Review: Cutlass by Ashley Nixon

cutla2ssNotorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy’s fiancé seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.

PUBLISHER: StarSeed Press

PAGES: 439


I first heard of this book from YA Reads Book Tours when I signed up for the book blitz for this book. I don’t sign up for book blitzes unless I’d totally buy the book for myself. After discovering that the book was only $2.99 on Amazon for Kindle, I may or may not have given into my more impulsive book-buying side. Meaning: I spent that $2.99 before you could say the title of this book. Cutlass follows the young pirate Barren Reed. Ever since his brother, William, murdered his father, Barren has been on a quest of revenge against his brother. He’s tried luring his brother out to fight with him using various threats to no avail! Then, he thinks he stumbles upon the perfect plan to lure his brother out of hiding: kidnap William’s fiance, Larkin Lee, and use her as ransom. Everything does not go according to plan, however, as Barren finds himself in even deeper in trouble than he was before.


PG/PG-13: Some cussing, kissing, and leering pirates (the usual)


It’s been awhile since I’ve read a good pirate book. Seriously. When I first read the premise of this book, I knew that I’d love it. First of all, I really grew to love the characters. The character arcs of Larkin Lee and Barren Reed (Barren especially) were spectacular and came full-circle! The reader is introduced to a revenge-obsessed, immature eighteen-year-old who is full of bitterness and hatred against his brother. Larkin challenges him, pushes him to be a better man, and makes him ask questions that he’s never asked himself before. Speaking of Larkin, she’s exactly what I like to read in a female heroine. Her sass and spunk made her so much fun to read! Not to mention, she’s portrayed as Barren’s equal. Never does Barren speak down to her or treat her as if she’s his inferior. I mean, how could he when she’s nearly as good as him with a sword? I’m not a huge feminist, but I can definitely root for a strong, well-written female protagonist.

The story had me flipping the pages and wondering what was going to happen next. There were a couple of plot twists; I didn’t see them coming!


Some reviewers have complained that it was hard for them to believe that an eighteen-year-old pirate could have other older pirates quaking in their boots like Barren Reed did. It’s fantasy–you have to embrace it all the way or not at all! Also, there were elves in this story. That surprised me a bit, but I got used to it!

There was a lot of world-building details in this first installment. Sometimes there were way too many details for me to swallow and I got a bit confused. There were a lot of names and places to remember, but I think that Nixon was only setting up everything for her next two novels. She had a lot to incorporate into this novel!


When the daylight bends, I’ll follow you wherever you go.

Wherever you go.

Ron Pope is perfection. Larkin and Barren complement each other so well.


I’d give this one 4.5/5 hearts! I loved the adventure and the romance of this one! I’ll definitely be reading the next two books of this trilogy. I’d encourage anyone that loves books about pirates, adventure, and romance to read Cutlass!


6 thoughts on “Review: Cutlass by Ashley Nixon

  1. Oh my goodness, Erin. I LOVE Ron Pope! He’s on my Nacaoma Knight soundtrack (another series I’m working on). This song is so perfect for Barren and Larkin!

    Thank you so much for your WONDERFUL review! I’m totally printing it and putting it on my wall of reviews. ❤


    1. YAY! I’m so glad you agree with my soundtrack choice. You can’t go wrong with Ron Pope!
      Aw ❤ Thank you so much. And thank YOU for writing it. Truly one of the YA best books I've read so far in 2014.

      I'll make sure to keep on the lookout for your Nacaoma Knight series, too 🙂


      1. 🙂 You’re so sweet! Someday I hope to write a book and get it published. Reading a good book always helps gives me inspiration to keep writing and hopefully one day get to that stage of my writing career… so right back atcha! 🙂


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