Blackhearts – Review // A Good Origin Story, But Really Slow

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Book 1 in the Blackhearts duology
Genre: YA historical fiction, romance
Pages: 384
Format: hardcover
Source: library
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository


plot: 17/20
characters: 15/20
setting: 20/20
relationships: 17/20
twists: 15/20

I went into Blackhearts mostly blind, but with high hopes. All I knew was that it told how Blackbeard came to be. I did get that from the story, and it was good, though it was vastly different from what I expected.


While I was a bit disappointed by the lack of swashbuckling rogues* and pirate ships, I still found this to be a good story. It explored the life of an adventurous young man, Edward, as he tried to grapple for control of his future. His father wanted him to marry a girl with a title, no matter if he loved her or if he wanted to. Neither one was true. All Edward wanted was to sail the seas and escape from his life in England. I thought it was a nice little twist for the man’s life to be controlled by his parents, rather than the woman’s. 🙂

* No, of course I didn’t get that phrase from a thousand different storybooks. I totally came up with it on my own.

On that note, Anne’s position was also unusual. She was a biracial orphan girl in a prejudiced English society, and worked as a maid for Edward and his father. She stole from them periodically in hopes of gathering the funds to escape. However, things escalated when details from her past were revealed and ended up changing her life.

I haven’t read many villain origin stories, if any, so this was an interesting one to start with. I could totally understand Edward’s transition to Blackbeard after everything he experienced, especially in the end of the book.

Normally if I read historical fiction, my preferred time period is Victorian England. Or maybe it’s just all I’ve read, so it’s all I know. Probably a bit of both. This book took place nearly 160 years prior, in the late 17th century. It was interesting to read about the social hierarchy, sexism, and racism in that time. While I was aware that all three existed in that period and for years beyond it, it was intriguing to read about it from the perspective of a girl that experienced them all firsthand. 🙂


I liked Anne, but she seemed unrealistic to me. She was only a year older at sixteen, and yet she was really, really smart. I have no problem with intelligent leads, and I actually prefer them, but Anne seemed much wiser than she should’ve been. She also never made a mistake. Granted, stealing from her master wasn’t the best idea, but she always knew how to do it without getting caught. She also always seemed to know what was proper and what wasn’t. Maybe I’m just looking too deeply into it, but I don’t think that would actually happen. No matter what time period it is, what teenage girl (or human in general, really) never makes mistakes? *chin-stroking emoji*

I didn’t like Teach** nearly as much. He was arrogant, and while typically I do end up liking guys like that, there was one thing about him I couldn’t stand: his controlling nature. Frequently throughout the story he would tell Anne that she was his, or that she couldn’t do something, or that he knew she loved him. I know that women had little freedom in that period, so this is probably historically accurate, but it really bothered me nonetheless. He also tried to use his height and strength to intimidate her. 😐

** Teach is Edward’s nickname. I don’t get it, but that’s what he was referred to as for basically the entire story.

I think Anne and Teach had potential to be a cute couple, because their personalities clashed in a way that just made them fit. (If that makes sense) But Teach’s need for dominance kind of ruined it for me, so I don’t ship them. Honestly, I think Anne deserves someone better. They understand each other, yes, and neither of them want to follow society’s rules, but I can’t stand how controlling Teach was. >.<

I’ve said a couple of times that this was a good, interesting story, and I stand by that. However, it was really slow-paced, and the only things that surprised me happened when there were sixty pages or less left in the book. Everything before that was kind of repetitive, and I found myself turning pages quickly in hopes of something exciting happening. :/


I know I was critical of this book, but I did like it. Blackhearts was an intriguing origin story, just unrealistic and disappointing in a few aspects. And despite all of this, I still might pick up the sequel when it comes out. 🙂

I would recommend this to you if you enjoy origin stories and forbidden romances! 🙂

my rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR? If you have read it, what did you think? I’d love to know! Tell me in the comments! 🙂


I’m off to find something to eat and continue reading Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton. 😀 I hope you all have a fabulous day/night! ❤

Until next time…


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2 thoughts on “Blackhearts – Review // A Good Origin Story, But Really Slow

  1. I read this a while ago and I wasn’t a huge fan either. I wanted more…idk…pirates being badass. I don’t really remember too much about the character’s themselves, I just remember being disappointed by the plot itself. Although, I’ll probably read the sequel because I feel like that’s when actual badass pirates come in lol

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahah, I agree! I went in expecting pirates so I was a little disappointed. Then the story wasn’t that great either, so I totally get what you mean. I hope you enjoy the sequel! I don’t think I’ll read it. 😉❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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