The Bright and Breaking Sea (Captain Kit Brightling #1) by Chloe Neill
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
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 am always on the hunt for a great sea-faring adventure and this one certainly hit the mark! It has great politics, magic that comes with a price, amazing high seas adventure, a slow burn haters to lovers romance… honestly, this was exactly what I wanted and more!
This is one of those books that gives you a heroine who is smart, capable and strong who just… makes sense. It is easy to make this type of character a stereotypical one-note ‘not like other girls’ but Kit feels like a character who is lived in. She has a history, she has a story, she has thoughts and opinions, and she is so real! Reading about her adventure in this book was an absolute treat. Chloe Niell did an amazing jobs bringing Kit Brightling to life.
In addition to the motley list of characters, Neill also gives us a wonderful introduction to the world of The Saxon Isles and the Gallic Coast. It is clear that there has been dark and difficult times in this world and many opinions of the characters have been shaped by past events in a way that felt informing but not at all info-dumpy. I love that there are obvious nods to real-world prejudices against women in power but ultimately finds respect.
The magic system is intriguing and there is so much potential with it. I’m glad that while many people have negative opinions about magic-use, it was all very natural in its use. I still feel like there is a lot to unpack with how this magic works and am certain it will come into play more as the series progresses. It isn’t often that I find a book that utilizes a magic system that comes with a price and I am interested to learn more about how/why Kit’s particular strand of magic works since she seems to be one of the few that it can truly take a toll on.
I would also be remiss if I did not mention Rian Grant in this as well. I absolutely loved his character as well as his growth. There is a lot simmering under the surface with him and being able to see how he handles being uprooted for the sake of saving his friend was a treat. Not to mention the banter between him and Kit was just… *chefs kiss*.
It has been almost 2 months since I read this (this is a very late review) but I already want to re-read it! Chloe Neill has a wonderful way of writing and describing sailing that keeps you interested and never really felt stagnant. It is not often that I find this kind of story and I wish book 2 was out already but alas it is not even announced yet! I have a feeling that this will quickly become a favourite series of mine.