Cutlass (Cutlass Trilogy Book 1)

Young Adult

FANTASY:  Pirate Barren Reed is on a mission to take the life of the man responsible for killing his father…his own brother.  When he learns of his brother’s engagement party, the perfect plan emerges to draw him out. Kidnapping his brother’s fiancée is the ideal opportunity, until Barren meets her. Larkin Lee is more skillful and strong-minded than most men bargain for and is testing Barren’s patience to the utmost.  Add to that, the King tasks Barren with finding the mythological Bloodstone, a feat which would make the owner the most powerful, immortal being.  However, the task proves extremely dangerous when Barren and Larkin learn of the dark magic it possesses.  Pirates, elves, and dark magic collide in this fantasy tale of discovery and revenge.

“Cutlass” is a very unique Tolkenesque world-building tale that takes place around the 17th century. Author Ashley Nixon has an ease in writing style that teens will find appealing and enjoyable. Readers may think they understand the plot and that the tale is predictable, but will discover they need to complete the quest in order to relish the true objective of the story.  Light editing is needed, and there is some uncertainty in how Barren became a killer then abruptly changed to follow “the code” of pirates, but Disney enthusiasts will delight in this “Disney Blender.” Non-fantasy readers may be hampered with keeping up with the names of oceans, islands, and kingdoms, but nevertheless, will enjoy the overall arching outcome, while fantasy devotees will find it right up their alley.

Roberta Gordon