On These Black Sands (Aisling Sea, #1) by Vanessa Rasanen – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Crab Apple Books

Publication Date: August 10, 2021

Genre: NA Fantasy

Adventure Rating: 5 Stars

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop | Crab Apple


In one month, Aoife Cascade will turn twenty and take her seat on the Council of Cregah, an honor she’s been preparing for her whole life. But when she lets a secret slip to her mother with devastating consequences, all her plans for the future crumble. Believing her people to be better off without her, she flees Cregah, stowing away aboard a pirate ship bound for dangerous waters.


Captain Declan McCallagh is young compared to the pirate lords, but after twelve years on the grueling sea, he has earned a well-respected ship and the attention of the lords, who’d like nothing better than to see his ruin. All he wants is to leave the Aisling Sea—and his past—behind him. But when his sister demands he find the enchanted dagger her rebel faction needs to overthrow the ruling Council, he’ll have to decide whether to cast off all family ties or take the perilous voyage to waters guarded by sirens, only passable with the help of the last remaining fae, currently imprisoned by the Council.

With murder and betrayal at every turn, can Aoife and Declan learn to rely on one another? Or will the secrets they carry destroy their people—and each other?

Before We Begin…

I LOVED this world. Let me give you a little taste before we travel there! Pirates, shared bed trope, dancing, rescues, secret societies, fae, magic, sirens, and more secrets. Intrigued? I know you are.


When I first arrived on the Aisling Sea, I was taken to the Siren’s Song. Captain McCallagh’s ship. It was somewhat smaller than other pirate ships but the Captain keeps a tight, disciplined ship. Neat and tidy. We sailed to Cregah, to the port of Morshan. Cregah is run by the three ladies of the Council. Women rule here and they allow the men to do what the women need. It is a beautiful place with black sands, hidden coves, but painful secrets. There is one good place however, and that is McCallagh’s Pirate Pub. Run by the Captain’s sister, Cait, it has delicious food, great service, and RUM! We only stayed a couple short days until we had to run to Foxhaven. Foxhaven is a typical pirate hub (like Tortuga in our world). You can be free here but that freedom comes with a cost. Pirates are really the ones who run free here and you don’t want to tangle with them.


*By WitchlingsArt Photo is mine (cropped), art is not*

My guides through this world were (from left to right) Cait, Tommy, Declan, Aoife.

While I didn’t have any insight into Tommy’s thoughts and feelings, he was a major part of my adventure. I am probably team Tommy. Swoon! His loyalty, his playfulness, his skill with a sword! Love him. He is loyal to Declan, his Captain. Ah, Declan, our troubled, dark past, ruthless, pirate captain. He just wants to be free from the rules of the pirates. Free to sail where he wishes. Free to maybe wish for something more. Enter Aoife. The runaway Heir. She is extremely naive but slowly learns about the world around her and about herself. She is looking for answers. Answers about her life. Answers about the world. And she thinks Declan is the best place to find them. She might have bitten off more than she can chew, but then again maybe Declan did too.

Cait. We don’t see a lot of her. She is pulling strings behind the scenes. She is a true hero, trying to make the world, or at least Cregah, a better place. She has many secrets of her own. Not even her brother, Declan, knows.

Smells, Fashion, Food

No matter where you go you can almost always smell the brine of the sea, whether you are eating the pirate gruel of porridge, eating a Lucy’s in Foxhaven, or drinking rum. Make sure to mark which color sashes are from which pirate ship. You don’t want to run into the truly bad pirates. You might get stabbed or something.

Published by Storied Adventures

I have loved reading ever since I can remember. As a child, I often heard the words, "Please put down your book for one second!" That still hasn't changed as an adult! I am always reading at least two books and I will always have one on me!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: