply get over a fictional character's death"

It’s sad to see characters you’ve started to like meet an untimely demise, but I guess I appreciate the realism it brings to the story. It makes the stakes higher for Caledonia and we as the readers. Just…please don’t kill my favorites?

Relationship Status: LYLAS

Sisters fight and make up all the time, but the bonds between them run deep. Our blood may not be the same, but I’m here to see it through to the bitter(sweet, but hopefully happy?) end right by your side, Book.

Literary Matchmaking

The Valiant (The Valiant #1)

For another take on women kicking butt in a traditionally male-dominated field—gladiating—read Lesley Livingston’s The Valiant.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant (Delilah Dirk #1)

In the mood for a more traditionally swashbuckling pirate-chick protagonist? The graphic novel Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant could be right up your alley.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings #2)

There may not be much plot in common between this book and The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, but there are strong women and boats, so I think it counts.

FTC Full Disclosure: I purchased my own copy of this book. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. Steel Tide is available now.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.