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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Book Review: The Bright and Breaking Sea (Captain Kit Brightling #1) by Chloe Neill

The Bright and Breaking Sea (Captain Kit Brightling #1)
by Chloe Neill
November 17, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
377 pages
Genre: historical fantasy, Greek & Roman myths
Chloe Neill brings her trademark wit and wild sense of adventure to a stunning seafaring fantasy starring a dauntless heroine in a world of magic and treachery.

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....

Listen to Chloe read chapter 1: LINK

Captain Kit Brightling has been forging a promising career as a member of the Isles’ Crown Command. Her supernatural command of the sea, combined with undaunting determination, has made her a rising young star in the field. She’s young, energetic, and determined to prove her worth in the male-dominated sphere. Nothing has come easily to Kit, raised as an orphan by her adventurous benefactor Hetta and Kit’s resentment of the “Beau Monde”, the realm’s privileged class is clear: “its members born into extraordinary wealth and primarily concerned, at least in Kit’s experience, with their own comfort and ease.” When Queen Charlotte commands Kit to team with Colonel Rian Grant, Viscount Queenscliffe, a member of the Beau Monde, resentment simmers.

The Bright and Breaking Sea is a wholly entertaining fantasy adventure, marking the start of a very special series. Kit and Rian make a remarkable team evolving from frosty colleagues to reluctant partners, to something more. Neill builds a rich fantasy realm while commenting on contemporary concerns such as gender and class equality. Her characters are rich and varied. The action, adventure, and slow-burn romance are set against building political tension sure to propel the action of this series for installments to come.

Kit is a fresh, forthright female main determined to maintain her independence: “I’ve a negative view of the requirements that women play at being helpless to attract a wealthy man, and exchange meaningful activity to become accessories, like a soft ug or charming vase once married.” She is eventually forced to confront her own judgements against Grant and his birthright when he proves to be as focussed and determined as she.

I had a legitimate book hangover after concluding The Bright and Breaking Sea. I anxiously anticipate future installments. Fans of fantasy adventure will appreciate this thoughtful, entertaining read. I look forward to the unfolding of political espionage of the Isles and beyond. I am hopeful the other girls of Brightling house, as well as their intriguing sponsor Hetta, will feature in coming installments.

Five Sheep

Bianca Greenwood

Photo by Dana Damewood.
About the Author:
Chloe Neill is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Captain Kit Brightling, Heirs of Chicagoland, Chicagoland Vampires, Devil’s Isle, and Dark Elite novels. She was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest, where she lives with her gamer husband and their bosses/dogs, Baxter and Scout.  Chloe is a voracious reader and obsessive Maker of Things; the crafting rotation currently involves baking and quilting. She believes she is exceedingly witty; her husband has been known to disagree.  

Chloe is represented by Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency and is a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

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